US-based Jonah Bokaer and Scotland-based Robbie Synge create an exchange with few words and much movement; including chopping wood, a video on video and holding a cat. The interaction shows the two artists exposing their home contexts to each other, opening a video window into their worlds at a time when live video between the USA and UK felt very new, privileging showing over telling, or conversing with bodies.
This conversation was produced as part of What Now 2013, in partnership with Siobhan Davies Studios and Artsadmin, supported by Arts Council England. The festival was curated by Frank Bock with assistant curator Luke Pell, with the intention to ‘draw attention to how bodies already exist in collective relationships…there is critical agency in the way that we direct ‘togetherness’ in the current time.’
Jonah Bokaer is the author of 32 choreographies, ten videos, three motion capture works, three interactive installations, two mobile applications, and one film. His work been produced internationally. Often created in museum spaces, Bokaer’s dances have been performed at The New Museum; MoMA PS1; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; The Asia Society Houston; the Museum of Arts and Design; MUDAM Luxembourg; Le Carré d’Art de Nîmes; and IVAM Valencia, among others. In 2008-2009 Bokaer became the first dance artist to be appointed a Young Leader of the French American Foundation, in acknowledgment of his efforts to develop Chez Bushwick, and CPR – Center for Performance Research, two independent arts centers which nurture young artists in New York City.
Robbie Synge’s interest in movement practices started in his early teenage years in the UK mainland’s most northernmost town, Thurso, where he trained to second degree black belt in the Korean martial art of Kuk Sool Won. While studying for a BSc Physiology at Edinburgh University, Robbie became increasingly involved in hip-hop culture and dance and has practised breakin’ consistently since.
Having originally worked in the science and education sectors in the UK and abroad, re-evaluation and chance led to the one-year programme at Laban in 2007/8. From London, Robbie toured and performed nationally with a number of choreographers including Rosemary Lee and Jean Abreu. Robbie’s teaching practice has taken him into diverse community settings with companies like Dance United and Candoco.
In London, Robbie made a number of small-scale choreographies with trained and untrained performers. Robbie has co-devised and delivered a number of large-scale community-based performances and film projects involving remote school groups, migrants, marginalized young people and many other groups.
The return to Scotland has reinforced a strong interest in the body’s relationship with the built and natural environment and has led to a number of performance and film investigations. In 2012 Robbie was commissioned to make Settlement for The Place Prize.
Robbie is currently engaged in co-devising a National Theatre Scotland/The Arches co-production The Riot of Spring with writer Rob Drummond and composer Peter Nicholson.
Adapted from bios published in 2013.