About Simon Fildes
I am an international award-winning film-maker, artist, curator and teacher who has spent most of my working life as a freelance in the arts, music and media sectors, editing and producing for broadcast television, arts and corporate sectors while developing an internationally acknowledged personal practice in creative media arts and dance on screen.
After completing a Biology degree, I spent time working in the music industry before going on to gain a media arts post-graduate diploma at DJCAD, Dundee University. More recently I gained an MSc degree with distinction in Sustainable Development through the University of the Highlands and Islands. This breadth of Science, Arts and Social Science education gives me a uniquely interdisciplinary perspective.
I am a respected editor and director of documentaries, promos and short films; as well as an interactive installation artist. This has taken me from Rio de Janeiro to Addis Ababa, Hong Kong to Sydney; lecturing, leading workshops and chairing debates from Beijing to Buenos Aires, Den Haag to Salt Lake City. I have received a range of arts funding in Scotland and Internationally, and have exhibited at festivals, galleries and site specific locations around the world; undertaking a range of residency commissions including Scotland’s Year of the Artist programme in 2000.
In 2006 I was short-listed for the prestigious £30,000 Creative Scotland Award. My work uses improvisational performative approaches to explore ideas; drawing inspiration from and defined by the rhythms of movement; tracing and manipulating hidden (incidental) and created (intentional) choreography. There is always a kinaesthetic response to what I do whether that involves needing to move to interact with works or having an internal reaction to them. Through this approach I aim is to transform the seemingly ordinary into a moment of beauty.
I have previously worked, exhibited and travelled in China, Hong Kong and Macau. I found the experiences so inspiring and rewarding that I always have a desire to return and develop new collaborations with artists and producers.
Collaboration Ideas with China
With, a 360 VR screen dance taking ideas of ‘relativity’ and ‘withness’ expressed through the kinaesthetic experience of artist’s moving image, choreography and music. The work aims to translate the visual and visceral atmospheres of the artist Edward Hopper and film director Wong Kar Wai (In the mood for Love) in to an original immersive 360 choreographic experience.
Both these artists explore human relationships through presence, distance, closeness, separation, loneliness and empathy between people. Everything is loaded with unspoken potential, of silence, estrangement and entanglement. In this time of isolation the work explores what it means to be ‘with’ someone across distance. This new work of around 15 minutes in total length explores the evolving duet relationships of 2 pairs of dancers in different locations. Conceptually the work will attempt to examine and marry two equally intriguing but diverse theoretical propositions – relativity and “withness” – using the interwoven languages of choreography and the moving image.
“Withness” has been defined as: a form of reflective interaction that involves coming into living contact with an other’s living being, with their utterances, with their bodily expressions, with their words, their works (Shotter 2008). And that in practice: It is a knowing to do with one’s participation within a situation, with one’s ‘place’ within it, and with how one might ‘go on’ playing one’s part within it – a knowing in which one is as much affected by one’s surroundings perhaps even more than one affects them (2011).
In the general theory of relativity all of reality is described in terms of relationships between objects and between different areas of space. Even something as basic as inertia can be thought of as connected to the gravitational field of every other particle in the universe. Consider an idea if the universe were entirely empty except for two astronauts? One of them is spinning and the other is stationary. From either astronaut’s perspective, the other is the one spinning. Without any external reference, there is no way to say which one is correct, and no reason why one should feel an effect different from what the other experiences.
By contrast, recent research in Neuroscience reveal that stimuli experienced by one human being appear to echo and resonate in another even over distance through a kind of shared quantum consciousness. A possibility is emerging that we can connect to others or be ‘with’ them in more ways than through physical presence and sensory experience. We may actually experience things being felt by another through a kind of empathetic resonance. The impetus to create this new 360 VR screen dance arose out of an interest in duets and how that is presented to and interpreted by audiences. Can the duet be also between the viewer and dancer. Along with locations, dynamics, surprise and perspectives the aim is to create a new work that can only exist as a VR experience.
Using this technology these duets can arise out of situations in staged spaces, viewed from multiple perspectives and experienced in a variety of virtual spaces, traversing various states and relating to other through physical and empathetic contact. With this new VR screen dance production I am interested in exploring the possibilities of the filmic ‘close-up’ and multiple ‘points of view’ to emphasise and enhance gesture and expression in the dance, giving an emotional resonance to proximity and closeness, togetherness and separation in the relationship between the performers. Of particular interest is the nature of how performances are modulated for this medium and how narratives may emerge in the relationship between performers and viewers.
I am interested in choreographic or technical partners that help develop the project as a long distance collaboration. The production of the work may evolve through taking many different approaches using locations, set design and choreographing duets to give an audience an immersive sense of the work.