The co-operation of the performers created a work that did justice to the street styles but at the same time it was a well balanced performance with clear artistic aims. And it was magnificent.
–Annikki Alku, Demokraatti, 08/2013 Finland
s.l.o.a.p – is a process based performance model, that intercepts public spaces, or ‘non-spaces’, to reconfigure them as inspiring and creative places, in collaboration with local street-style artists.
s.l.o.a.p is an architectural term referring to: useless pieces of ground, under a freeway, or a disused empty block. Utilizing the gestures and the language of street-styles to thread and weave meaning and form, s.l.o.a.p critiques the co-opting of public space as an exclusively commercially owned and operated zone.
Branch Nebula developed this approach to touring for URB Festival, Helsinki in 2013, in order to extend their investigation into urban cultural forms like street-styles, and an ongoing interest in performance that is arresting and provocative within the public sphere.
Branch Nebula has chosen to collaborate with street style artists who habitually engage with public space, with a process that uncovers a site to discover its challenges, and to reclaim it as a site for artistic expression and ownership.
Skaters, BMXers, trickers, Parkourists and street dancers scour the walls, stairs, rails and concrete, their bodies acting as conduits for the vibrations of the city.
Fourty audience members sign up to volunteer to be present in the show, without rehearsal. Audience volunteers are given a series of diagrams to reconfigure themselves into a number of shapes, in their role as ‘soft architecture’. The performance is choreographed around various audience blocks to increase proximity and to investigate the audience as a mass body in relation to the architecture of the space.
Branch Nebula’s process based model appeals to many international presenters as a way of including local artists, particularly young street artists who are not traditionally included in arts festivals. They bring a new audience to the festival and also introduce arts audiences to diverse cultural forms.
© Liina Kenraali
Lee Wilson & Mirabelle Wouters
Harley Stumm for Intimate Spectacle
Helsinki Season credits
Nikalai Alin (skateboard), Marika Peura (dance), Panu Petteri (skateboard), Roland Chlouk (skateboard), Aleksi Ritsila (BMX), Jukka Tarvainen (parkour/dance)
Pauli Riikonen & Joonas Pehrsson
Hong Kong Season credits
Soames Lee (parkour), Gon Lo (parkour), Alkon Wong (tricking), Steve Ng (tricking), Hugh Cho (dance), Jennifer Mok (dance), Lai Tak Wai (dance), Michael Tarrant (trial motorbike)
Choi Sai Ho
West Kowloon Cultural District Authority