Sport and Art outside the Cultural Olympiad

Over the last month I went to see two events in Liverpool that were inspired by the 2012  year being host for the Olympic and Paralympic events. These were arts events generated by local, Liverpool artist groups and it was right and proper that they were not branded Cultural Olympiad. Despite that they were both excellent, of high quality and would have ticked all the boxes for inclusion, there was something about their context, artistic intent and raw response to the values of sport through art, that suggested they were best left unbranded. Part of me felt sad about that too – not all work is right to place under the spotlight of the mega national arts brand of the moment. In this case it was not  the work-nature,  the events were totally appropriate, it was  the context. I did wish though that both these events received more profile for their inspiration and contribution to the North West response to London 2012.

The events were

Music performance and themed sports night by Kazimier: a regular monthly Krunk night with a sports twist which saw two members of the crew do a stunning music set,  drumming and playing instruments whilst running at the same time. It was a marathon of body, mind and musicality. As one of the 500 plus audience standing in front of this feat of the imagination, I was inspired to jog like they did all the way through the set. Like them, I made it. Complementing the live performance was a film, featuring the wider Kazimier crew running their way around iconic sites in Liverpool. A great one for the tourism industry. Featuring special effects which did very strange and creative things to the act of running, I would say De Coubertin would have been totally  inspired by their vision of the games as a marriage between art and sport.

If Only sport and art night by Liverpool Improvisation Collective. A series of short  movement based pieces by artists, ballroom champions, boxers, Thai chi practitioners and contemporary dancers illuminated the parallels and differences between art and sport, focussing on the body and movement as the shared space and site for creativity and expression. This was one of the most beautifully curated nights of performance I have ever seen.  Solos, duos, groups and mass participation all roles into one and shedding light on the diversity and variety of movement based art in sporting and artistic practices, the evening asked: is it sport or is it art? This comes as no surprise as part of the duo creating the evening was Mary Prestige – a leader in the new dance movement in this country, ex Olympian herself and resident in Liverpool always pushing the boundaries of the medium of dance and the potentials of the body.

~ by Debbi Lander on April 12, 2012.

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