Spore (2013)

Sound and space project conceived and designed by Jeff Higley working with composer Michael Parsons and 4 dancers, 3 musicians, a vocalist and an engineer. The piece was developed through his experience of working many times in Colourscape ( as part of HyperYak. Not only performing within the structure but watching it inflate, move, rise and fall provided the initial stimulus with the idea of blown air being central to the piece. It evolves within the Colourscape structure which is itself transient, formed and sustained by blown air. There were two related elements that formed the piece. The first was a harmonic sound structure placed in the central silver space made from old organ pipes. The second element is a group of masked and costumed dancers who represented the spores given off by this structure. As the piece began they formed a group around this structure in the central silver space and driven by the sound moved throughout Colourscape. Moving like spores, carried through the space as if by the air that powered the structures different chambers, they drifted, exploring the harmonics of the organ pipe machine and overtone flutes (including small organ pipes) played by the musicians and their physical responses to the visual resonances of the colour chambers..




The reflective and iridescent fabric of their costumes created a strong visual response to the different colour chambers. They moved, coalesced and split apart, forming and reforming as they moved through the space. When the dancers encounter each other and members of the public they will interact in various improvised ways. In addition the reflective costumes with show spectators fragmented views of themselves and the colour environment. As well as responding to colour the kinetic costumes also reflected the nature of a bamboo grove sometimes still, sometimes bending, moving-dancing with the wind. They echo the continuous, subtle movements of the structure they are within which constantly ripples and moves, responding to the air pressure sustaining its form.




In August 2011 Jeff was performing in Colourscape in Turku, Finland as part of the European city of Culture Festival. He performed A Symphony of Gongs with Michael Ormiston, Lawrence Casserly, Ansuman Biswas and various finnish gong players. He also performed as part of the electro-acoustic group HyperYak. The wine bottle in the picture is actually full of water as it was blisteringly hot inside the structure!

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Jeff performing with Barbara Keal at her exhibition at Susanne Wolf's shop in Lewes. Barbara's hand felted and sewn headpieces have been making an extraordinary impact in the fashion and design world but here she is celebrating her roots in performance. Look out for public performances in the near future. To see more of Barbara's work

Jeff has been fascinated by the relationship between sound, place and performance for many years and working with musicians and dancers, has created a number of site specific performances for both urban and rural settings. Most recently  Hidden Blossoms, Seven Dials Festival 2002, Suddenly Created World, Covent Garden Flower Festival 2001, Oolitic Fragments Portland Sculpture Trust 2000

Suddenly Created World, 
Covent Garden Flower Festival 2001


Oolitic Fragments

Tout Quarry, Portland
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The images depict dancer Kate Pyper creating the  stone blossom for the performance in Tout Quarry. The development of the piece was facilitated by the Portland Sculpture Trust.

The piece explored the nature of the limestone quarry both through the stone iself and the lives of the quarrymen.  Music based on the work chants used by the quarrymen provided a ground against which rock climbing, cairn building and singing sought to evoke a vanished world. 
Whereas modern quarry techniques leave behind an empty wasteland, the careful hand  building of walls and walkways that were an essential part of pre-mechanised work created an intricate  maze of  rich environments.

The piece was later performed at Stag Place in Victoria and  at Three-Mill Island as part of the Land Art and Land Use Conference in 2000. It was funded by London Arts as part of