Solo Projects: Entropic


Without a doubt the most ambitious and complex of Walt's solo A.C.E. projects. Again he collaborated with a number of different artists at each gig and venue. These included Simon Piasecki, Lol Coxhill, Graham Foster, Corey Mwamba and the contemporary dancer Sophia Lycouris. The subject of exploration was 'entropy'. Using a local map and 64 random points on a grid system, Walt collected found material from these places, placed them separately in 64 white boxes , labelled and then stacked them into a large cube. At each of 5 performances, the large cube was dismantled and the boxes distributed to individuals in the audience. The found material was then pulverized. The pulverised material was randomly returned to the boxes and the giant cube reassembled. Each separate gig involved a new collection of material. The performances integrated improvised music, contemporary dance and physical performance.

'Entropic' is based on the second Law Of Thermodynamics and explores the concept of entropy, 'time's arrow', through the medium of a cross-disciplinary piece of work.

'Entropic' dealt with our need to create mental constructs of systems and order, to try and make sense of an increasingly fragmented and chaotic world. In the project, Walt photographed the 64 random sites in question over an area of 120 square kilometres of south Derbyshire. The material that was collected from each site was a range of material, bagged, labelled, collated and placed in a box designated for each site. The material was whatever detritus was to be found in a metre square quadrat, thrown randomly at the site. Each box was 1 metre x 1 metre x 1 metre. Prior to the performance, the 64 boxes were stacked into a 12 square metre cube, in which performers and certain objects were compacted. A tricky and delicate procedure.

As the performance unfolded, there was a slow explosion of this tight, systemized cube. With some help from the audience, the order and classification was eroded.

The material was degraded, pulverized and randomized using hand and power tools, accompanied by sound improvisations. There followed a manic drive to reproduce the order, propelled by an urgency to create meaning and a framework of logic once more. Whether this was achieved is left open to question. This involved returning pulverized material back into the boxes and the rebuilding of the large cube. The artists then returned within the cube.

The performance closely integrated dance, sound, music and physicality with a powerful visual aesthetic.

The artists :- Walt Shaw - Percussion, electronics and physical performance. Curator and designer of the project.

Graham Foster - Performance artist and musician with bass, stick, electronics and physical performance.

Simon Piasecki - A very experienced performance artist, also as a solo artist and collaborator, including with Pina Bausch. He is now Professor and Head of Dance, Drama and Performance Studies at Hope University, Liverpool.

Sarah Stanton - A graduate dancer from Derby University and now teaches dance and performs around the East Midlands.

Niki Perry - A contemporary dancer.

This team were joined by 2 internationally renowned guests - Sophia Lycouris - Contemporary dancer, choreographer, visual artist and expert in the field of cross-disciplinary work & the late Lol Coxhill on soprano sax, a legendary figure of jazz in the UK, a master of improvisation.

Gigs took place at The Brewhouse Arts Centre, Burton-on-Trent, Keele University, Deda, Derby, the theatre at Brooksby Melton College, Melton Mowbray and Chester University.

Entropic DVD