A String Telephone
A String Telephone is a short film by videographer, photographer and dancer Mathew Prichard. This is a collaborative work of three dancers and artists Mathew Prichard, Tim Volleman, and Edward Myhill. The film is a contemporary dance inspired by Mathew’s experiences and perception of the surrounding world. In an inspirational dance, the idea of communication is deconstructed and gathered back to form a different approach.
What is understanding another, responding to and developing together by creating a new form? Body movement, speaking through gaze, through the wind brushing one’s skin, through the touch pushes the boundaries and assists in creating a dialogue. Showing no facial expressions that could be translated into a feeling or a thought the dancers build mutual comprehension by exploring other means. Tension grows with the carefully written music score adding on a new sound as the scene develops.
Behind the Scenes
‘A String Telephone’ was shot on a bitter cold day in Mold, North Wales. The crisp breeze gave the landscape a sense of motion in harmony with the movement of the dancers. The bare skin of the dancers was exposed to the cold, which forced their muscles to tighten and contract in order to fight off the cold. I believe that this enhanced their portrayal of fragility and sensitivity. The two dancers, Ed Myhill and Tim Volleman, were given a structured improvisation, which allowed them freedom to move in a way that was organic to them, within the tasks I gave them.
When creating 'A String Telephone', our intentions were very clear, but the process of the creation was actually very free and open. I find it important when collaborating with others to have a clear vision, but to be accepting and generous. This allowed the film to be pulled in a slightly different direction to how I initially envisaged it to.
I shoot predominantly on analogue and this informs my style and approach when shooting. I pay a lot of attention to composition and the relationship between the subject and their surroundings. Once I capture the shot, I move on and capture the next. This is to avoid making the dancers repeat tasks, where they are at risk of falling into habits and losing the authenticity and organic beauty of improvised movement.
I have collaborated with both Ed and Tim on separate projects before, but this was the first time that we came together to create something collaboratively. It was an exciting project due to our shared knowledge of dance and desire to share our interest in music, photography and film. Our expanse of knowledge and shared understanding within art allows us to work together seamlessly.
AN EXPLORATION INTO THE VALUE OF AURAL COMMUNICATION THROUGH A CHILDHOOD GAME COMPRISING TWO CUPS ATTACHED BY A PIECE OF STRING. ‘A STRING TELEPHONE’ REPRESENTS THE FRAGILITY AND SENSITIVITY THAT THE TRANSFERENCE OF SOUND BETWEEN HUMAN BEINGS HAS. AWARE ABOUT LOSS OF SENSE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES, WE BECOME MORE THOUGHTFUL OF OUR COMMUNICATIVE ABILITY. OUR ENHANCED, FUNCTIONING SENSES HAVE INCREASED DEPENDENCE. THE SIGNIFICANCE AND THE POWER OF SIGHT AND TOUCH ARE HIGHLIGHTED. THE APPREHENSION AND DESIRE TO SEEK CLOSENESS AND PHYSICAL ASSURANCE, PULL FROM ONE ANOTHER. THE DELICACY OF NEW FORMS OF COMMUNICATION CREATES A TENTATIVE BUT FERVENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE.
“When I was younger my parents saw I gained joy from dancing as a profoundly deaf child. I couldn’t hear the music as the others around me could, but I could feel its rhythms as vibrations passed through my body. I moved with them. This is why I dance.”
In this film, two people develop a unique method of communicating. Investigating the effectiveness of touch and visual interaction. Through sight they are attentive to one another’s bodies, both spatially and positionally. Utilising the cups, they have restricted vocal contact with each other. They must not only hear each other, but actively listen and understand in order to work together.
Production & Dancer
Tim Volleman. Turning View
Music & Dancer