Image credit: Aaron Chapman
WHO IS UMWELT COLLECTIVE?
UMWELT is a new performance art collective led by sisters Merinda Davies and Lowana Davies in collaboration with composer Tom Lyons. Through an interdisciplinary approach that spans contemporary dance, physical theatre and sound, UMWELT Collective seeks to understand our deepest connections with one another and the environment. UMWELT makes extensive use of collaboration to uncover authentic emotional language, and thus is the primary driving force behind our creative process.
WHAT DREW YOU TO THIS LIFESTYLE?
We have all arrived at this lifestyle from different angles, but are collectively drawn to the emotional release we create through moving and making sound with our bodies. Lowana studied a Bachelor of Digital Media, majoring in Studio Art at Queensland College of Art, and brings her skills and interests in contemporary art to the collaboration. Mindy studied a Bachelor of Laws/International relations at Griffith University and brings her knowledge of environmental and humanitarian issues to our work. Tom studied a Bachelor of International Relations at Bond University and uses his background in jazz piano to paint improvisational soundscapes. The challenge and fulfillment we get out of working together to make performances is an exciting process that motivates us to get into the studio as much as we can.
WHAT IS INTEGRAL TO YOUR WORK AS AN ARTIST?
We are interested in creating authentic works that foster artistic curiosity, openness and awareness. As we often explore unknown and uncomfortable territory in our work, resilience and self care are integral aspects of our process. Sometimes this means being patient and ensuring we take care of our mental health when exploring sensitive personal topics in our work. Sometimes this means diving deep into discomfort. Having the mental determination to experiment is central to making work that interests us as artists and emotionally engages our audience.
WHAT ROLE DO YOU FEEL ART HAS IN SOCIETY?
Art plays an integral role in society; to create is part of human nature. We feel that our role as artists is to delve deeply into our personal and relational experiences and memories. Through this exploration, we may create an immersive, abstract world and entice our audience therein. This allows us to make personal connections through the mirror neurons transmitted between artist and audience in the live performance space. Our current work, Re:membering, deals principally with these connections and how they lead our audience on a journey through catharsis and release.
WHAT IS THE FUTURE FOR UMWELT COLLECTIVE?
We have goals to continue performing our current work, Re:membering, progressing towards touring, to make new works, and continue growing our skills and capacity as a collective. The future depends on the evolution of our practice, and we will follow the conceptual path of our ideas wherever they may take us.