🎥 WATCH: Larry Achiampong interviewed by Arts at University of Southampton

Student Arts Ambassador Kate Briggs-Price interviewed artist Larry Achiampong in January 2020, during his solo exhibition When the Sky Falls at John Hansard Gallery, 25 January – 14 March 2020.

Larry and Kate chat about all things – from working across different mediums and taking artistic inspiration from popular culture, to class, race, privilege and the environment (and how they are all connected).

John Hansard Gallery is part of University of Southampton and is funded by Arts Council England. Larry Achiampong is represented by Copperfield Gallery, London.

With thanks to Larry Achiampong and John Hansard Gallery.

Video by Kate Briggs-Price.

Continue reading 🎥 WATCH: Larry Achiampong interviewed by Arts at University of Southampton

Review: Heist at NST City (or Our First Dance Show Experience!)

By Thea Hartman and Kate Briggs-Price

To our shame and huge excitement and curiosity, the opening night of ZoieLogic Dance Theatre’s Heist was the first time either of us had seen a dance-only production. And on top of that, whilst between us we have a few years’ worth of mostly amateur dance experience, we know nothing about contemporary dancing, which was the show’s predominant style. In a nutshell, we went to the opening night of this show with absolutely no expectations and completely ready to see contemporary dance with fresh eyes.

And that is exactly what happened. As ZoieLogic Dance Theatre Artistic Director Zoie Golding expertly put it (she created the show after all), Heist mixes “the adventure of Mission Impossible, the gaming of Crystal Maze, and a little bit of the heart of The Goonies” – an emotionally dynamic, cleverly woven, action-packed show bursting with the most graceful moves which kept us on the edge of our seats throughout.

One of the most striking aspects of Heist was in the way it established the tone so promptly and accurately from the very first minute with the help of soundtrack and a villain with robotic moves, deeply unsettling facial expressions and Matrix-like costume. We like to think that we don’t get scared easily, but we definitely found ourselves huddling close into each other as the villain slowly approached our end of the stage. This almost instant characterization was also instilled into the four ‘good’ guys – despite there being absolutely no words spoken for the entire duration of the show, we quickly got a real sense of the dynamic between the characters in the first act, as their movements started to organize themselves into patterns and motifs to show their quirks and mannerisms, their teamwork and their willingness to do whatever it takes to escape the prison.

Interestingly, the storyline was quite minimalistic. Whilst the general plotlines were conveyed by the characters’ interaction with the set, the soundtrack and the dancers’ movements and facial expressions, the lack of words brought with itself a lack of specificity which Heist turned on its head into a vagueness encouraging audience engagement. We did not know exactly why the four men were imprisoned, or what they tried to set free at the end of it, but when we talked about it after coming out of the show we both thought it had something to do with identity. Whether or not that’s what it actually was about is a different question.

The great thing about the show is that none of this guesswork actually matters: you don’t get brownie points for identifying one specific metaphor the author wanted to convey. The focus was simply on how the incredibly skilful and graceful movements affected the audience’s emotions (and trust us, they did). The plot was merely shaped by some classic heist film tropes (e.g. the chase scene), and the fantastically adaptable set which enhanced the experience of the show by being as fluid as the dancers’ movements; the essence was all in the relationship between movements and emotion. As the dancers were climbing the prison’s walls showing some real parkour skills, we waited anxiously for them to fall. As they supported each other through their feeblest sequences of choreography we felt feeble with them. As they were running from the villain through the set which became a maze we were rooting for them to get away.

For us, that was the essence of Heist. It did not matter that we knew close to nothing about contemporary dance. It only mattered that we opened our eyes and hearts to see and feel this show, and we left NST City all the richer for it.

Watch the trailer for Heist below, and catch ZoieLogic Dance Theatre’s next show @zoielogic or at www.zoielogic.co.uk.

Introducing our 2019/20 Arts Ambassadors: Kate Briggs-Price

Kate Briggs-Price in action

MA Global Media Management student Kate Briggs-Price talks about her time at university, her passion for film-making, her experience with University Societies and what she brings to the team as an Arts Ambassador!

Now in my fifth year studying at the University of Southampton, I’ve spent my time trying to discover what I enjoy and am passionate about. Both in my professional and personal life, I have pursued many avenues and have ultimately come to the conclusion; art has always been something that connects the people and the decisions.

Being busy and pushing myself to achieve everything I possibly can is a major driving force of my personality. I am very lucky that my Master’s degree involves practical film making, but also gives me the freedom to shoot and direct in my spare time. The arts have given me the chance to not only to push myself creatively but given me the discipline, scope and the technical skills to create both professionally and for pleasure.

My passion is definitely film-making, whether that be a documentary film or creative shorts. I have a range of projects on the go – a short film up for release at the end of January and a documentary that will be released both as a short and hopefully a feature-length film by the end of September 2020. Being a Photography and Videography Ambassador gives me a chance to develop and work on technical skills whilst also helping to give people access to art around Southampton. Whether that be through their phones or through media, we can help bridge the gap of intimidation that people often feel about attending events in the ‘art world’.

I’ve always focussed on multi-media storytelling. As Head of Marketing for Surge Radio –  live shows, podcasts, graphics and social media are all things I have been developing. The interconnections between all the different strands of media working together to create an experience is what interests me. Although not directly connected to media, I am also President of the Erasmus Student Network Southampton. This is the largest student organisation in Europe, taking care of all the visiting international students who come to the university – my interest in this came from my experience of my year abroad in Germany. This really developed my interest in people, which is at the heart of my love for art and really everything I have done at University.

As I have been involved in over 9 different societies during my time here, I have had the opportunity to learn and grow from a huge range of people. We often connected through the process of making art or through experiencing it together as a way to express something we had in common or something that was different about us. I want to make sure that students discover not only the art available to them in Southampton but also the people behind that art. The artists, often from around the world, have so much experience and perspectives that they are willing to share.