Spontaneous opera and leaf Mosaics: about Ambient Jam Collective at Liberty Festival


There’s a certain irony about trying to write a blog describing an Ambient Jam Collective event! This collection of letters and punctuation can barely begin to explain the sensory and profound experience of these extraordinary events. ​If you haven’t been already, we hope you will join us at our next one to participate first-hand.

On Saturday 23rd July, Ambient Jam Collective, as part of its residency at Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), welcomed the general public to attend and create this event, as part of Liberty Festival. From the chalk words scrawled on the pavement that welcomed and guided us to the space, the meditative yet bold brush strokes of Ertac Mentesh who was painting new creations in front of our eyes, the playful appearance of a paddling pool and bunches of fragrant herbs adding gentle scent to the warm air, all before you entered the space itself. There was lyrical spontaneous opera, leaf mosaics, dancing dappled lights, twirling fabrics, shoes waiting patiently, sighs, rhythmic drums, careful footsteps, drifting bubbles, and many connections.

What always strikes me about Ambient Jam Collective events is the permission we are given when we enter the space to simply ‘be’. Usually, when we arrive in a new space, our body tunes into the behaviours that are expected within it. When we arrive home we take off our shoes and relax, when we go to a library we are careful not to make too much noise, when we go to a park we close our eyes to connect with the breeze and smell of the grass… When entering CCA we were liberated by a series of instructions on display inviting us to interact with the event in whatever way we wish. To move. To be still. To create. To interact. To sing. To make. To be alone. To connect. Once we are able to tune into our bodies and connect with others through improvised movement, sound and interactions it’s very hard to leave this beautifully human and natural state of being. As we found at the end of our event when nobody wanted to leave!

Below we’re including some lovely quotes from people who joined us on the 23rd July, and we hope to see you at our next free public event at CCA on Friday 14th October. Please sign up to our mailing list to know when tickets will be available to book.

I had planned to send you a note today to thank you for the incredible work with AJC. It was one of the best things I’ve experienced in years, the level of details in ensuring a multisensory experience was so well delivered. The sounds, smells, taste.. a full 360 experience that will stay with me for a long time. I was absolutely blown away by the event. The level of curation across the details, the space and rhythm you were able to generate was one of a kind. Looking forward to next time.” – Linda Rocco, Liberty Festival, Creative Producer

I joined AJ at CCA. It was an unprecedented experience for me – a truly decentralised performance with the completely spontaneous actions. The role of each person (audience, performer or something else) is fluid and not fixed. There is no distinction between subject and object, which breaks the inherent rules of performance. The inclusivity of AJ connects everything (people and things that do not need to be clearly categorised). From another point of view, nexus everything is a huge challenge, which is to keep the balance in the flux, in the imperceptibility and in the unknown. It is a humanitarian, caring and democratic programme that cares for all. In AJ, I felt a sense of honesty about my own experiences. It was a sense of sincerity in contrast with the performative state of everyday life under a social representation. I believe that any external event indirectly influences, or relates, to reveal the way we interact with each other. So, thank you all for allowing me to witness a ‘quantum movement’.” – Jiaoyang, MA student at Goldsmiths University

Ertac’s painting is beautiful and full of colour. He is so happy and loves being part of this wonderful project.” – AJC member Ertac’s sister

No introductions. No bias of anyone. I didn’t know who was disabled and who was not. Tiny invitations, starting slow. Nothing was verbal. Allowing ambiguity. Need more of that in this world. Love and respect to the Entelechy team, incredible team and honoured I was a part of it.” – Elizabeth McCourt

I like the concept of new adventures that Vicky Thompson was expressing about the Ambient Jam Collective at CCA. It is always integral the experience and the feeling of inclusivity as a collective. I could bring in new people and know I was in a supported environment. It’s almost an invisible requirement to be at Ambient Jam to care for each other as well as ourselves in every situation. Care is what we do even when we are seemingly breaking rules in social norms in our behaviour. It can work in tandem. We mirror each other’s behaviour we pay a compliment; we look for common ground. We can find a safe space for that interaction to evolve. There is someone to hold and support it. And the courage to draw out an aspect for anyone to join in and be a part of the whole experience. On the outside it might look like a cacophony or in another perception a beautiful hymn/symphony.” – Wei Yee Cheung, artist

[My wife] felt some discomfort at first (not knowing how to “be” in the space), but also felt welcomed in that through the instructions to sit with awkwardness and to only do what was comfortable. She said that with time she grew very comfortable and felt rejuvenated by the end of the session. She also said that she felt that Ambient Jam accomplished a really hard thing – fostering something in which everyone could be how they wanted to be. She was struck but both the simplicity of that as well as the complexity.” – Anonymous

A very emotive, moving and sensory experience presented in a very shared and inclusive way.” – Anonymous

All photos are by Samuel Dore for Liberty Festival 2022.

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