As the 2014 crop of JUMP mentees prepare to attend their first mentorship intensive hosted by Next Wave, the ECAPP team checked in to see how a JUMP mentorship was able to propel the creative and professional development of 2013 alumni performance collective zin. zin create immersive and interactive environments that are at once playful and challenging, drawing attention to the exchange that occurs when the audience participates in the artwork.
‘JUMP has been an incredible springboard for zin to develop as a creative partnership, to collaborate, produce work, to learn and finesse our practice,’ enthuse Harriet Gillies and Roslyn Helper, collective co-founders and collaborators. zin paired up with Fiona Winning, Head of Programming at Sydney Festival, to develop a range of projects in festival environments and to assist with formalising their professional practice. Fiona was able to assist with the practical challenges of programming and producing art projects at a large scale. As a result, zin were able to present the Party Series at Underbelly Arts Festival, Tiny Stadiums Festival and The Rocks Village Bizarre. Most recently, they participated in the opening night celebrations of Sydney Festival at Parramatta, with a new work titled Take A Shot.
One of the tangible benefits of the grant was the ability to present work at these festivals at a more ambitious scale than was previously possible. ‘Many of zin’s ideas are quite large in scope and we have discovered that it is hard for emerging artists to find the resources and opportunities to make large scale work.’ As Harriet explains, ‘Each event catered to a different audience, a different environment and to a different politically-focused party theme, with over a thousand audience members experiencing our work throughout the year.’
Beyond the grant funding, the relationship that developed between mentee and mentor not only contributed to the development of their festival projects, but will also remain of lasting significance. Fiona Winning provoked zin to continually interrogate the nature of participatory art practice, and as Harriet explains she, ‘was constantly asking us, ‘what’s at stake for the audience?’, which is kind of a zin mantra now.’ Further to this, ‘the relationship we developed is now ongoing, and we are delighted to have such an incredible mentor and friend to talk to and gain feedback from.’
Harriet and Roslyn also benefited from the experience of being part of the JUMP family, meeting their fellow mentees at the mentorship intensive, and keeping in touch throughout the year, explaining that JUMP gave them the opportunity ‘to meet like-minded creatives from around the country who will no doubt be future collaborators, creative partners and friends.’
Emerging now from their JUMP year into 2014, zin are looking to expand their practice to new audiences. You can next experience their work at Melbourne’s Festival of Live Art in March 2014.