Following my hugely enjoyable and successful collaboration with Japanese dance artist Aya Kobayashi at the Tate Britain last October (see blog post), we were delighted that the Tate Families team asked us to be part of a new project at the Tate Modern this February. Inspired by Richard Tuttle’s ‘I Don’t Know‘ we created a piece which allowed families to respond to the huge waves of fabric across the Turbine Hall. Taking weaving as our inspiration we choreographed a large scale flocking performance which people of all ages and abilities could take part in. The participants were split into four groups and given sticks with coloured fabric, so that as the groups flocked through the hall they weaved patterns across the space.

The whole performance was controlled by children speaking directions into a giant tin can phone. The directions tell each group how to move, and each group has two dancers who show the families how to respond. The giant tin-can-phone was made by placing a contact microphone at the bottom of the can, which picks up the vibrations of people talking into it. This gives the same effect as the sound travelling along a string between two tin cans, but allows us to amplify the sound through speakers across the hall. I played a live piano improvisation inspired by bird songs which I developed into short piano motifs, played in response to the tin can phone directions.

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