Secular Ecstatic Art Laboratory With Jonathan Grieve

“Non-Linear-War” and the politics of perception. 'There is a reality out there however broken it is'

A WORKSHOP for actors, dancers, live artists, magicians, students and potential demagogues. A temporary autonomous zone in which radical actions, identities and progressive thought are permitted to manifest. One could call it 'method acting' for performance artists. Led by Jonathan Grieve with Nwando Ebizie and members of the company.

Please contact with a short email of motivation, or if you have any queries.

THE SIX ELEMENTS: Water, Earth, Air, Metal, Fire & Spirit is a physical training methodology for the performer aimed at developing a sense of freedom, connection and autonomy (awareness, spontaneity & intimacy):

- develop imaginative engagement, ensemble awareness and rhythm
- develop your ability to improvise spontaneously within precise structures to create action and movement for live performance
- develop your ability to intuitively connect to your fellow performer
- develop core-strength, flexibility, co-ordination, stamina, physical precision

The Six Elements draws from aspects of Grotowski’s work, martial arts, dance, mime, butoh & Haitian Vodou dance (led by Nwando Ebizie). It generates a contrasting range of energetic physical and emotional states that can lead to a ‘secular trance’ and the creation of Symbolic Action.

EXPLOITATION ART: a live art process
Through a process of ‘Selfsploitation’ we will create performance personas of our own personal leaders/demagogues/revolutionaries and reactionaries The work involves discussion, self-questioning and an intimate DIY process of symbolic manipulation of physical images.

- ‘Selfsploitation’ aims to embody a few of the ceaseless procession of characters and persona’s inside all of us: the clichéd, subtle, exaggerated or suppressed, we embody the personas through facets of our own inner worlds. 
- One could call it Method acting for performance artists: as it develops a negotiation of each other’s physical and emotional boundaries. 
- Performers are encouraged to take risks and test their own boundaries.
- Develop collaborative and negotiation skills in the context of devised work
- Develop your ability of assert yourself amongst their colleagues, while maintaining a fruitful creative collaboration

Inspired by Exploitation and Grindhouse cinema, performance artist Gómez-Peña, DIY/Magic/Derek Jarman & WS Burroughs. 

PERFORMANCE: The Symbolic Transaction
The Six Elements and ‘selfsploitation’ will connect to allow direct intimate transactions with our invited audience on the final night of the laboratory, where we will present a rendition or synthesis of the work in the vein of a ritual performance to a live soundtrack. 

The workshop explores the politics of perception. This week long multidisciplinary laboratory will explore the concept of Non-Linear-War an idea put forward by Putin’s one time Chief of Staff, Vladislav Surkov and explored in the documentary Hypernormalisation by Adam Curtis. Non-Linear-War is designed to create the illusion of democracy and put the population into submission, rather like creating a fake world where no-one is quite sure what is true or not, no-one really knows whose side anyone is on and we forced to take sides or opt out. There is a reality out there however broken it is.

The workshop will require full commitment from the participants. And may make demands on your physical, artistic and emotional abilities and as well your belief systems. You will be asked to bring a selection of props and costumes to work with. Participating in the training requires a good level of basic physical fitness, however the purpose is not to excel in the exercises but to use the exercises as a way of confronting your own limitations and physical and mental resistances. 

“You opened up a creative space which is rare. The work is potent and requires great sensitivity. What you created was very valuable to me in relation to future work.”

"I utterly loved the workshop, It was great fun meeting and working so many other artists, dancers, writers and just talented cultural people from all around the world. Sharing all our different skills and merging to craft a powerful performance together."

" This whole process was very liberating for me, it reminded me of the importance of staying open, permeable, for things to flow."

"To be actively encouraged to speak or act without censorship about topics that are loaded or controversial is a rare chance to be able to gauge your opinions and your emotional attachments regarding these opinions in relation to others."

"Without being didactic at all, to me it felt like the show was great in taking stances on cultural issues, but then self-sabotaged or subverting them in ways that forced me to question my own views and standpoints."
Neil Luck, 
(Audience member of The Passion of Lady Vendredi)

The training and creative work was developed in collaboration with Nwando Ebizie, Fabiola Santana, Moss Beynon-Juckes, Jennifer MT White, Ignacio Jarquin, Gerardo de Armas and Daniel Cunningham during the production The Passion of Lady Vendredi.

I have to credit a number of master practitioners and teachers as the sources of the artistic work including Jerzy Grotowski, Jolanta Cynkutis, Mexican performance artist Guillermo Gomez-Pena and Zsuzsa Parrag, a Berlin based dancer and choreographer who has been teaching the company aspects of Haitian Vodou dance. The theme of Non-Linear-War was explored this autumn with 3rd Year students from the ETA course at Rose Bruford College and I am grateful for the insights afforded me through our explorations together.