Do you know?....Jeremy Mimnagh, collaborator in Adelheid's elsewhere

Choreographer Heidi Strauss' new work elsewhere is described as a world in which people are simultaneously together and alone, which is a fitting metaphor for the collaborative process at times. So much of it happens purely inside one's head, in the midst of many, the ideas may struggle to find effective language that relays the ideas to others.

But the collaborative process can also be joyful, synergistic, communal, instinctual. I am happy to begin a series of interviews that celebrates the collaborative process. By covering viewpoints of artists involved in dance creations, but not necessarily the primary choreographers, I hope to learn more about the magic of collaboration and to offer different perspectives on what it is to create dance.

photo by Jeremy Mimnagh

First up is Jeremy Mimnagh. Jeremy Mimnagh is a multi-talented visual, photographic, sonic and multi-media artist collaborating on Adelheid's upcoming premiere of elsewhere. He is skillful and witty and one of the hardest working people involved in dance.

How did you get involved in creating sound and film/multi-media for dance?

I worked as a DJ/promoter in Toronto in the 1990’s.  The parties we put on incorporated many different artists and art forms.  We set out to create environments for people to be together.  Through a friend I met a woman who asked if I could remix some music from one of my sets for a performance she was doing.  It was a great process.  I really enjoyed the openness, the  trust and the questions.

You have worked through a time of major shifts and development in sound composition and in the types of and ways multimedia/film gets integrated into live performance. Has that shaped your vision for your art form, personally and/or as a whole.

I have always experimented with projection within an audio environment.  As a teen I worked with CRT monitors.  I was a curious kid.  Sometimes playing scrambled pay tv signals and sometimes I would run audio feed through the video input.  I would later learn of Nam June Paik.  Things have changed over the years but I do tend to return to those curiosities often.  Or maybe I use them as a touch stone.  Yes I love technology, but the work has to speak not the technology that supports it.  It is easier said than done.

photo and media in photo by Jeremy Mimnagh 
Heidi Strauss in her own work still here.

As someone who has worked with (been on stage with!) my partner, I am always curious about how couples who collaborate navigate the artistic process and all its ups, downs, stresses, joys etc?  And with a child, is it different, has it changed?

I have a tremendous respect for artists who decide to make this work their life. It is a sacrifice but life experiences can’t be measured by money or beach holidays or the rest.  I talk to my son often about our ridiculous schedule and he is not phased by it.  It is just what we do as a family.  We support one another as best as we can.  It is far from perfect but we love the work we do.

You have so many skills and talents, from videography to photography, sound design, media work that is truly scenic design -- and probably a dozen others that I don't even know about -- Do you have a favourite? 

I love working with the still image.  There is something deeply intimate about people's attraction to a photograph. 

photo by Jeremy Mimnagh adelheid dance in Heidi Strauss' elsewhere

How do you collaborate in the rehearsal studio and in your own space? What is the difference in your process in those two situations?

I have worked in many different creative contexts.  Each creation takes on its own personality.  The idea needs to be the driving force no matter what environment it takes place within.  You always have to be sensitive and adapt accordingly and prepare to be wrong.

photo by Jeremy Mimnagh from Strauss' this time
dancers Justine Chambers and Brendan Wyatt

Can you speak a bit about your upcoming/ongoing collaboration with Laura Taler? I suspect there may be  a whole generation of dance artists who don't know much or anything about her work!

Laura and I have worked on a few projects together.  She is a really dynamic creator.  In 2005 I was on set shooting stills for a film she made called Forsaken.  In 2014 I worked on a video installation with Laura  and choreographer Yvonne Coutts/  This summer we worked on a project inspired by Heidi Strauss’ new work elsewhere.  This creation will end up being a 14 minute dance/installation piece as well as a series of micro pieces that  have been created to animate urban spaces across the country.  This was created through the support of people at Pattison OneStop and the Canada Council for the Arts.

adelheid (Toronto)
presented by DanceWorks
Harbourfront Centre Theatre
Thurs. Sept 25 thru Sat. Sept 27, 8pm
Choreographer: Heidi Strauss
Performers: Danielle Baskerville, Miriah Brennan, Luke Garwood, Molly Johnson and Brendan Wyatt
Music & Projection: Jeremy Mimnagh
Set & Costume: Teresa Przybylski
Lights: Rebecca Picherack
Outside Eye: Ginelle Chagnon


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