Human Orchestration, an explosion of nudity and sound

Dear Blog, this event has moved me; or rather it has been a culmination of a series of drives to ascend ourselves. We have created a new standard, a higher level of our art as models with a way to give voice to our internal thoughts and feelings, in the same time that we pose, collectively as a group. We communicate as one, individually audible, and collectively uplifted, empowered to speak back, feedback in real time, more than just a look or building up a feeling inside. This is a way to channel ourselves further into the art through the people drawing us.

I speak as if I posed, but really I was an orchestrator, conducting from the side. I was not even naked, but in my skin coloured body suit which is like being naked but with less definition, and room for a muffin top which otherwise doesn’t exist, squeezed up from tight leggings. I helped to deliver instructions, and as well I was a negotiator. London Drawing had their idea of what would happen, and sometimes the models had theirs. The balance was fine, and beautiful too. Spontaneity necessary, the models’ prerogative more than an important gesture, and truly the soul of Spirited Bodies. We are not just mannekins to be ordered by artists! We are creators too, and well we understand our craft, and what it might be to step outside of a comfort zone and the value therein.

With Ursula atop a pyramid of models, who were as Matt put it, “semi-autonomous noise generators”. Not entirely autonomous as they had to adhere to a few cues from myself as well as work as a group, listening to each other, and letting the sound come naturally from within them, or about their body, whether a note, a hum, a tap or a click. And Ursula led; although notes were preferred by London Drawing, she had a feeling to sing snippets of words too. I did not want to block this idea – nor could I – which was very creative and powerful. Ursula is a pun-meister and creates new arrangements of popular songs to suit the moment, in this case the present time of being drawn by artists. ‘Big Spender’ began, “Let me get straight to the paint!” (or was it ‘pen’?) At times she was not singing known songs, but rather voicing an undercurrent in the room, almost as if furniture could speak. “How do you feel when we are posing for you?” or something like, yet in sonorous tones. This part with the words was unrehearsed, and undiscussed. But the other models got it straight off and chimed in with their part, especially Tom and Christine our other professional singers.

The Church, St Johns, was perfect and seemed to beg our performance. With chairs neatly rowed for the usual practice, this awesome space demanded to be shaken extraordinarily, furniture strewn and space transformed. A light, almost completely open space with organ gallery at opposite end to altar, the high ceiling called down to us to fill it with our sound. Not just singing. Not how it has been done before, but something stretching the congregation to make it really listen, and to make a music out of just our everyday breathing, sighing, laughing and uttering, because we are celebrating the joy and wonder of being human for all our flaws, we are extraordinary too.

The Reverend Giles praised our art in spite of its controversial nature in the eyes of some of his congregation. He at least can see that the naked human is at the heart of Christianity. I suddenly felt like he was blessing our work, giving us Christian approval and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. But it was a compliment and he was right. At Spirited Bodies we are about allowing people to find their truest selves without fear, to be the best that they can, in such a way that they must face themselves truly. There may be something Christian about that, and it is certainly spiritual. I had a very good feeling about Giles, welcoming us thus. He knew that we belonged there too. We offer something that his church also needs, and I really enjoyed this event more than any other.

Surprise when our models posed as artists. Horror when they gradually stripped off next to their unknowing neighbours – “will it be me next? Do I have to take my clothes off too?” Quite a few models remarked that this part – the first part – was similar to an event I and several of us took part in during the Summer at Guerilla Galleries, called ‘Inversed Voyeurism’. Turning the tables on people’s, especially artists’ expectations of the model, the idea that the model is something separate, like an object.

These were not typical Spirited Bodies, and yet they were also very typical. And very experienced. People who we have gotten to know, through our events and others like them. These people love to be part of nude art. Some will travel the world for good opportunities. Maybe it is their religion. As well a couple who were very new to what we do. A very nervous woman who fared very well.

A success of working relationships. Our 3rd collaboration with London Drawing. We get better at knowing what to expect and how to navigate the sticking points. And a growing team of dedicated Spirited Bodies; our soul is thriving, we just want to keep growing and travelling further with our shared passion.

The following photos of artwork are courtesy of Steve Ritter, who also wrote about Saturday’s experience; http://charoigne.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/a-human-orchestration/ as did Matt Whyndham; http://repulsivemonkey.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/life-modelling-3-and-bit.html In many ways they each have outlined more clearly what actually happened than I have, but it would be boring if we all wrote the same.

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capturing the architecture with the figures
capturing the architecture with the figures
Models interspersed amongst artists
Models interspersed amongst artists

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View from the gallery, art work spread on the aisle
View from the gallery, art work spread on the aisle

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the sum of our parts
the sum of our parts

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models singing an echo in a line
models singing an echo in a line

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A finale of models on a platform in front of the altar
A finale of models on a platform in front of the altar

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a sort of human pyramid
a sort of human pyramid

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a flaming cross
a flaming cross

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And from our life model friend Santosh who also took several photos:

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aisle Anne & David talking to the artists

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Rehearsing the final pose
Rehearsing the final pose
Setting up the 'singing drum' pose
Setting up the ‘singing drum’ pose in the morning

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Looking forward to more of such collaborations, with gratitude for a remarkable team effort on all sides, and the pleasure of enjoying some outstanding artwork.

Here is some more from artist Jess Miller; http://jessmillerart.com/2013/10/13/the-drawing-theatre-2013/

Favourite moments? (1) Seeing artists squirm as other ‘artists’ were given the nudge, and obliged by removing clothes. (2) Grinning fiendishly from the outside as the models raised their pitch and crossed into new territory empowered by voice. (3) Watching Morimda take the central standing position in the final piece, as the guy before needed a break. The symbolism of a black female replacing a white guy on the top spot gave me a big kick, and, after all, we wouldn’t be here without Morimda.

Will be sharing more pictures from London Drawing soon.

‘A Human Orchestration’ with The Drawing Theatre, October 12th

An artist friend Lily, described the power evinced by the model when delivering words, poetry whilst posing. The total stillness (of the model) contrasting with the presence of the words expressing the essence of the model/performer with such intensity. The words, normally danced as enunciated, skipped into the space on stage; now squeezed through the tiny holes of the face, the only part of the body moving except for breathing. Potent words given extra fire by a taut poise extreme in stillness.
She was speaking of our mutual friend Ursula who has appeared on these pages before (a few times), a life model and performance poet who sometimes combines these talents. Lily said that unlike the other artists present at the recital described, she felt unable to draw whilst the words were spoken, so transfixed was she on Ursula’s delivery.
Then we imagined non-linear words which do not require a level of concentration antithetical to the focus necessary for drawing, but instead circular words sung as a mantra, harmoniously and in congruence with a chorus of models humming in accord. Sound that allows you to join in seamlessly so you lose yourself not only in the looking, but the calling, the surrounding of the sound these models make. These are more than bodies, they give you something else of their being for you to respond to. Like an orchestra they have a conductor, and this will be a naked symphony.
Particular models will be featured as singers in this avant garde explosion of sound and harmony; Christine, Tom and Ursula. It happened that Ursula composed this poem late last year and it does resonate with the theme at hand.
Drawing Symphony
like an orchestra
it feels
as the artists
draw their lines
on their canvasses
and in so doing
moving their hands and their arms
as if they play their violins
in an orchestra
like a drawing symphony
this is
with me, model, conductor
as the artists
follow my outlines
until the shape of me
is reproduced
on the other side
of the assembly of easles
with their canvasses
with the artists, the instrumentalists
artistic reproductions appear
out of some sort of nowhere
because the canvasses were blank
before my outlines started to appear
I have been drawn
with pencils and brushes
like a string on a violin
I have been drawn
I have been realized, mirrored
abstracted or elaborated
or improvized like jazz
I have been composed
like a piece of music
I sing, the echoes of my shapes sing
the artists give me voice
we can say something
together
they in their drawing
me in my posing
we speak
we have a dialogue
I call and they respond
I admire how they respond
so artfully, accurately, abstractfully
they represent me
it’s the drawing symphony of artists
that gives me voice
that translates my stillness
into music, patterns, colours, liveliness
life-drawing-ness
we speak together
for we have something to say
we come to life
in the life drawing
we model, we mirror, we muse
we make
music.                              © Ursula Troche, 12.2012
Turning the tables: Toni, me, Rodger, Ursula and Peter participating in role reversing art installation at Guerilla Galleries last month. Organised by Natanski we posed as artists who undressed before our models who then photographed us. Spectators got drawn by us finally.
Model friends; turning the tables: Toni, me, Rodger, Ursula and Peter participating in role reversing art installation at Guerilla Galleries last month. Organised by Natanski we posed as artists who undressed before our models who then photographed us. Spectators got drawn by us finally.

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Model Alessandra got out into the audience to shoot us drawing them
Model Alessandra got out into the audience to shoot us drawing them

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Me & Ursula checking out the doodles
Me & Ursula checking out the doodles

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Drawing by Lily from recent event at Holborn
Drawing by Lily from recent event at Holborn
Man with grapes
Man with grapes

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Lily said drawing this couple (who have modelled at our events a few times) brings tears to her eyes, so strong is the tenderness between them
Lily said drawing this couple (who have modelled at our events a few times) brings tears to her eyes, so strong is the tenderness between them

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You can book for The Drawing Theatre event ‘A Human Orchestration’ here (to come and draw). Get in touch if you are interested to model, though I am sourcing most of the models amongst those who have worked with us before.
Ursula will be celebrating her birthday on Saturday (21st) at ‘Stables in Exile’ (The Bar Gallery), Unit 5, Queens Parade, Willesden Lane, a few minutes walk from Willesden Green station from 6:30pm and this is an occasion to see her perform some poetry as well as draw her and me – clothed. I will do some movement. This is a free event, do bring a bottle/some nibbles.