Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome’s Scottish iteration of INCHOATE BUZZ, an immersive and atmospheric collaborative performance at Glasgow’s Tramway featured work by Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome and invited artists SERAFINE1369, Eve Stainton, and Isabel Rosa Muñoz-Newsome, alongside the work of core collaborators, Josh Anio Grigg, sound designer and new media artist, India Harvey, artist and researcher, and light designer Charlie Hope. The performance, made up of four parts, focuses on the idea of ‘relational presence with our environments and each other’, with the intention of ‘re-orientation’ through somatic practice, sound, dance, sensory objects, voice, and collective movement.
The foyer was busy when we arrived and the air was hot. Upon invitation many of us took our shoes off, creating a pool of footwear which spread into the edges of the crowd. The show also involved optional minimal touch, and red wristbands were available to indicate if you would rather not participate in this (during the performance the artists also signalled when touch would happen so you could choose to participate or not in the moment). The venue doors remained closed as we waited; I was perching on the mezzanine with a vodka orange when I noticed fellow attendees funnelling into the venue. The space was cavernous and dark but warmly lit, with chairs available to sit on as well as purpose made cushions and carpet shapes distributed across the floor designed by India Harvey.
Our bodies built more heat together as Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome began initiating our participation. Falling in step, we pulled our hands along our arms one by one, slowly over our shoulders and our faces, and down to our stomachs, breathing intentionally. We collectively moved in this way until the synchronised motion was interrupted with the reminder that our stomachs connect to our “anus(!)”; a body part the crowd hesitated to touch, causing a break with instruction. It was funny. Challenging us not to be ashamed of our bodies and breaking the ice it shaped the opening of the performance as an abstract gastro-intestinal focus group, like a yoga session dedicated to the gut. There was an optional group huddle before we were encouraged to follow the directions on the small pieces of paper we had been given upon entering. They asked us to connect with a partner and study the space. Walking backwards, and then lying down beside two friends, I talked with them about a dream I’d had recently and we felt the texture of the performance cushions together, it was infantile and relaxing.
Given time to sit in the shadows, we listened to what seemed like the voice of the hypnic-hallucinogenic sensations that can happen when you fall asleep; it spoke of half-remembered shopping lists, turning into surreal descriptions of herbs and phantom bodily sensations. It is in this sleepiness that SERAFINE1369 began to move, sound-tracked by a string of horoscope details like an astrological shipping forecast which was broken down into minutes, tracking time and cosmic shifts very slowly. Time began feeling heavier, and field recordings of rainfall brought with them a sense of outsideness. I felt like I was somewhere else, resting and listening as the earth turned. Meanwhile, SERAFINE1369 moved past us like a planet, mapping invisible ley-lines as if on a celestial route.
This esotericism merged into Eve Stainton’s suspense-driven rave scene which felt like a dance in the belly of the earth. Their presence channelled a concentrated energy and a rise in the pulse of the room to a Mica Levi soundtrack (which felt appropriate for Glasgow as Levi also created the haunting score to Glasgow-set Under the Skin  by Jonathon Glazer). It was trippy, full of undercurrents of sound that never completely broke the surface. Stainton danced in bursts, chopping the air, limbs angular, with their body hyper-focussed in a powerful rhythmic gait.
The evening ended with a moody, melodic performance from Isabel Muñoz-Newsome. Outside noise infiltrated the space again, this time instead of rainfall we hear dogs, “a Pomeranian and some kind of Chihuahua”, whose barks come in through a window. Everything remained somehow musical despite the distorted sounds and the jarring yowls that flooded across the room. It reminded me of Gaston Bachelard commenting that when you get used to it, the sound of the traffic can become like the sound of the ocean. Muñoz-Newsome’s shimmering jacket was a reassuring focal point as I let my body rest and the sparkles blur in my eyes. Gently the evening came to a close, and somnambulant we retrieved our bags and slowly left the space. It felt like leaving the cinema in the daytime, coming out of darkness into hazy light, your body softer and your thoughts soundless against the volume and boldness of the film that has just been watched.
Words Gwen Dupré
REVIEW: Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome: INCHOATE BUZZ TRAMWAY 21st April 2023, 7:00-9.30pm
Commissioned by CONTINUOUS Dance Network with Siobhan Davies Studios (London), BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art (Gateshead) and Tramway (Glasgow). CONTINUOUS is partnership network that tours dance to gallery spaces across the UK, it seeks to advance the creation, presentation and development of audiences for experimental contemporary dance within visual arts contexts.
INCHOATE BUZZ is conceived and curated by Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome
Invited artists and performances by: Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome, SERAFINE1369, Eve Stainton and Isabel Muñoz-Newsome
Core artists and collaborators:
Sound/ new media design Josh Anio Grigg
Set design India Harvey
Light design Charlie Hope
Producer Eve Veglio-Huner
Production manager Josh Anio Grigg
Supported by Arts Council England, CONTINUOUS Network, Siobhan Davies Studios and Tramway.