Jack Webb

I Am The obect, The Object Is Me

Tuesday, 14 June, 2011 | Comments | Make A Comment

Today thinking a lot about objects again, although I do often so it's not unusual. Playing around with objects and how to use them and how they actually become part of you, literally.

They become attached to the body, become your body. They are like extensions of yourself, of your spirit and of your thoughts.

I also remembered a fantastic book yesterday called 'Be Wise Be Other Wise' by Kevin Macneil. It is a book of pages that contain only single sentences that are thoughts of inspiration, motivation or looking at things in a different way. The one that I found yesterday was 'treat objects as people'. I couldn't believe it when I saw it because it just seemed so relevant and right for what i'm doing and also helped to make clear why objects as so compelling. Treat them as people. So I am. Spent a while hugging a chair and embracing it in ways you just wouldn't normally.

Searching for ways to make them part of me, as if my their part in my existence is essential.

the Importance of Objects

Sunday, 12 June, 2011 | Comments | Make A Comment

As a soloist, objects become hugely important. I would give as much value to them as I do to the movement.

Why are they important? Objects are important because they are the only things other than yourself and the audience, that you as a lone person can connect with, engage with and replace people with.

My use of objects is mostly random, it's irrelevant what they are and I like that because their meaning starts to emerge depending on how you place them next to each other and how you use them.

Objects are the soloist's friends.


Tuesday, 7 June, 2011 | Comments | Make A Comment

Today's thoughts in no particular order or sense.

The work is part choreographed and part improvised.

There are 'stations' that act like improvisational structures and rules. They are always the same. In this case the stations are the plastic bag and the green floor. The green floor defines the space and the plastic bag (big) is an object that is manipulated and used to create imagery beyond what the body is capable of. There are also movement stations.

They appear to be random and they are. Not concerned so much with the meaning of of objects but more with how they can guide me through the piece and how I can utilise them and create imagery with them.

Colours and environment play a big part in what is inspiring me. Even more so than the movement. It seems that colours and environment come before any movement and them being there allow for movement to come and be defined.

There is no story. I am trying to act unconsciously with authentic responses and movement. Movement vocabulary is growing and developing every day. Even if I don't set out to choreograph it seems that it starts to choreograph itself. Repetition is key.

Overall the piece seems to be dealing with the human being , their (my) reactions to on stage situations and movement on a very basic almost amoeba like level.

It is becoming more of a 'live art' aesthetic more than a dance aesthetic. Reality is important.

It is gestural and trys to find ways to distort the human boday and go beyond.


Tuesday, 7 June, 2011 | Comments | Make A Comment

New creation= thinking more about shapes, colours and space rather than movements. Colours that emerged today are Lime green, mustard yellow, white, navy and red.

Paper on the floor. I am not going to have ablack floor in this performance. i have made that decision. It will be lime green and my shorts will be mustard yellow.

These discoveries feel like what i call 'stations'. They are things on stage that help me to get to new places. Those colours, those places and so on, the same things always happen with those but in between the movement is is constantly eveloping and growing and new set. Yes ok, there are movement that are always coming back and being repeated but there are movements that are coming through that would never be there if I set and 'choreographed' it.

A breakthrough.

Real Dance/Fake Dance

Sunday, 5 June, 2011 | Comments | Make A Comment

Some thoughts on creative process, the past and the future. No structure, no plan, just vomitting on to the screen. Ready, steady, go!

Past works have always had strong interest in props and set design, the use of objects and how to utilise such things. Now at the stage where it is a question of how to present such things that are not within a defined dance aesthetic. Live Art/performance art makes much more sense, it's real and real time is much more effective. Afterall, if you're making dance about real things and human beings then how can it possibly be presented in any other way. Contrived elements such as lighting and sound must be handled carefully and construced in a way that does not divert attention or become fake.

Altered states of consciousness and mental transportations are all necessary in this work. There will be 'stations' that direct where i go in space and what I on those spots but in between those moments it will be fairly open.

Can't get the words real and fake out of my head. Nothing at the moment seems real enough. It probably won't be until i perform it on the stage so be more patient with yourself.

Sound is absolutely integral to getting it right. has to be the right sound. The wrong sound will steal the authenticity of the work and the movement. Must think about this carefully and communicate with the right people. Silence is an option. 25 minutes may be too long with only silence for company. Body is limited. There's only so much you can do physically. Even the best dancers are limited. Must keep exploring.

Manipulation of the clothes are all about extensoions of the human being and mental state. comfort, shelter and many things are within the clothes. Tear, pull, cover the face, break the body and fold eveything in on it's self. Clothes are important, especialy for section 2.

Cant stop thinking about how lights are getting in the way. i'm getting to the point now where lights feel like there are eating up the space, saying things I don't want to say and making it all a little to showy for my liking. May use only workers, may use nothing. Need to go beyong myself with this work, no where to hide, no pretending. lights are hiding and pretending. the naked stage. The greatest works i've seen in the past few years have all let the physical do the speaking and the rest is forgotten about. Even theatre stages are saying too much already, saying things that should not be said. unconventional spaces are welcome.

Live art, performance art, dance, experimental dance. labelling it is the biggest mistake. authenticity has no labels, it just is what it is and wether it is dance or live art or whatever is irrelevant.

transportation, transportation of the self, transporting the audience, transport, it's all about completely losing it but knowing exactly what is going on also.


Sunday, 5 June, 2011 | Comments | Make A Comment

Dearest Pussyface,

quite frankly, no, I don't ever write anything interesting, ESPECIALLY when I'm actually doing something. Funnily enough, dancing involves actually dancing and not sitting in front of my computer.

I apologise that I didn't see your comment in time to respond before comments on that entry were closed, so I dedicate this entry to you. Oh, and while we're talking of you, please, if you ever feel the need to comment on an entry that I've written then please do leave your name and have the balls to have some sort of identity. You may think that I don't write anything interesting, which may be the case, but at least boring entries are all under my name.

I'd be interested in what the rules of blogging are. Surely seeing as I am a dancer which involves actually dancing, I am quite happy to write only when it comes to dancing that I have been involved in. For me, there's more value in living in the real dance world rather than the virtual.

And I was thinking, if you're so bored with what I'm writing then why don't you ask Article19 if you could do a blog? Surely you must have some thrilling things to say?

Until you have the courage to give yourself a real name or actually do your own blog, then may I please ask you f**k off and stop clogging up cyber space with your negative comments.

Double The Fun

Tuesday, 19 April, 2011 | Comment | Make A Comment

Below is some press coverage of my recent improvisation in performance series We're Not Here, A Transportation

An admission of complicity
I regard Tom Pritchard and Jack Webb as friends - not in the Facebook sense, but as people with whom I have spent hours discussing the meaning of dance. While we disagree on particulars, such as the role of the audience in performance, or the purpose of dance within society, I have a great deal of affection and respect for both of them.

A Summary of the double bill
Jack was up first, improvising to the Fuck Buttons and contorting himself. This piece is a step away from the closely choreographed work he presented at New Territories, reflecting his time with the European Live Art Theatre makers Via Negativa, heading into less structured movement. Tom finished with a solo made on him by Tommy Klein, out of Smallpetiteklein. Both pieces are atypical of the artists, and while Jack's is a work in progress - he is touting these improvisations around Scotland, exploring possibilities - Tom performed something more formal than his usual collaborations.

A critical quandary
It would be nice for Tom and Jack to be told by their mate how great they are. However, supportive criticism - call it advocacy - only goes so far. Telling the truth, as I see it, is more important: both for anyone reading this who might want to know whether they ought to go see the boys kicking it, and for the performers themselves. A critique, however much they may deny it, is a crucial aid to artistic growth. Only I worry how it is going to be, the next time we do coffee.
This is a more common problem than you might imagine.

Respect is due
Both artists are out of their comfort zone: seeing Tom in a more predetermined piece sets him up nicely before he moves into the next stage of his experimentations with improvisation and collaboration: Man Falling has a clear narrative, and message about the way art can organise the messiness of real life into something aesthetically pleasing. And Jack's improvisation is a fascinating insight into his process, especially for obsessive dance fans.

A revelation of ability
It is no surprise to discover that Jack is pushing his body beyond the basics of dance technique. I recently compared his work to ballet - not facetiously, but to suggest that he works within a defined dance aesthetic. This improvisation goes beyond that - I felt like it was a direct riposte to my review. Jack structures this as Live Art: repetition is crucial, testing a particular set of moves, examining how they lead to further movement ; the visual analogy is with abstract art, with no heavy meaning explicitly attached to the movements, forcing the audience to work; beginning, middle and end are not clearly signposted.
It is surprising to see Tom revealing a more immediate dramatic flair to his dance: Klein's choreography brings out his intricate muscle control, capturing the sense of a body falling through space, even as he remains rooted to the ground. The inspiration, photographs of men jumping from the burning twin towers, is removed from an iconic image to something real, and horrific.

A Caveat
Both works were greeted with whoops and applause. That is fine for Jack - he was showing what he could do. But for Tom's piece, a more contemplative response would be appropriate. Man Falling invites serious questions about how art can transcend reality, and replace a tragic death with beautiful poise and meaning: Tom shouts about the falsehood behind the photographs of apparently elegant suicides. These were not moments of Zen acceptance, as the still implied, but the climax of a brutal choice: death by fire and smoke, or splatting on the sidewalk. Did this message get across, or were we too impressed by Tom's dancing?

A Conclusion
These boys are both rising stars. It isn't so much their personal charisma, but their technical skill and theatrical presence that impresses. Tom is clearly expressive through his entire body, and the sense of challenge that Jack brings to even recognisable sequences of movement takes his improvisation beyond intellectual exercise. They deserve larger audiences. Their ability to engage an audience is the foundation of their practice. The double bill was a glimpse at two artists pushing themselves towards something greater.

by Gareth K Vile for www.theskinny.co.uk


Entering New Territories

Friday, 11 February, 2011 | Comments | Make A Comment

I am facing what I am considering to be the most important performance and programming of my work in my career so far.

In 3 weeks time I will be performing one of my solos as part of New Territories, International Festival of Live Art in Glasgow. New territories is an incredibly important festival on the international dance and art scene and I must say that to have been invited to perform my work there is the biggest compliment I have ever received.

The work that I'm performing is the same work that I did at Resolution! just a few weeks ago. I've done it a few times now so I'm not so worried about it to be honest. I believe in it completely and I'm not afraid of how it will be received as I believe that New Territories is on a much greater level of understanding and quality and their appreciation for my work will be much higher than Resolution! was. I'm not saying that it wasn't appreciated or understood, I don't care, quite frankly, but if you take a look at the programme for New Territories then you'll see what I mean.

That's not to say that I'm not grateful for having been selected for Resolution! I am, very much so, I am not a diva in any sense, it's just that sometimes when I do these platforms at my own expense, I find myself asking what is it a platform to and what happens as a result of it? I'm sure most people who have done such platform ask themselves the same question.

So New Territories. Let me tell you a little bit about it. This year's programme includes some great people and I'm lucky enough to be sharing a bill with Iona Kewney who I've mentioned many times before. Iona danced with Wim Wandekeybus and Les Ballet c de la b amongst many others so for me that is also a huge compliment to be programmed along side her.

This year's programme also includes performances and winter schools by, in no particular order, Anna Krystek, David Dorfman (this was supposed to be David Zambrano but he wasn't issued a visa into this country!), Louise Lecavalier, Liquid Loft, O Vertigo, Capgnie Dider Theron, Spalding Gray: Stories Left To Tell, Sol Pico, Black Market International, Via Negativa, David Fernandez and loads more.

Next week I'm doing a winter school with David Dorfman which should have been David Zambrano but I'm sure it will be just as fantastic.

Check out the fantastic brochure here - http://www.newmoves.co.uk/magazine-and-flip-book or look at their website here - www.newmoves.co.uk

Olympian Manliness on video

Thursday, 27 January, 2011 | Comments | Make A Comment

Olympian manliness

Thursday, 20 January, 2011 | Comments | Make A Comment

Two days ago I performed one of my solos as part of Resolution! at the Place, London.

Check out the review below. The blog title is something that one of the reviewers said.


I've felt it for a long time but performing is such a special thing to do and such a privilege. A privilege because it is hard to come by and and also because it may become even harder to come by in the next years but also and more importantly because it is the one moment when I feel truly alive and everything makes absolute sense, nothing else matters in those moments, you're giving something to someone in ways that are just not acceptable in everyday life, things that break social rules but at the same time is a reflection of life and social rules.

One of my favourite parts is the warming up and the preparing backstage. It is such a special feeling, the silence, the rituals, finding the calm and strength of the mind and body, the food I choose to eat and when I eat it and many other little things.

It is truly beautiful and valuable and I want to have it for as long as possible and for others to have it for as long as possible too.

The more I do as a dancer and choreographer the more I realise and think about how tough I have to be. There is no need to be afraid of it. It many ways it is a business, in fact it is a business before the art of it and the actual doing, it is impossible to avoid that. You cannot carry yourself, that's why festivals, producers, arts councils, dance agencies and the press are very important. And so what does that mean?

I've been thinking a lot about how what we do can only exist as a result of other people's decisions and powers. But I've also been thinking about how we should not lose our power. We shouldn't be afraid to say when something is not right, when something is unfair, unacceptable or just an insult.

Too many people are afraid to speak out and be honest about things out of fear of losing potential opportunities but isn't that where many of the problems start? If you don't stand up for something then nothing can move forward. Think of all of those women who protested to get the vote because they were not trusted to have it, it didn't happen over night and it wasn't easy but they claimed their power, they stood up for the development of their right and cause and they got it in the end.

So why are we not doing the same?

There is too much eating of humble pie in this country. We need to stand up to save our art form and get things going and keep it going but we also need to demand respect for what we do and what is required in order to do it.

There are people who believe that art is not important, people like our government, but those are the people who forget that art is all around us, it is in everything we see and use; the architecture, furniture design, logos, TV adverts, car design, films, music, clothes and even the topping of a cake. It is everywhere and it IS important. Imagine a world without all of that design and imagination, it would be dull and lifeless.

Art is important because it feeds people, it makes people think differently and moves them to do things they might not do normally. It enriches and changes life's and carries people through hardship and pain as well as being an educational and motivational tool and dance is VERY much a part of that.

So imagine there being no dance. If we don't find a voice soon then we might not need to use our imagination. It's getting closer.