Allison Wright is the founder and producer of Kammervolk.
The Kammervolk collective is back again with a new multidisciplinary performance that fuses electronics, live music, visual art and an interactive space, alongside brand new compositions. Where did the idea come from, and how did you go about making it a possibility?
Over the past couple of years I’ve been lucky enough to work with some major cross disciplinary production companies (as a trumpet player) spanning everything from musical theatre, contemporary dance, opera and ballet, which has really inspired me in regards to collaborative performance. Last June’s Kammervolk performance Chamber People featured a collaborative piece with poet Jacob Sutherland and illustrator Minna Leunig and was received so well by audiences that since then I have been toying with the idea of curating an entire concert of collaborations. I am so lucky to be close friends with a plethora of creatively minded and highly skilled artists, so once I started sketching ideas for the show, names and details fell into place very organically. Everyone I spoke to was on board from the word ‘go’, and after a few very casual beer & pizza filled meetings we had sketched the idea for creating sensory based experience focusing on the dialogue between projected media and a string quartet.
You're bringing together genres of music by featuring a string quartet, a DJ and electronics in a space that alludes to Warhol's Factory in that lots of art is happening simultaneously. Why is the space a performance occurs in so important to music and art making, and how did you create the immersive experience that we see in Neon Parlour?
I love the reference to Warhol - it’s a fantastic association that a few people have made in response to reading about this show. I suppose we should have called it Kammervolk’s ‘Exploding Plastic Inevitable’ as a homage. Maybe next time!
One of the driving ideas behind Kammervolk is presenting different creative disciplines simultaneously without there being any kind of social-hierarchy in value between them.
For us, this means taking the opportunity to put highly skilled instrumentalists somewhere other than on a concert stage, whilst also introducing some of the cultures of performance practice into spaces that wouldn’t commonly accommodate it. It’s a balancing act, and the venue is a huge part of meeting that middle ground. Neon Parlour’s project space is essentially a large white box, which we saw as a perfectly malleable performance space. As soon as we stepped in the door the first time and looked around the maze of smaller artist studios and the project space, we knew the vibe was perfect for this show. They have a wonderful creative community of art makers of all disciplines and the fantastic team there has been on board with our idea from the beginning. They even answered emails about our request to make small holes in the walls for hooks at 3am! We’re particularly excited to welcome textiles designer Simone Berman into the Kammervolk Collective this year, who has worked on a variety of projects including designing and installing spaces for festival goers at Pitch Music and Arts Festival. Six or seven months ago when Mark Romei and I first started brainstorming ideas for this show we kept coming back to the idea of putting the audience inside a box or a world of our own creation and we’re really proud of the large variety of elements that have gone into achieving this dream!
Catch Allison's newest show, Kammervolk: Immersion on the 24th and 25th May at Neon Parlour in Thornbury at 8pm. Tickets are available here.