The Image Is The Servant is a collaborative music and arts happening, created and shaped by the artist Honest Dave. Started back in 2014, The annual event has grown from it’s already ambitious setting of Hansom Hall in to the new Venue@DMU space. 

The fifth event, taking place in February, asks it’s artists and musicians to respond to the theme of ‘Body Beautiful’, following on from previous years themes of Fearful, Playful and Peaceful. The themes are what give the event it’s ineffable yet palpable qualities. qualities. Song, dance, spoken word, music and image created in the moment, that are both engaging and distracting, enlightening and oppressive, no one knows what will happen, no one sees it all.

The multi-sensory immersive experience is created by Leicester musicians and artists alongside students from DMU’s creative arts courses. In the past it has included contributions from eclectic arts collectives House of Verse and Anerki as well as visual and digital artists, dancers, poets, performers and countless other disciplines.

The curators are hesitant to do more than talk about ‘possibilities’ for Body Beautiful. Life drawing as performance with string quartet accompaniment? Marks on paper transformed into large digital projection? Giant figures as screen space? Projection mapping? Minute sounds of body transformed into ambient soundscapes? Sketched dancing bodies emerge as animation film? The percussive and choreographic qualities of Martial Arts?

The disparate eclectic exhibition will likely morph into focused central performance, via musical improvisation responding to moving image, Body Beautiful spoken word, song and jazz from The Snowfathers.

Co Curator Leonie DuBarry-Gurr says of Body Beautiful: “In this world of burning questions, there is very little time to search out the answers that will quench them. Mainly, they revolve around who we are, or what, or how – and occasionally we catch ourselves breathing or have a moment where we feel our heart beating or become terrified. The questions can seem the most poignant then, because we are faced with our own existence and it is difficult to stare into an iris one knows so little about and is told so very much about by many loud voices, who often, also seem to know very little. Are there answers beyond those unsatisfactory words given by the mainstream or the scientific community? Are logic and reason the only lenses through which to view the world or, are they a mask, as some have argued, to deny the infinite nature of the self?”

“The Image Is The Servant is for the unsatisfied. For those who ache with Sehnsucht, for something more, for something less. We have invited artists to share their journey through creation via sound, pictures, media technology, dance and being, as we aim to blur the boundaries between concert, performance, exhibition, and genre.”

“At the heart of The Image Is The Servant is a collaborative ethos – whereby artists are invited to accompany one-another in synthesis, encouraging live, generative participation and collective engagement with audience members.”

“Themed on ideas around Body Beautiful, this is an opportunity to explore the self, to take an hour or two outside of distraction and to walk with others as the image, for a short while at least, becomes the servant.”

The Image Is The Servant (Body Beautiful) is at Venue @ DMU on 21st February.

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Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Great Central, John has been actively involved in Leicester's creative community for over a decade - promoting shows and releasing records under the name Robot Needs Home. He is a director of Handmade Festival, and ex member of the band Maybeshewill.

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