10 May 2012
Free as a bird to write what he likes Richard Downes chooses to review Hang Ups a film about fellow aerialists Tina Carter and writer Sophie Partridge
Over the last two days I have watched two short films sourced from my involvement with Disability Arts Online. The first, My Song, written by Charlie Swinbourne has been reviewed already. The second, Hang Ups made by Curious FIlms, had been posted onto the DAO Facebook page.
Hang Ups is both a complete film in its own right and a work in progress that should be developed and turned into a performance piece. It is an aeriel piece starring Tina Carter and writer Sophie Partridge. Sophie is a small woman with a brittle bone condition. She gives the latin name in the film. Should she be in the air at all? Of course she should. Isn't that the point? Don't we all want to fly, challenge our fears and perceptions?
Certainly Sophie wants to be in the air. Tina feels secure in getting her there. Knowing the risks, her art form, understanding the possibility of collaboration and the opportunities that arise form a simple conversation. For me art is and will be an opportunity to express. Tina and Sophie accept this potential and work within and toward it.
For me there are two particular treats within the film. Sophie's words and Anton French's music which hangs on the threads of circus, vaudeville, ragtime and a feel for mainland Europe. Influences abound here.
Tina has positioned herself in a supporting role in giving Sophie an opportunity. Sophie does not have and does not achieve through aerialism, Tina's freedom of movement. But she has her words, which place her dead centre of the piece regardless of the height she hangs from.
It seems imperative - as a way of equalising Sophie's strong voice - that Tina free herself up to move more, maybe in an enactment of the texts available. This move would give the duet pieces a greater sense of partnership. Space would become better filled; time would pick up new energies and movements would become more fluid. Against this surely it would not be beyond someone's imagination to design the sling that hoists Sophie into the air to allow more of her to be seen.
The film ends and is followed with a googledocs survey that I would encourage all viewers to fill out. It is a simple form and is likely to support the development of Tina's PhD, but also potentially able to be used to acquire further funding for the development of this exciting project. Make it happen!