Sylvia Schwenk and Nikola Dicke

birds and clouds from one life to another


‘See those cranes flying in great arcs!
The clouds beneath them have drawn alongside now,
Moving with them, as if leaving one life, They enter another.

That clouds and cranes should share their flight with
The lovely sky, which they cover so swiftly

You may ask: how long have you been together? A short while.
And how long before you will part? Soon.  Such is for lovers love’s brief stay’ – Bertolt Brecht, The Lovers


birds and clouds from one life to another by Sydney-based artist Sylvia Schwenk and German artist Nikola Dicke, centres around two works of participatory works of performance art which combine poetry, music, a revolutionary way of flying model planes (model planes are usually flown individually and competitively), origami crane workshops, origami-crane-flying, relationship building and food.

In the first work of performance art, a group of model plane pilots from various clubs in Germany and Holland fly their model planes together as a group, performing a work choreographed to music that echoes the flights and movements of birds.  The pilots practiced the work over many months within their own clubs and came together for the first time on the day of the performance, rehearsing the work in its totality on the morning and then presenting the performance ‘live’ in the afternoon.  The pilots wearing matching clothing of red, grey and white – the colours of a type of crane – also perform on the ground as equally as their planes perform in the sky.

In the second performance, people from the surrounding area who the artists invited to perform, together with some of the pilots and spectators present an origami-crane-flight-performance.  The work starts with origami crane workshops that see small origami crane folding, the creation of large origami crane sculptures from 9m2 paper squares by groups of people working together and culminates in an origami-crane-flight performance where 10 people ‘fly’ five large origami cranes over green fields in a choreographed work, all set to an original piece of music.

birds and clouds from one life to another, references Bertolt Brecht’s poem The Lovers in its title and in the nature of this major work of art – just as birds and clouds are only together for a short while in the poem, so too is the joining of the 300 or so people who attended or participated in this art event.  The work builds relations across people from different demographics: model plane pilots from Germany and Holland, origami performers, school children who perform in the work or help with the event, their school teachers, friends, family, and colleagues, as well as art audiences and spectators.
 
The project also creates a dynamic and strong body of art which re-presents the performances to new audiences.  These works include: a four channel video with music, a single channel video with music, a sculptural work of the five large origami cranes, columns of smaller origami cranes hung from the ceiling, and an interactive work where people are invited to sit down and make smaller origami cranes.

 

Click on the image to see the video of this work - Origami crane sculptures from 'birds and clouds', 2011 by Sylvia Schwenk and Nikola Dicke.           (Channel 1 of 3 channel video installation - 3 mins loop).

Photograph: birds and clouds from one life to another I, 2011

 

Click on one of these images to see the video of this work - Origami workshop from 'birds and clouds', 2011 by Sylvia Schwenk and Nikola Dicke.   (Channel 2 of 3 channel video installation - 3 mins loop).

Photographs: birds and clouds from one life to another II and III, 2011 

 

Click on the image to see the video of this work - Flight of the cranes from 'birds and clouds', 2011 by Sylvia Schwenk and Nikola Dicke.           (Channel 3 of 3 channel video installation - 3 mins loop).

Photograph: birds and clouds from one life to another IV, 2011 

 

 

 
 

 

 

Click here to see Part I of the video of this work.

This video shows the rehearsal of the performance.

Part I Model plane performance from 'birds and clouds', 2011- 2012 by             Sylvia Schwenk and Nikola Dicke. (8 mins 46' loop). 

Click here to see Part II of the video of this work.                           

This video shows the 'live' performance.

Part II Model plane performance from 'birds and clouds', 2011-2012 by              Sylvia Schwenk and Nikola Dicke. (20 mins 12' loop). 

 Photograph: birds and clouds from one life to another V, VI, VII and VIII, 2011 

For more information of this project, please see: www.birdsandclouds.com