INSERT[coda]HERE is a performative experiment in presence.
Interview with Project Director/Dance Artist/Performer Sharon Mansur
Why did we make this film?
We made INSERT[coda] HERE to further explore the themes within the original live performance/installation project INSERT [ ] HERE, original concept and project co-directionby contemporary dance artists Nick Bryson (Ireland) and Sharon Mansur (USA). Composer Tara Rodgers originally suggested experimenting with a dance on film version.
We invited videographer Brian Harris to collaborate as he has worked with me before on a previous dance film.
Why should you watch this film?
The film is a brief movement meditation, and offers a valuable opportunity, as contemporary art often does, for the viewer to see and perceive an expressive body interacting, inhabiting and interacting with a specific environment without a predetermined story or message, but more of an open field to take in and interpret as desired.
How do personal & universal themes work in the film?
The personal themes started with the live INSERT [ ] HERE project, considering the theme of ‘insertion’ in its various manifestations: what one inserts into one’s sense of self & identity, sense of home, into a new environment, into another’s artistic process, inserting art into daily life and vice versa. And the intention or accidental nature of a person or object or idea being inserted into the world, into a field of vision, into a conversation. And could something or someone be replaced, and/or reinserted somewhere else? From these personal musings and questions perhaps there are universal themes for others to discover, but not for us to dictate.
How have the script and film evolved?
There is not a script in the traditional sense, but what is known as a ‘score’ in this type of dance that is improvisational in nature. The movement score consists of guidelines, themes, key concepts to keep in mind when performing but the material is created on the spot. So we set up potential shots in the space we chose, Brian had some ideas, and I did as well. But during the actual filming my movement responses were spontaneous. Tara’s music was prerecorded but she had several tracks she could layer as desired and respond to the various choices Brian and I were making with space, time and movement.
We had planned just to work one day but after that first session I felt I wasn’t as focused as I could be due to other factors that day so we came back to work a second time which felt more successful. The editing process is another evolution that is due to Brian’s instincts as an artist and responding to my aesthetic and preferences as well as my responses to his choices. There’s a lovely collaborative and intuitive dialogue that has evolved and deepened over time.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Feedback has included being struck by the minimal sense of space and the solo figure, plus the stark light colors of my costume that cause me to almost melt into the walls. That was a deliberate choice and I almost wish I could have dyed my hair to match! Viewers seem to respond to the subtle nature of my movement as well as Brian’s thoughtful camera eye and editing. The section of the closeup on my hands has been pointed out.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
No, I don’t think so since my point of view is very open ended. As an artist I offer situations and events and getting a range of questions, observations and feedback is an exciting part of the artistic journey. The viewers really complete the work for me, in a multidimensional prismatic way. I don’t have any expectations so I welcome all of it!
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on We Are Moving Stories?
I don’t have a specific goal, just happy to have another outlet to offer INSERT[coda] HERE and see what folks make of it. Thanks for the opportunity!
Who do I need to come on board?
I’ve been quite pleased with the amount of film festivals that have agreed to screen the film so far. This film and one that I made with Brian the year before are the first dance films that I have submitted to dance and general film festivals. So every acceptance we’ve received has been a pleasant surprise. If a few more festivals are happy to include it, that’s wonderful. It would be nice to receive some funds to go towards the next film.
What type of impact and/or reception would I like this film to have?
Again, I don't create work in order to get a specific outcome, I’m exploring a theme or question that’s relevant to me and then share with others to be acknowledged and see if there’s any recognition or empathic response. This project in all of its manifestations has been recognized in both Ireland and the U.S., in both live and film versions so I’m personally quite satisfied at this point. My work tends to be quite subtle and detailed, so I’m always grateful when I find an audience that is willing to go there with me.
What’s a key question to help spark debate or begin conversation?
Q: How and what do you insert of your sense of presence, identity and self into your life, your home, your environment, your relationships, your community?
Would you like to add anything else?
I want to acknowledge key support in developing the initial live project that was the foundation for the dance film: University of Maryland’s Creative and Performing Arts Award; the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies residency; Birr Theatre & Arts Centre, Ireland residency; Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts residency; draft performances at Sonic Circuits Festival of Experimental Music, Film, Dance in DC; and Dance Place for presenting the full live site-situated performance/installation throughout their building in Washington, DC.
And grateful to the following festivals who have screened the film: Light Moves Festival of Screendance, Ireland; RADFest Alternative Dance Festival, MI; Tiny Dance Film Festival, San Francisco; DanceBARN Screendance Festival, MN; Detroit City Dance Festival, MI; Project 1612 Film Festival, IL; Artcroft Film & Video Festival, KY; Greensboro Dance Film Festival, NC; Citizen Jane Film Festival, MO; Mirror Mountain Film Festival, Canada.
Interview: November 2016
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
INSERT[coda]HERE is a performative experiment in presence.
Project Director/Performer: Sharon Mansur
Director of Photography, Edit: Brian Harris
Composer: Tara Rodgers
About the writer, director and producer:
Sharon Mansur is a dance/visual artist creating live performance events, installations, and dance films, presented throughout the U.S. and internationally. www.mansurdance.com
Brian Harris is a multi-disciplinary artist whose creative explorations have included video, visual art, music, dance and performance art. www.bluefieldarts.com
Tara Rodgers is a composer, writer and educator. She also researches the cultural history of sound/audio technologies, and promotes arts, technologies, and education as tools for social change. http://www.analogtara.net/wp/
Key cast: Sharon Mansur, performer
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
More film festival screenings would be great! Another review would be wonderful too.
Release date: May 2015