Transcript of the Artist in Residence 2017 - Chloe Loftus video
[video: sounds of waves upon the beach. Artist is Residence Chloe Loftus walks along the beach with bare feet. Auckland Council logo (pōhutukawa flower over water) displays throughout the video in the top right corner.]
Chloe: There's this giddy excitement I think when you arrive, this anticipation, this unknown, there's so much, you feel like you've got this expanse of time yawning ahead of you…and then it just races past like a galloping horse.
[video: cello music plays. Chloe is shown connected to a long black, stretchy cable which is attached to a pōhutukawa tree. Chloe dances while attached to this bungee cord. Title of video displays – A Creative Oasis. Scenes follow with short shots of Long Bay and Chloe walking down the beach holding her shoes.]
Chloe: I'm Chloe Loftus, and I am a dancer and choreographer, and I have been awarded an eight-week residency through Auckland Council Parks to live in Long Bay for eight weeks creating bungee-assisted dance work under the trees here. I arrived here about two hours ago.
[video: Chloe address the camera while standing on the beach.]
Chloe: It's quite unusual having people around while I'm rehearsing, I'm so used to having a black box of a room and complete privacy until I've got a finished product, so I think it will be really interesting…hello, who are you?!...
[video: a large white dog approaches Chloe, and then walks away.]
Chloe: interesting to see how I get interrupted, and actually whether that inspires, whether that'll inspire my practice…because the point is that it's for the public, and to actually see how people react to what I'm doing when I'm around the public could actually be really inspiring.
[video: cello music begins again. Shots of Chloe walking around her Long Bay accommodation and through the surrounding pōhutukawa trees. On her back is a large orange duffel bag containing the bungee cable.]
Chloe: The accommodation here means that I have the most amazing commute to work, to the studio. I walk through the park. It takes about ten minutes to get to the first tree by the homestead. My boyfriend, Tym - who's here with me to do the rigging for me, we've done several laps of the park in search, auditioning various trees and trying to find the one. There's a practical element of finding…being able to bungee from a tree which is that it has to be strong and stable, I don't want to damage any branches…and it has to have a branch that extends out enough to be able to rig from and perform underneath.
[video: Chloe selects a suitable tree and the video shows here setting up the bungee cable. Other shots are of the tree and beach surroundings.]
Kate: So we whittled it down to about four or five and then we went for a walk with Wendy, who's a park ranger here. She said: "Oh have you seen this spot?" and she brought us round to where the stream comes into the ocean and there's this wonderful pōhutukawa tree with a branch that's just made for bungee-assisted dance, who would have thought it! So that's been great, I pretty much knew instantly that would be the one for it.
[video: cello music begins again, a version of the Saint-Saens composition "The Swan". Clip shows Chloe dance with cable beneath the large tree.]
Chloe: Working with a bungee is a bit like having a dance partner with me. It holds your hips, and allows you to teeter on the cusp of what is humanly possible. You're balancing off-balance if there is such a thing, your suspensions are sustained…It's been like learning how to dance all over again because my sense of weight, my core is altered.
[video: Chloe is shown sitting under a tree near the beach talking directly to camera. The beach is in the background and the wind can be heard. Cello music plays lightly beneath.]
Chloe: It's been interesting coming here and figuring out what this is all about. Obviously, in my application, I was proposing that the fractal patterns of being here: the tides, the rhythms, the people coming here would really inspire the work. And at first, it became about actually this play between man-made and nature, that this is this little oasis that's kind of…the Auckland Parks has done an amazing job of securing this land and keeping it safe from development and keeping it as this wonderful oasis that people can come to. Because it's so close you can see the sprawling miles of suburbia just on the outskirts here and behind there's some new developments. And it became about actually having a sense of space and almost a meditative experience. So as I was trying to get rid of all my clutter of funding applications and work projects and life busyness and trying to find calm to let my creativity flow I realised that actually, that's what everyone was doing here, and that's sort of been what it's about.
[video: Shot of the beach, the water, and Chloe walking back along the sand with her orange duffel bag.]
Chloe: It's been wonderful just playing for two weeks, just improvising and not putting a pressure. There's this luxury, it's so wonderful with this residency to have 8 weeks here, I'm just getting to the point now where I'm working out the first few phrases and actually setting things and finding a flow that I can repeat.
[video: Chloe speaks over the short series of still image photographs of her dancing in an unnamed Berlin theatre.]
Chloe: I started doing bungee-assisted dance in Berlin, in a studio, just rigging from a bolt at the top of the roof. And it's pretty much been that ever since, this is the first time that I'm actually able to rig outside…I've played with counter-weighters and I've played with other dancers, but this is the first time I'm taking it out into a different environment and using nature as the set.
[video: Footage of Chloe climbing a large tree near the beach and setting up her bungee cable. She then dances on the sand while the waves lap the shoreline.]
Chloe: So Long Bay is the main long sweeping beach, and just around the headland there's a little, beautiful slice of paradise, Granny's Bay. And when I come here I will often just improvise, without setting choreography which is at times a bit of an arduous task. It's nice to just come here and listen to music and just dance, and find that freedom with it.
[video: Chloe sits on a fallen log on the beach and speaks to the camera.]
Chloe: It's the Tuesday of the last week of my residency, of the 8 weeks I've only got less than a week left, the performance is this coming Saturday and Sunday. I've pretty much finished the choreography, I think like any artist that you're never really perfectly happy with it, you'll always be tweaking right up until the last moment. One of the biggest challenges I think of this residency was actually working solo. There's nothing else there you know, it's just you, in nature with no collaborators, no music to work with, sort of bare, raw focus on you as an artist and the work that you do. It's really challenging in that sense, but actually, as an artist, I think it's such a valuable thing to have really spent that time investing in my practice, and really relying on my own intuition for creativity.
[video: Shot of Chloe back at the large pōhutukawa by the stream, but this time there is a small group of people sitting around the area where she will be dancing. Various crowd shot and dance footage follows. Cello music plays.]
Chloe: In a funny way the choreography that I'm doing… in one sense it's reflecting this big picture about environmental issues and the earth and humans' relationship with nature, and in a funny way, it's also reflecting my journey here as a resident artist. To begin with, in the work I'm off the bungee and that's exploring this idea of being removed and detached and quite insular, working as an independent I suppose and really quite shut off to everything that's around. And then I attach myself to the bungee and then that starts to explore more, open up my senses a little bit more, but there's echoes of this business and chaos that we carry with us.
Chloe: And then through this meditative phase where it's like grounding my feet on the floor and opening my eyes and breathing…Then after that, there's this freedom that's allowed and this connection and this beauty and joy as well, it's quite playful. And that really tracks my journey here actually…from arriving here with a really set view of how it might be, and the choreography I do, and then this sort of lost ground, where actually I found meditating really helpful, and sitting and looking and seeing, and actually responding to things rather than just going head on…To then now where I'm able to be really playful and to enjoy the process as well, and to really actually look forward to the performance, and to take that stress off about what it should be and just enjoy what it is, and what people will see in it.
[video: cello music plays as she continues to perform for the small crowd. At the conclusion the audience claps. Credits display on screen. "Many thanks to Chloe Loftus, Wendy Ellis, Tym Miller-White, Ella McIntosh - cello, Michelle Edge - project manager, additional footage, Kirsty MacDonald – director, camera, editor. Video concludes with a short series of static image shots of positive audience response messages to Chloe written on post-it notes. End]