Studies For Maynard, Simon Whitehead, with Deuair, July 2015

Simon Whitehead and Tanya Syed, ‘Airing’ 2013  image by Avi Allen

Studies for Maynard is a meditation on dislocation; the always unfinished practices of making home and sheltering; referencing the biography of an embryo; the Apollo 9 mission; the territorial behaviour of ravens, the writings and walks of Rajah Shehadah and Starman by David Bowie. Home here is more than a place; it is a network of resonances, as fragile and changeable as weather.

Resembling ephemeral line drawings, these studies emerge from gestures, voice, narratives and the systematic movement of an old school table, on which is inscribed the name ‘Maynard’. Over the last 2 years the work has been developed to form a larger dance installation, including sound and video, with long term collaborator Barnaby Oliver and film maker Tanya Syed. See below for more information about Simon’s and Tanya’s experimental time here at the Capel in 2013.

‘…Whitehead’s work resonates with complex and original ecological ideas. In it ecology is not simply about nature, but about how we exist emotionally and politically as human beings together.’ Carl Lavery. Writer and Professor of Theatre Studies, Glasgow University.



‘Airing’ in the Capel 23-24 July, 2013, Simon Whitehead and Tanya Syed.

We approached Avi to ask if we could have some time at Capel y Graig to begin a process of filming some dance and movement material developed this year in a small schoolroom studio in Llangoedmor nr. Cardigan.

 We imagined a large, light space to film in, the work needed ‘airing’ in a different, generous space. Capel y Graig was the place…

 Avi, her gentle and warm hosting and the uninterrupted time over 24 hrs in the Capel opened a productive, experimental space. How to create a relationship between the material and the space and the act of filming?  Many questions asked and a lot more continue to emerge

We filmed in the morning light, in the dark, with lighting and outdoors. We slept on the floor and woke early to begin again.

The Capel, its strong context, a sanctum, offered an amazing resource for voice and sound. Surprising sometimes, a mix of sounds made whilst working and combining with sounds passing through from outside; traffic, birdsong, voices and aeroplanes.

 Each day we began singing/ chanting in the Capel, it seemed like the natural thing to do, and there was a delight in how the space responded. Avi joined us on the second day and the space ‘rang’ with harmonics and distortion, In the discipline of archaeoacoustics it is said the  design of high ceilings in old churches is there to conjoin single voices into a collective voice, an ancient practice, borne out of palaeolithic caves and chambers..

 Tanya hopes to return to lead a sonic meditation workshop later in the year.

 The time seeded some new approaches and has given us a momentum to develop some choreographic relationships between camera, dancer, object and space and to consider more the context we need to create for this process.

 We are grateful for the time and the effect that the Capel has had on our process, we hope to return to ‘air’ the work as it develops…

 Gyda Ddiolch



Deuair is Elsa Davies and Ceri Owen-Jones: fiddle, harp & two voices. Deuair (pron. day-ire) means literally ‘two words’, an old Welsh poetic form and measure.

They have been playing together since 2010, learning tunes from fellow musicians and old manuscripts, for listening and dancing. Their intent is to research and interpret rare historical material and try to play a lost sound-world of Welsh traditional music for people today.




This entry was posted in Deuair, Simon Whitehead, Tanya Syed and tagged , , , by Avi Allen. Bookmark the permalink.

About Avi Allen

Artist and Co Founder of Capel Y Graig Art Space. Avi took on Capel Y Graig and its attached Ty Capel in 2003 and spent the next 8 years, together with her Father Chris Allen, renovating and restoring the Capel. During this period and along side the restoration project, Avi undertook art training at the West Wales School of The Arts, Carmarthen graduating with a BA Hons Fine Art. Avi gained a PgCE qualification in 2010 and her teaching experience includes leading the Critical and Contextual Studies programme at The West Wales School of the Arts Foundation Course 2009-11 and on the BTEC Diploma Art and Design, Coleg Ceredigion 2011-13. Within her Art/Curatorial practice, Avi is interested in revealing and disrupting established systems of hierarchical classification and the power relations manifested within them.

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