Spark artists rock. Fluid Festival rocks for presenting this community-building creative experiment. Tuesday night at the Arrata Opera Centre was so refreshing. And lots of people were there to share it. Full house, extra seats brought in to accommodate the overflow. Don't tell the fire department.

The concept of the night is this: Ten emerging artists from the visual and movement arts drew straws and made five working pairs. For two weeks these pairs brainstormed and fused their ideas to present a work on stage. I love the concept for many reasons: the creative possibilities, the potential relationships and the inherent collaboration are among them.

I kept thinking about how much fun these young artists must have had creating the art. The audience certainly had fun watching.

Or, in one piece - participating - when the artist trained the camera on the audience and left the stage. Restlessness and a few giggles as we saw ourselves on a large screen mounted at the back of the stage. Then the performance begins. At first just twitches in the audience. But they grow into fidgets. It becomes clear that dancers have been planted in maybe five random clumps of two or three. The fidgets morph into mostly seated choreographed duets before they transform into a crescendo of movement. Really, really innovative piece by Sean MacAllister and Pamela Tzeng.

I'm not going into all of the five pieces in detail here. Go see yourself. I've already spoiled one piece for you. The other four pairings are the following: Kath Blair and Dallin Ursenbach create a ritualized office to the trance rhythm of a coffee pot and a printer. Kristofer Kelly and Jennifer DeWolf embody imagination in a sound garden produced through a jar. Taryn Javier and Kali Urquhart reveal truths about emotional baggage by using piles of stuff and clumps of movement. Jen Mahood and Hobophobes, Jessica McCarrel and Ben Charlton, create a haunting environment using video and sound to explore the essence of Halloween.

Suffice it to say. This event is worth attending - because it's good. And because we  support Calgary's young artists. They represent the cultural future of Calgary. Watching the performances and looking around me into the audience I felt that just like in the municipal election - you give people something fresh, creative and stimulating - and they will show up. If last night is any indication, I think culture has a really good future in this city.

Bravo Spark artists. Bravo Fluid Festival.

Comment