GHOST JAM – An Infinite Series.

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The Ghost Jam developed as an idea from an earlier collaborative performance called Beyond Orpheus, featuring Lyndon Davies, Scott Thurston, Penny Hallas, Rhys Trimble, Anthony Mellors and Steve Boyland. This, an amalgam of poetry, film, movement, music and voice improvisation took place in the dark attic space of Undegun in Wrexham. The space was sparsely lit and the audience moved through it from one performer to another. The position of each performer and the order of the performances were essentially prearranged.  Thematically the linking idea here was the myth of Orpheus, although the extent to which the working material of each participant reflected this theme varied greatly. Penny Hallas’ films used material derived from a number of years working in the caves at Craig y Cilau in the Brecon Beacons national park above Llangattock.

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Scott Thurston and Steve Boyland

 

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Film by Penny Hallas

 

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Anthony Mellors

The first true Ghost Jam took place in Crickhowell in 2015, and again featured poetry, movement, music, sound-manipulation and film. The idea of the ghost becomes its own theme now. Established texts were interspersed with improvised verbal/textual, sound, dance and musical interventions. Performance order was not prearranged, the idea being that the piece should be allowed to engender its own rhythm and structure as it developed.

The second and third Ghost Jams, in Chapter arts centre and Dempseys pub in Cardiff in 2016 explored these ideas further, abandoning all ideas of thematics and dedicated individual spaces, utilising found texts, cut-ups, pre-recorded and manipulated sound, drawing the audience into the performing spaces as participants in their own rights.

It is envisioned that some future Ghost Jams will work thematically again; for instance on October 27th the Ghost Jam will return to the theme of Orpheus/Eurydice for a performance in London under the auspices of Essex University and the University of East London (venue to be announced). Other Ghost Jams might return to freer structures, using material generated by previous events.

Ghost Jam 1

The first Ghost Jam experiment – October 2015 – brought together a group of artists, writers and performers, most of whom knew at least some of the others. The venue was the scout-hut in Crickhowell, a small town in Powys. There was a small audience.

The group comprised a visual artist, Penny Hallas, who had made two films for the occasion, eight poets/writers and a movement artist called Emma Lewis-Jones, from Nottingham, whose role was to respond in any way she saw fit to what was happening. Of the poets, two – Graham Hartill and Lyndon Davies – also played saxophones and percussion, and another – Rhys Trimble – also played the drums. The other poets/artists/performers were: Allen Fisher, Wanda O’Connor, Camilla Nelson, Steven Hitchins, Tilla Brading and John Goodby. Steve Groves did the sound.

 Two Films of the Event

 

The films linked here provide a rough record of the event. The camera ran out of power before the end, and so the final part of the film has been cobbled together from reversed sections, still images and a short sequence from Penny Hallas’ film. Technical problems, particularly regarding the synchronisation of sound and image, required a few cuts and fades to be inserted here and there.

It needs to be emphasised that this event should be seen as a first rough rehearsal for some theoretical future event and that all the participants will have their own ideas on where the weaknesses lie and what they would do to improve things (kick the barking dog out earlier might be one, though some enjoyed the slightly demonic aspect of this intervention). All the same, the feeling seems to be that there are things here which work and are worth preserving and perhaps developing.

Part 1

Part 2

 

Ghost Jam 2

The second Ghost Jam took place in Chapter Arts Centre early in 2016. The participants were Rhys Trimble, Wanda O’Connor, Steve Hitchins, Penny Hallas and Lyndon Davies.

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Rhys Trimble

Wanda O'Connor

Wanda O’Connor

Steven Hitchins

Steven Hitchins

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Ghost Jam 3

 

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The third Ghost Jam took place at Dempsey’s Bar in Cardiff on November 13th 2016.The contributors were Steve Hitchins, Lyndon Davies, Rhys Trimble, Nia Davies, Penny Hallas, Anthony Mellors, Tilla Brading, Chris Paul and assorted members of the audience. There were also three individual readings, by Phil Maillard, Julia Lewis and Josh Robinson. The sound track is by Steven Hitchins, visuals by Lyndon Davies.

 

 

Ghost Jam 4 and 5

 

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The Ghost Jam moved to London for two new episodes. On the afternoon of Friday 27th October it performed at a conference called Translating Eurydice, organised by the Centre for Myth Studies, University of Essex and the University of East London at the Stratford Campus: https://essexmyth.wordpress.com/conferences/translating-eurydice/

Then in the evening the Orphic/Eurydicean theme was developed further for an open audience at Centre 151, near Hoxton.

Here are some photographs. The films on the walls are by Penny Hallas.

We were joined by Ian Maclaughlin, free-form improvising musician, who brought a kind of euphonium. There were guest readings by Gavin Selerie and Frances Presley.

Huge thanks are due to Pierre of Centre 151 for his assistance.

 

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Camilla Nelson

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Anthony Mellors

 

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Scott Thurston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nia Davies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Julia Lewis

 

 

 

 

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Lyndon Davies at front. Penny Hallas with mirror strapped to back. Ian Maclaughlin near stage with euphonium.

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Julia Lewis reads

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Guest appearance by Gavin Selerie

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Guest appearance by Frances Presley

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Nia Davies

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Steven Hitchins

 

 

Sixth Ghost Jam

This formed the final event of the Black Mountain College celebration weekend in Crickhowell, May 26th – 27th. The participants were: Allen Fisher, Pierre Joris, Nicole Peyrafitte, Camilla Nelson, Anthony Mellors, Wanda O’Connor, Sarah Rhys, Penny Hallas and Lyndon Davies.

 

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Camilla Nelson and Nicole Peyrafitte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nicole Peyrafitte and Camilla Nelson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Camilla Nelson and Nicole Peyrafitte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

<iframe src=”https://player.vimeo.com/video/282461944″ width=”640″ height=”352″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/282461944″>Pierre Joris at Black Mountain Ghost Jam 2018.</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user28383475″>Lyndon Davies</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>

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Pierre Joris

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Anthony Mellors (Nicole Peyrafitte in foreground)

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Allen Fisher

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Graham Hartill

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Pierre Joris

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Gavin Selerie

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John Goodby

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Jeff Hilson

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Wanda O’Connor and Sarah Rhys

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Lyndon Davies

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Sarah Rhys

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Allen Fisher

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