Performance Butty Summer School involved young people collaborating with artists Stefhan Caddick, Teddy Hunter, Sam Hasler and Lara Ward in an intensive week of creative experimentation along the Mon and Brec canal.
Journeying from one end of the Mon and Brec to the other, starting in Brecon and ending at Pontymoile Basin, the floating, experimental art studio hosted the day-long workshops in performance, creative writing, sculpture and sound, responding to the unique environment of the canal. The boat itself was newly refurbished by the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canal Trust (MBACT) specially for the community to use.
Mooring for the day at various points along the canal, the tow-path became the site for impromptu performances as well as sculpture and creative writing workshops. Poet Sam Hasler helped the young people compose poems based on insults aimed at the canal (as a way of breaking through perceived images of the canal and to develop a kind of affectionate familiarity), imagining night-time canal inhabitants and writing a filmscene as heard or as an onomatopoeic script. With sound artist Teddy Hunter we made sound, scores, gathering field recordings using hydrophones strapped to the prow of the boat, and then experimenting with Ableton live. Lara Ward works in developing the workshops in collaboration with young people, improvisation and responses to place, and she led a session of canal-side yoga. Stefhan Caddick helped the young people create their own instruments using found objects.
“It’s interesting to think about the canal in a different way, with challenge. I found working with the artists inspirational – so often the canal is viewed for just leisure or tourism, I liked imagining that it’s got a whole other life that comes out at night or is below the surface.”
– Young person, Performance Butty, 2019
Huge thanks to Stefhan Caddick, Teddy Hunter, Sam Hasler and Lara Ward for devising the workshops, and to MBACT and Ben’s Boats for the generous use of their canal boats.
Images by Vaida Barzdaite.
Stefhan Caddick is a Wales-based artist who works in film, installation, sound and performance. His practice is often a collaborative engagement that sources its materials from institutions, communities and individuals. With an interest in process itself, Caddick sometimes invents ornate systems of production that are both melancholic and comedic. He was the recipient of a Major Creative Wales Award from the Art Council of Wales (2013), and has been commissioned for projects including: As a Raven Knows of Singing (2018) for Landmark Trust, Variable Message Sign (2018) for G39, Noctule (2016) for Green Man Festival and Peak and Specific Gravity (2016) for the International Symposium of Electronic Art. Caddick is currently a visiting lecturer in Creative Music Technologies at the University of Wales College.