Simon Whitehead: Noc-turne (from dusk into dark)


Noc-turne is a movement score and workshop that invites participants to turn towards the darkness together.

Sunday June 26 • 20.15 – dark

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Noc-turne is a movement score and workshop that invites participants to turn towards the darkness together. Emerging from Locator, an ongoing body of research that activates ecological ideas through movement practice, this process seeks to evoke the different sentient fold that the nighttime offers to sensing bodies, whilst engendering ways of being and becoming that are increasingly marginalised and distrusted. I am interested in how we inhabit and respond to the advent of nighttime, how do our bodies and senses currently adapt to the falling darkness? and, importantly, what kind of darkness is this? because in cities and increasingly in rural areas the darkness is a diminishing resource…it is disappearing. Therefore, how might an ecology of embodied practice be offered as ‘attunement’, something that allows us as humans to reconsider, practice and remember our perceptual and physiological enmeshment in the materiality of nighttime? & indeed does this immersion in the darkness allow us to experience ourselves and others as more than human?

We will assemble in a studio and make preparations together before dusk. We will then walk a prepared route through the Dartington estate as the darkness falls. Reaching woodland we will work in pairs to navigate and adapt together to the nighttime through a shared system of following, moving and sensory attunement to the nocturnal domain and to each other (this will happen in silence). Eventually, we will accompany each other in our pairs back to the place we began. Here, we will share experience, move together and slowly adapt back to a place of subdued light.

The dark adaptive mechanisms that are part of our nocturnal physiology have largely become neglected and lost in light of the diminishing number of places it is possible to experience the immanence of the dark. As we enter the nighttime, the visible body gradually disappears & we participate in a materiality of darkness. What rises to meet these conditions are the senses: we see differently, not only with the eyes. This score is part of a suite of scores developed during the Locator series of workshops in an ancient sessile oak woodland in Pembrokeshire over the last 28 years.


About Simon

Simon Whitehead is a movement artist and craniosacral therapist living in rural west Wales. Simon has hosted the Locator series for 28 years, an ongoing experimental workshop researching ecological ideas through movement practice, situated in Tycanol, an ancient sessile oak woodland in west Wales. He is a member of Maynard, an interdisciplinary artist collective that collaborate on a programme of engaged dance activity in the village of Abercych, working through on-going residencies, the village dance, workshops, local and international partnerships. As part of an AHRC-funded PhD(PaR) based at the University of Glasgow, he is currently exploring what posthuman ecology means with reference to an expanded choreography of touch and will make a book detailing this practice in 2022