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Bretton Hall (1998)
a video and sound installation.

Choreography and direction : John Utans
sound and direction :
Paul Newland
Performed by : Melanie Clarke
Michelle Man
Tom Sapsford.

Bretton Hall (1998) was created during the 1998 International Course for Professional Choreographers and Composers. This two-week course was held in Yorkshire, Great Britain and led by choreographer Jonathon Burrows and composer Kevin Volans. The title of the work comes from the name of the building where it was made. (Bretton Hall a former mansion, now forms part of The University of Surrey's Yorkshire campus. The room in which the work was shot is also known for having been used in Ken Russell's 1969 movie, Women in Love.)

The work explores time and shifting perspective's of movement and sound. Both elements play with notions of elongating and reducing simultaneously. Actions occur in the distance and in extreme close up. The work is made up from a singular one-minute phrase of movement and music. The music is scored for prepared piano, violin and clarinet.

Relationships between the performers and sound appear then fall away. Images and sound are cut, repeated, move forwards and backwards in the space and in time.

The movement and sound components were edited in the camera with the dancers and musicians repeating the one-minute phrase. The camera recorded the movement and sound in random stops and starts, turning the camera on and off. This process continued for approximately 15 minutes thus making a three-minute visual and aural sequence. The video element captures the music played by the musicians and the movement and sounds of footsteps, falls to the floor and breathing of the dancers. The video and sound have since been re-edited independently, using a simular random on-off process, thus turning the one-minute/ three-minute sequence into three hours (and more in a continuous loop).

The work is presented with two sound sources, from different directions within the space, one of the actual sounds from the video, the other the remixed version of the original score. The intention is that the spectator is free to move about the space becoming aware of the different sound sources and its relationship to the movement video image. The sounds and visuals merge allowing for constant shifts of time and place. Music and movement work in unison and opposition. All elements overlap and entwine bringing about subtle shifts and changes. Of staying and going. And beginnings and endings.

Bretton Hall (1998) was presented at the Vault, Contemporary Arts Space, Bundaberg Arts Centre in August 1999.

For further information of technical details and availability for exhibition please contact John Utans.