FEATURED: Maps for Claude

Amy and Ellen are three years into their collaboration. Their project is part of Fabric Collective, whose aim is to explore performance identity and idiosyncratic performer behaviour, including how this emerges and changes throughout the collaboration. The duo formed because Amy (cellist) was looking for an active role in the compositional process and Ellen (composer) was looking to bring the performer’s unique identity into the compositional process.

As a cellist, Amy is particularly interested in performance mannerisms and how composers can pick up on these small idiosyncrasies to create gestures and phrases in new works. Ellen explores these ideas in her practice and looks to the performer’s relationship with their performing body, their instrument or their repertoire to do this. By joining their practices, the duo co-create completely non-hierarchal works, and build a completely symbiotic relationship through their musical explorations of performative identity.

They began working together in January 2020 by writing very small sketches for each other on a weekly basis. Both duo members write for the other, meaning that both compose and both perform. Through constructive dual-reflection, these sketches grew into ideas for works. Over time, they became more familiar with the other’s aesthetic expression and working methods.

Their work-in-progress is a new piece for solo cello and multimedia. The fruits of a long-term collaboration between Amy Jolly (cellist) and Ellen Sargen (composer), ‘Maps for Claude’ explores discomfort through performance both on stage and in everyday life. Over fifteen minutes, this piece weaves solo lines for live cello with pre-recorded sounds from inside the cello’s body and pre-recorded interviews that were captured over three years as the pair explored what ‘resistance’ meant to them as artists. Capturing the discomfort that emerged physically, psychologically and semantically from this process, this resulting piece aims to subvert ‘gaze’ and ‘beauty’ in performance and considers positions of vulnerability from behind the cello. Their video is a hybrid performance-conversation. It exercises their found need for verbalisation in their creative work, and aims to communicate their practice through hybrid art forms.

Upcoming dates:

Catch us on 30th March 2023 at Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival (https://wcaf.culturewarrington.org/whats-on/scratch-night/) or on 1 April at Cafe Oto as part of Eavesdropping London Forum!