Author: Camilla

2013: An IJAD review.

2013: An IJAD review.

This has been a bumper year where the wheels haven’t stopped whirring. Here’s Camilla’s whistle-stop tour.

March saw us present our first performance which combined the three elements of social media, streaming and live performance. In-Finite continued to delve in to the world of secrets and explored the tension of the secret kept and secret revealed. It received over 1000 online views, reached over 400 people on social media and was seen in 11 countries. This was kindly supported by The Asfari Foundation and The Arts Council as well as many generous private donors.

Read the story of Infinite here and view the trailer here.

Not a bad start to the year. We were commissioned to perform a scaled down version of In-Finite in Switzerland for ArtCorps Antilope Festival. Interest in our approach continued and we were invited to run a workshop at Brunel University as part of their Artaud Forum where we built on the outreach workshops we ran at Rich Mix in Shoreditch, London; one of which was delivered across London and Spain.

Swiftly following was more interest from the academic community where we presented our method and it’s applications to the Theatre and Performance Research Association in Manchester. The digital world pricked up it’s ears and we presented our vision at Digital Shoreditch, a week long festival which celebrates the outstanding creative, technical and entrepreneurial talent of East London and Tech City. On the self same day we zoomed up to Cambridge to present a screening of In-Finite at contemporary art gallery Kettle’s Yard.

The summer saw us take part in The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’ InTRANSIT Festival where we were the largest contributor presenting a whopping 22 performances over 7 days in the outdoor spaces of the Borough and was attended by Councillor Tim Colerdige of RBCK

Sustaining the interest from the academic community we entered in to discussions with Aberystwyth University and the digital performance professor there and opened conversations with Goldsmith’s Centre for Urban and Community Research. A bid for £15,000 to Creative Works London was successful and we are still conducting research with Goldsmiths into twitter conversations that we stimulate for our performances and cultivating new methods of engagement.

Autumn spun around in no time and we were back at Brunel University taking part in a workshop series (also featuring Akram Khan) for their Contemporary Performance Making Series.

RBKC funded us along with The Science Museum to perform again at Nour Festival (last year at we performed for this festival at the V&A Museum) with 3 performances in one night during their Lates series of events about Space where we had amazing attendance online and at the event, the Mayor of RBCK, Councillor Charles Williams attended the event, especially to see our performance which gained 4 stars.

To say a HUGE thank you to all our friends and partners we hosted our First Annual Gala at Camden Proud Old Horse Hospital where we showed snippets of our work peppered with performances from Joumana. We ran a unique Twitter Pilot which was a resounding success that will greatly inform 2014’s work and were able to catch up with you all which we know is sometimes hard at performances!

Links: 19th Storify

We worked with a huge range of talented photographers and artists who worked in parallel to us, with special thanks to Andrea Di Cenzo, Georgia Hackett, Pippa Dodds, Liran Fisher, Emily Pulham, Arabella Hilfiker, Pierce Braysher and our designers Joseph Asghar and David Grant a host of others we’re delighted to have collaborated with.

We achieved a 4 page spread in The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing Magazine, popped up in the Metro twice and appeared on countless web magazines including Dance UK and various disability press. In-Finite Space Part I had not one but two embedded journalists working alongside us and were even appear on the radio.

We’d also like to thank our amazing twitter and facebook followers who join in by submitting all sorts of amazing ideas such as poetry, pictures, ideas and answers, some of which really took our breath away.

We have an exciting 2014 lined up, so keep an eye out in January where we look forward to announcing another year of contemporary magic which you can be a part of

Have a great December!

Science Fiction quotes #3

Science Fiction quotes #3

Phillip K Dick

(Hollywood films include Blade Runner(1982), Total Recall(1990) and Minority 

Report(2002), A Scanner Darkly (2006))

This is the final part three of my quotes that I hope to inspire you into finding 
science marvellous. Herbert was a philosophical wrangler, Asimov was 
fascinated by technology – Dick has far more interest in human to human 
machinations and how future advances will bring out the worse in mankind. 
He’s brilliantly dark. 

'It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.'

'My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression.'

'The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If 
you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must 
use them.'

'If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.'

'You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go. It is the basic 
condition of life, to be required to violate your own identity. At some time, 
every creature which lives must do so. It is the ultimate shadow, the defeat of 
creation; this is the curse at work, the curse that feeds on all life. Everywhere 
in the universe.'

'There will come a time when it isn't 'They're spying on me through my phone' 
anymore. Eventually, it will be 'My phone is spying on me'.'

'The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Parmenides taught that the only things 
that are real are things which never change... and the pre-Socratic Greek 
philosopher Heraclitus taught that everything changes. If you superimpose 
their two views, you get this result: Nothing is real.'

'There exists, for everyone, a sentence - a series of words - that has the power 
to destroy you. Another sentence exists, another series of words, that could 
heal you. If you're lucky you will get the second, but you can be certain of 
getting the first.'

'A man is an angel that has gone deranged.'

I want to write about people I love, and put them into a fictional world spun 
out of my own mind, not the world we actually have, because the world we 
actually have does not meet my standards. Okay, so I should revise my 
standards; I'm out of step. I should yield to reality. I have never yielded to 
reality. That's what SF is all about. If you wish to yield to reality, go read 
Philip Roth; read the New York literary establishment mainstream bestselling 
writers….This is why I love SF. I love to read it; I love to write it. The SF writer 
sees not just possibilities but wild possibilities. It's not just 'What if' - it's 'My 
God; what if' - in frenzy and hysteria. The Martians are always coming.
Messages of the Future – Quotes from Science Fiction Authors #1

Messages of the Future – Quotes from Science Fiction Authors #1

What is Science Fiction? An exhibit at The British Library showed to make any attempt to form sense out the world using metaphor is sci-if and traced (extant proof) back to the Ancient Greek and Romans .

More recently we think of science fiction as the type which emerged from the 1900s where magazines such as Astounding Science Fiction and Thrill Book picked up a cult following and was primarily written by scientists. We now have a SyFy channel and a plethora of series on TV making wonder become a staple form of entertainment.

For me, sci-fi is primarily human. The genre uses the future to illustrate the human relationship we have with our physical world. Some writers, like Kim Stanley Robinson write prophetically. His books, Red, Blue and Green Mars are all written predictions after a career working as the Mars specialist for NASA. Other writers use futuristic settings which are outlandish to show what they believe to be the immutable human condition.

Science Fiction writers tend to be social commentators and dreamers which makes their books remarkably accessible. They’re visionaries who think massively outside their time and so, in celebration, I have collated quotes from three sci-fi writers who had quite an impact on me growing up – for the time in my life they appeared to the messages which profoundly jiggled around the way I thought about the world. I hope they you have a similar experience with their ponderings on life.

Frank Herbert Quotes

(Hollywood Films include Dune (1984 – starring Sting))

‘Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.’

‘The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.’

‘A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.’

‘Nature does not make mistakes. Right and wrong are human categories.’

‘Do actions agree with words? There’s your measure of reliability. Never confine yourself to the words.’

‘A person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing you to grow. Without them, it sleeps- seldom to awaken. The sleeper must awaken.’

‘Whether a thought is spoken or not it is a real thing and has powers of reality.’

‘The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.’

‘The concept of progress acts as a protective mechanism to shield us from the terrors of the future.’

‘A human being can stand any amount of pain.’

‘The function of science fiction is not always to predict the future but sometimes to prevent it.’

‘He who can destroy a thing, can control a thing.’

‘There is no escape – we pay for the violence of our ancestors.’

‘Truth suffers from too much analysis.’

‘There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.’

‘Absolute power does not corrupt absolutely, absolute power attracts the corruptible.’

‘If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual.’

‘One of the best things to come out of the home computer revolution could be the general and widespread understanding of how severely limited logic really is.’

‘The difference between sentiment and being sentimental is the following: Sentiment is when a driver swerves out of the way to avoid hitting a rabbit on the road. Being sentimental is when the same driver, when swerving away from the rabbit, hits a pedestrian.’

And while we’re in the mood for pondering. This is what we’re are doing with In-Finite Space. We’re taking the mathematics of our world and interpreting our human relationship with physics through an exploration of our bodies and minds via a multi-media performance. You can contribute by answering our daily questions about space on #InfiniteReach in whatever format you like (verse, image, video). I would love to know what your favourite sci-fi quotes tickle your mind (Dr Who has some great writers) – let us have them and see if you can spot them in our dance!

Performance Philosophy!

Performance Philosophy!

“AWE: an experience of such perceptual vastness you literally have to reconfigure you mental models of the world to assimilate it”

Enjoy this video, especially if your brain needs a kick. It looks at the science of new experiences and our responsibility to have them.

I like to think of Jason Silva’s Shots of Awe as big thoughts packaged for our soundbite culture.

I don’t think ‘sound bite’ is bad – we train our brains to have fast data intake which is incredible useful and doesn’t stop us enjoying languorous fiction. I’d love forcing my brain in to Baudrillard – but I don’t have the time anymore – so Jason Silva’s great – his thoughts resonate in my head in no time I have now replaced my cigarette break with a philosophy break.

I hope your world is as touched by these two point four nine minutes as mine is.


6 million, million

6 million, million

Light Year – I love meaningful paradoxes.

I recently wrote a post about our relationship with words and spoke about how we use them in performance – but I started thinking more about the first part of the post regarding etymology as I love the word ‘lightyear’.

When you start to learn about space, distance and time become related. (And then you start thinking about time travel but that’s a whole other project ;] ) A light year is the distance light travels in one year. It’s a unit of distance rather than time. I love that humans are so relational in our speaking. If we can’t describe something (like High Street) we describe it by naming it to the most similar thing we know – like pom de la terre. Surnames were professional led (Haddad is one of the most common Arabic – meaning Smith). Surname joiners such as such as ‘bar’ ‘von’ and ‘del’ all state progeny. Descriptive words degrade over time, for ‘Grape Lane’ it was due to ideas o decency (google that one – it’s dirty).

So when I hear ‘light year’ I cannot imagine almost 6 million, million miles (9.4607 × 1012 I can’t imagine 6 million, million of anything.

To my partner’s dismay I have very little grasp of maths or science and when he starts using phrases like ‘to the power of’ I switch off (sorry Greg!) and just think – it’s really frelling big. I can get my head around a year. I can get my head around the fact that light is*really* fast. It works in my head. It’s poetic. Hearing that our nearest solar system Alpha Centuri is 4.367 light years away just makes me go ‘wrahhhhh’. If you like that feeling, I thoroughly recommend The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. It’s a very intense (read visceral) novel which is philosophical and immense. As a reader of science fiction you kinda become immune to the amazingness of space travel – Russell’s communication of it appeals to science thinkers but also dreamers like me with the emotional impact. The characters travel there and back in what is only )) months to them. Which is 40 years for earth, for the people they love, for the lives they knew.It’s a stark reminder of how interconnected space and distance are, although it doesn’t really affect our everyday lives much except for the additional 20 minutes it takes me to commute in trainers or high heels (IJAD’s office is up a hill).

I’d love to know if you ever feel affected by the time/distance thing – do you fly across timezones much? How does your linear perception of experience cope? I have a few more things I’m curious about too – indulge me on #InfiniteReach

– Can you imagine 6 million, million of anything? If so, what?

A relationship with words

A relationship with words

One of the things I love about new things whether they’re people, products or discoveries is that they highlight our cultural relationship with language.

Latin and Greek are of course the standard fall-to options; it’s amazing fun to annoy etymologists by mixing them up in words such as ‘automobile’, ‘dysfunction’ and did you know ‘octopodes’ is the correct plural of ‘octopus’?

We have a very intimate relationship with words – they’re collective agreements of meaning and I’m sure we’ve all felt failure about the ineffable qualities of emotions such as ‘love’ and the feelings of ‘longing’ – which supports a whole music industry.

You can’t pin a language down; we hear tabloid headlines that the word ‘database’ replaces ‘foxglove’ in a children’s dictionary, ‘twerk’ enters common parlance or an artist coins a new phrase like Dr Suess’s ‘nerd’.

Ralph Fiennes claimed that Twitter is ruining the English language and he’s not alone in thinking this. What do you think? I lean to the side that whatever aids accurate expression of our personal interpretation of life is valid. I saw ‘FML’ in the Evening Standard the other day – and I thought it was quite eloquent. Twitter is probably the most recent mass-modifier of our mumblings (as TV or radio were to their times) and IJAD’s really interested in the relationship it has with our work. As you know, we’re interpreting what you tweet or write to us on 30th immediately within the show, as well as your sharings inspiring the development work itself – as you can see here (hyperlink to vine).

The movement IJAD uses aims to have meaning without words. To reproduce the complex nature of a feeling within a context so that language is not required to speak to your soul – or any pre-existing understanding of dance vocab – that’s why we absorb many cultural experiences and touch many nations around the world (we had 11 countries in one night in March 2013) and join them together.

We’re getting a lot of poems which we’re finding electrifying to work with in the studio. I tend to think of a writer’s relationship with words similar to a photographer – the subject is there – but the wordsmith or photographer selects only certain things to reveal which makes reality more and less than what it is.

IJAD starts with universal themes – and after asking you what you think – ends with a highly culturally specific piece of work. We’re asking you to lend the way you see the world to us and watch as we weave it into a powerful wordlessness.

Follow #InfiniteReach – we’re asking what inspires you about space at the moment.

And if language is your thing, here’s a quote from Stephen Fry:
“Language is my whore, my mistress, my wife, my pen-friend, my check-out girl. Language is a complimentary moist lemon-scented cleansing square or handy freshen-up wipette. Language is the breath of God, the dew on a fresh apple, it’s the soft rain of dust that falls into a shaft of morning sun when you pull from an old bookshelf a forgotten volume of erotic diaries; language is the faint scent of urine on a pair of boxer shorts, it’s a half-remembered childhood birthday party, a creak on the stair, a spluttering match held to a frosted pane, the warm wet, trusting touch of a leaking nappy, the hulk of a charred Panzer, the underside of a granite boulder, the first downy growth on the upper lip of a Mediterranean girl, cobwebs long since overrun by an old Wellington boot.”

Open rehearsals!

Open rehearsals!

Rehearsals have started and you’re invited! Come and see how it all works…

Where? The Science Museum

When? 21st October and 28th October 2013 between 10.30am and 2pm.

What happens in a rehearsal is pretty fun. Sometimes it can be intense and the focus is overwhelming, sometimes we can’t stop laughing, sometimes we discover new things about ourselves. We want you to see this because it’s an important part of the creative process – a performance doesn’t just happen. Originality and expression evolve and we watch those paths, selecting the ones which we think you’ll find most interesting.

Come take a look. We hope it will inspire and excite you. We hope it’ll demystify what happens on stage. If you’re artsy, you’re more than welcome to bring your camera, sketchbook or whatever you love.

All welcome! Tweet at @ijaddance if you’re planning to come and we’ll send you directions


Call for writers…

Call for writers…

Embedded Journalism is getting a lot of attention at the moment.

With the spread of online critics and citizen journalism (one report suggests that 20% of theatre goers publish their experience online) and the sad loss of more and more newspaper critics (the Independent on Sunday axed their critic and the Evening Standard allows just 220 words), it seems ever harder to find out what a show is like. And then comes the internet! Blogs and self-published articles are a great way for us, as a company, to gauge response to our work. For those that are familiar with us, you’ll know that we love social media engagement during our performances. (Phone) Cameras are strictly allowed!

Having an outsider report on what happens behind the scenes (literally) is a rather delicious appeal. So we thought we’d ask you.

We’re offering two lovely and passionate performance lovers the chance to follow the progress of Joumana Mourad, IJAD’s Artistic Director.

You’ll see each process of the performance unfold and build, culminating in three shows in one night at The Science Museum.

You’ll need to be able to write and be armed with a camera (phone). So long as you can translate your experience into words and publish them shortly after you have them, we’d love to hear from you. If you have your own blog, that’s great. If not, we can set you up a very simple one which you can continue to use after the project finished.

To apply, email Camilla – – with a short article (no more than 600 words) about an interesting art experience you had with at least one accompanying image. It can be anything from a piece of graffiti you walked past today, to an awesome theatre show – or some clouds you made with sugar.

All applications need to be in by 10th October and you need to be free during some weekdays to attend rehearsals and meet with the creative team. This is for our show on 30th October so you definitely need to be free in the evening for that one!

I look forward to finding out what art makes you go ‘wow’


In-Finite Incarnates In Switzerland

In-Finite Incarnates In Switzerland

It’s easy when you sell out a show to think that you’ve done everything right. However, as ever, we like to set the bar a little higher. We like to think we’re more concerned with the way you, our audience, experienced the performance. We did something brand new.

On March 8th we had three different audiences:

– A live audience in London (did we mention we sold out?)
– An online audience – watching from 11 confirmed countries
– A twitter audience – from the 20% of people tweeting (in the auditorium, and many more of you from home), over 400 people had an experience of the show through a twitter feed

After a month of research collecting feedback and opinion from you (please continue to let us know what you thought) we’ve noticed some interesting things.

One recurring piece of feedback is that the latter part of the performance was so engaging all the way through and changed quite rapidly that you felt you were missing things if you stopped to tweet or take a picture. Also, there was little time to absorb what was going on, decide what you think till after the show.

We’re very happy to announce that ArtCorps who run the Antilope Festival in Switzerland was so intruiged with what we did on the 8th that they have invited us to perform as part of their 2013 Festival. On the 24th April In-Finite with incarnate as a twitter performance and live showing. We wont be streaming it – but, you will be able to watch the performance through the eyes of those gathered. To get the most enriching experience possible we’re breaking up the performance in to three parts. This will give 4 scheduled opportunities (one before, two intervals and after the show) for the viewers to watch, digest, interpret and share their ideas over twitter.

Antilope are very excited about the way we’re integrating social media with dance to the point where our very own Joumana Mourad has been anointed their Twitter Ambassador for the festival and will be spreading the exciting opportunities Twitter has to performers and audiences who attend the festival from the 22nd April.

Be prepared to watch #infinite13 as we think you’ll find some delightfully creative thoughts appearing as well as a never before seen insight into what’s happening at the festival and in the minds of the creatives involved.

The performance is at 8.30pm CEST (7.30pm BST) so if you can’t make it in the flesh (book here if you can) you can experience for the very first time a twitter only dance performance. We’d love to hear what you think as well – so, follow @IJADdance and we’ll let you know all about it as it fast approaches!

Live Streaming

Live Streaming

Streaming in performance is a loaded area. While the obvious access opportunities are great, there are lots of issues around what, where, how much and what we even call this digital addition that is becoming so important to live art.

First the practical, what exactly do we mean by live streaming? Options include the use of static cameras on tripods versus using a live camera crew. Besides the relative costing differences, there are hundreds of reasons why we might choose one method over another, each one with even more alternatives. How and where should static cameras be placed? How many cameras should be used? Do the camera crew become part of the performance itself?

Many of these issues come down to whether we should be treating an online audience as equal to the physical audience. If so are we not obliged to strive to provide the same experience? And then how does the streaming impact on the expeience of the physical audience? When does streaming equipment begin to change what the present audience experience? With online audiences potentailly outnumbering the physical audience might we lose something of the feel of a live performance, as if we’re inviting them to a filmset?

So does the thought of a less committed audience offend us? An online audience will inevitably watch differently. The experience of a recorded or streamed performance can arguably never be as powerful as the live version. There are aspects of a performance beyond the visual and as technology develops, we’re seeing ever more innovative and performance practice… – sensography. Are we therefore offering our online audiences a reduced performance? Does live streaming cut people off even further? What about those with no internet connection or a generation that are not ‘digital natives’? Are we doing enough to introduce new audiences to the possibility?
At the same time, it could be said that live streaming is in fact more powerful. As we’ve said before, digital interaction may well be the answer to audience participation that performance art needs.

If we can achieve more online, or at least achieve something different, are we talking about the emergence of a new artform? Possibly, who are the curators of this new space? Working with a venue is one thing but what about curating a space where your viewers can adjust the volume, dim the lights, switch cameras or get up and go and make a cup of tea?

The implications on the more traditional audience are huge! Does an online audience encourage people to come and see a live show or make them feel like they’ve seen it? People who buy a DVD won’t then go see it in the cinema (usually). People who buy an album will go and see a band live. What role does mystery have in the arts? The industry is scared of losing business and artistis are scared of giving everything away…

But, we do know that live streaming promotes more access to the arts…Undoubtedly, streaming allows access to performances to those that might have had none but is potential the key word here? Certainly the possibility of access is there but are we really seeing larger audiences from around the world, disadvantaged people and the less able taking a new interest in dance and performance or are we just transferring our current audiences?

In-Finite is being live streamed on Friday from 8pm ( Or attend in person at Rich Mix from 7.30pm (