The norms of business negotiations are challenged to the limit in this thrilling and energetic dance film from choreographer and film maker Jack Thomson.
Director Statement: As a 17 year old British boy, it was in a New York City hospital, whilst receiving treatment from a business person with a stethoscope, that this film concept was born. Post my 15 minutes of treatment, I was left with a $900 medical bill and a demand to pay one third before leaving the hospital. I firstly, was unable to comprehend why my insurance did not cover the cost’s and secondly I could not understand how, in a place of wellbeing and a time of vulnerability, I suddenly became a hostage in a clinical prison. Was my own flesh and blood about to become no more than a minor transaction in the city built on capitalism?
This is where the negotiation began.
‘I can not afford to pay for this’ was met with sharp ‘perhaps we can come to an agreement’. The aggressive undercurrents and uncompromising brutality in the tone of this response, quickly shattered what was left of this ‘hospitals’ facade. I was clearly in a conflict of business and the strained tension between our gaze quickly informed me, that I was her prey, in her territory.
I left the hospital $180 out of pocket and feeling about 180% worse than when I entered but surprisingly, I did gain from this surreal experience. A visceral feeling of the undercurrents and hidden dynamics that are driving businesses.
This triggered me to create a series of still images that paired the formality of corporate conduct, against the invisible animalistic and competitiveness this conduct is exercised. The series of dance and fashion images, also titled Business is Brutal, led to Random Acts (Channel 4), commissioning the unravelling of this idea through moving image.
The film itself draws and references surrealism as a philosophical tone, to unpick and go beyond what our perceived reality tells us. My hope is the film is able to challenge our perception and decontextualise business in the 21st century.
Director and Choreographer: Jack Thomson
Director of Photography: Michele Cadei
Director of Set and Styling: Giulia Scrimieri
Dancer, Lead Female: Chihiro Kawaski
Dancer, Lead Male: Sam Coren
Other dancers: Natalie Alleston, Sandrine Monin, Carlos J.Martinez, Carmen Vazquez Marfil, Vanessa Vince-Pang, Prentice Whitlow, Asmara Cammock, Joseph Thomas,
Music (Sound Score): Uja’, Written and Performed by Tanya Tagaq (SOCAN), Jesse Zubot (SOCAN), Jean Martin (SOCAN), Michael Robert Edwards (SOCAN). Courtesy of Six Shooter Records Inc. Published by Just Isn’t Music O/B/O Third Side Music.
Music (Sound Score)
Producer: Ian Fenton
Producer: Patrick Collerton
Editor: John McNabb
Born in York, in the North of England, Jack Thomson is an artist, with practises in performance,choreography, photography and film. Beginning dance aged eight and continuing to then graduated from The Rambert School. He now dances professionally and in 2015/2016 was a recipient of one of Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries to his further develop his artistic practice (At Phoenix Dance Theatre). He first picked up a camera aged 13 and for the past decade has being exploring how his differing disciplines of performance, photography, choreography and film making can be aligned, to inform his decisions aesthetically and intellectually, resulting in a vision uniquely his own. Currently he solely works with dance artist’s in his making of still, live and moving images.
Movimiento en Movimiento did not have the opportunity to interview Jack Thomson. This short video has some information about his bio.