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

altar

collage

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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lights

windows

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.

some images from Spirited Bodies in Mortlake

We didn’t take any photos at this event which some people missed, but of course there was lots of artwork

Models posed mostly individually to begin with, and after the break they were more connected, in fact in tableaux suggesting some scene. There was a naked funeral, a naked wedding, a party… these only lasted for half an hour, so artists were pretty pushed to get it all down with 7 or 8 figures in each group. Some lovely abstract work too. I put some other pictures in the ‘Images’ page, but couldn’t figure out how not to get the new images muddled up with ones from last year… another time. Plus there’s lots more uploading to do. Just wanted to start this as I know how much people really want to see work from the recent event. Thank you to superb new & experienced models alike, they were a fantastic group, some sharing experience and others learning very quickly. Even for the pros though there is the novelty of being en group. Clifford, a seasoned pro pointed out that it is a very different experience to being alone as you are not supposed to be the star but instead part of an ensemble creating a striking pose together. Very true.

More anon.

On Holy Ground a Space for Transformation

I visited the hall where Saturday’s event will take place

Lots of floor space and more light from above too bright for my pesky phone camera to capture the awesome high ceiling

The building is only sometimes still a church, mostly it is used as a community space for a choir, a dance school, a creche, amateur dramatics etc. Not a pretty church but a good space. There is an organ and a piano if anyone would like to accompany the service!

a very plain church which will point up the awesomeness of the models

Spirited Bodies team is reunited once more! It is a bit like an ethereal organisation; sometimes we needs must disappear. We are now very much on the Earth plane and busy connecting with our excellent group of models to be and also the artists.

This will be our first event entirely run by us. The last one in Telegraph Hill was almost such, but being part of a festival, it was promoted and the space given by the festival. It has been tricky to have time etc to invite as many artists as we possibly could to do the event justice. As you can see the space is large, so there is room. Do get in touch if you would like to come and draw, or just turn up. Last time we fitted into a much smaller space, so it will be beautiful to enjoy extra leg room and more possibilities for moving about to get a different view.

As well we may divide the models into smaller groups some of the time, and space them out around the hall.
Lucy unearthed some gorgeous pictures of artwork created at the Drawing Theatre event at Battersea Arts Centre earlier this year.

The bodies look very connected

 

emotive

 

collage figures

 

beautiful pose by 2 models who met on the day and joined up!

 

Looking forward to the magic!