Night & Refuge

Online premiere hosted by Cement Fields,
Noon, Friday 10 July

A new film-poem created during a live night-time collaboration by five poets will be premiered on Friday 10 July. Night & Refuge creatively documents the process of writing together online during lockdown, and ends with a reading of the new poem.

The project was created by Caroline Bergvall who invited poets Leo Boix, Vahni Capildeo, Will Harris and Nisha Ramayaa to collaborate.

The writing process took place in May, when the writing and conversations between the poets were shared live with an online audience through a Digital Writing Desk created by artist Mays Albeik.

The poets explored themes of the night and of seeking refuge. Their collaborative process was inspired by the tradition of Renga – an ancient Japanese form of collective writing with strict rules.

One audience member said:
“It was the totality of the various threads of writing, talk about writing, the stories, locations, medium and context that fascinated and moved me. I did take pleasure in watching the poets edit their text, rooting for my preference and learning from their choices.”

The conversations and the developing lines of the poem were recorded by the project’s sound artist Jamie Hamilton, and recomposed into a film-poem by Andrew Delaney.

The premiere will be hosted by Cement Fields, a commissioning organisation which grew out of the Whitstable Biennale.

Caroline Bergvall said:
“I see this Night & Refuge as a meditative, and deeply human work rooted in the night and in our need to find a way through the darkness that enfolds us. It is intensely involving, reviving the ancient idea of performance as public gathering while exploring how poetry, music and memory all help us carry our truths within and without us.

“My motivation as a poet and interdisciplinary artist is to create live works that energize a personal engagement with one’s surroundings, with one’s time, and with others: spaces of respite and of shared critical spirit. My material is often rooted in languages, spoken, written, remembered, reclaimed.

“With Night & Refuge, my focus was to initiate a live writing event between a few UK based poets, which was open to the public. Due to Covid-19 this took place online. Night & Refuge opens the final stages of my ongoing cycle of performative works Sonic Atlas, which has focused on encounters with poets and language-activists who work with different minorised languages in the UK and EU, as well as with thinkers and practitioners from various fields.”

The Night & Refuge project was made possible with funding from Arts Council England and support from Cement Fields and Counterpoints Arts.

The recording of the full, unedited writing event, which took place in May as a 3-hour long Zoom meeting, is available online [add link].

The sound-poem will be premiered on the Cement Fields website  at noon on Friday 10 July.

Published by Gillian Taylor PR

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