Wednesday, 16 February 2011

commissions divide between those who have a track record in this area and those who don't

Wallace Heim, co-editor of the Ashden Directory, assesses the latest TippingPoint commissions announced last night

In the mix of projects awarded TippingPoint commissions, it’s striking how most of the companies and artists do not have a history of working with environmental themes.

Some do: Feral Theatre; Vicky Long and Tim Sutton; and Craig Vear. But others seem to be coming to the challenges of this commission - to stimulate the imaginative thinking necessary to navigate a world shaped by climate change – for the first time.

This could be an argument for how, once funding is made available, productions will follow. This could also reflect how any artistic practice –  aerial spectacles, intimate vigils, composed music, sound art, the crafting of objects, place-based performance – offers a particular way-in to understanding a changing climate.

The expectations for these projects is high. The example of Greenland at the National Theatre shows how a sudden education in climate change does not necessarily produce a viable play; the lessons of a decade of environmental performance weren't learned.

An ideal would be if these TippingPoint commissions can bring fresh and nuanced ideas about climate change to their own inventive practices.

Full details on the winning commissions on the Ashden Directory.

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