Swarm Sculptures is a durational movement installation created by Lucy Suggate, who is a dance artist based in the UK and a DMU graduate. Since 2006 she has produced a selection of work from installations to solos which she performs around Europe.
I was given the chance to get involved with this project at university with a number of other dance and performing arts students. We were split into two teams and after the initial rehearsal we alternated performances throughout the week. Swarm Sculptures is based around the idea of swarm intelligence and how that can be used as a choreographic process.
The basic idea is that we move around the space, and one person will stop and assume a position. Upon noticing this, the rest of the group ‘swarm’ around the position and attach themselves on, building a human sculpture. The rules are that you can only attach cheek to cheek, and you must fit together like Lego, drape over each other like fabric. As a group you decide how long to sustain the sculpture and then begin to move, subtly, as one body before disintegrating and again moving around the space. Within this there are slight variations in the score which form the structure of the piece which lasts around two hours.
Audience members are encouraged to walk around the space and get as close to the sculptures as they wish, however it is also down to the performers to decide when to take the sculptures to the audience.
I found when we were rehearsing and even in the performance where certain sections were in effect being improvised, it was really interesting to discover the possibilities and scope of the score that seemed relatively simple. We created some really fascinating shapes from very simple starting positions.
Personally, although the movement was not strenuous or physically exhausting, I found the performances quite intense due to the amount of time we had to sustain the performance state and be so close to people I’d only just met and the pressure of working together as one unit to make it look as effective as possible. It was especially challenging when at times we didn’t have any audience as people were able to come and go as they pleased, yet we had to keep the same performance energy going as though there were hundreds of people watching.
The first performance I was in was live-streamed on the university Facebook page which you can view here:
More information about the work can be found on Dance4’s website here.
Much Love x