MW: Who are you?
P/J: A visual artist and an improvising musician.
MW: What are you doing?
P/J: About five years ago we decided to work together making Art/Music videos. The idea was that over time we would have put together a sizeable body of work.
MW: Where can we find you?
P/J: We live in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the UK.
MW: Why do you do what you do?
P/J: Shortly before we decided to work together we’d had many conversations about the art and the improvised music process – we realised that there were huge similarities (to us), in these ways of working, it was glaringly obvious really, and this is what motivated us to begin this collaboration.
MW: How does your work relate to the theme “The Great Outdoors”
P/J: When we made the video TUMBLING we were living in a very urban environment, (a part of Newcastle filled with student lets, social housing and rented flats) it’s a characterful place, but it’s run down and neglected. There were almost no gardens, no trees, no hedges and therefore very little wildlife. The buy-to-let landlord culture meant that all outside space had been rationalised for easy upkeep.
There is a very tatty and run down municipal park near where we lived, where Ponor would go to collect images as an antidote to our urban existence, the video reflects a yearning for open spaces filled with nature. But it’s not a romanticised vision, it contains industrial elements too, like pylons, factory chimneys and wind turbines which reflects the state of much of the British countryside.
M.W: Is there anything you can tell us about the featured piece “Tumbling”?
P/J: Sometimes people get ‘confused’ about what it is we’re presenting in our videos – Are they videos with music added, or are they music videos? The answer to that is they are neither, we have always wanted them to be seen as a whole thing, where the visuals or the music don’t have precedence over the other.
Part of our making process is that we invite other musicians to contribute via the web. we send them a backing track and a brief idea about the ‘theme’ and they are then invited to submit their improvised responses.
Tumbling features Susan Alcorn, an American pedal steel guitarist, who we were very lucky to work with, as she’s a busy, much sought after musician. The double bass player Phyll Scammell lives in France and this is another reason why assembling these videos is interesting to us – we get to make coherent, collective improvisations, with people from across the world.
MW: Is there anything else you want to add?
P/J: Being perceived as making a hybrid art form is a little problematic for us, as it implies a chimaera, something neither fish nor fowl; a kind of spider-pig. We don’t think of our work in this way, rather just see it as a totally obvious thing to be doing. The improvising nature of making images (albeit at a slower tempo) correlates perfectly with the improvised music.