Natasha Bourke biography
Natasha Bourke is a Cork-based interdisciplinary artist of Irish/Dutch descent with a fine art and extensive movement background (including contemporary, break, folk, jazz, ballet, poetic/authentic movement, contemplative dance, butoh, body weather, aerial, harness work, acrobatics, physical theatre, object manipulation, swimming, yoga and tai chi). Her practice embraces performance, lens-based media, installation, archive, drawing and sound. Bourke is an Arts Council of Ireland 2020 Next Generation artist and has presented live/filmic/installation work, solo and collaboratively, in numerous events across Ireland/Europe, since 2007. Whilst continuously developing her practice intensively, showing work, training and teaching, she remains committed to a breadth of disciplines and networks. The artist’s life/roots underpin her work contemplating themes of self and society including identity, isolation, institution, legacy, transience, perception, polarity, pathos and play. With a surreal, spectral and sincere aesthetic, Bourke continually investigates new ways to refine the different strands of her practice into a unique coherent poetic language, whilst maintaining an open process.
Over the last few years, movement with/in water has become integral to Bourke’s ongoing inquiry using different spatial modalities to explore physical and psychological states of suspension. Recent outdoor solo performance work, Testuro Utero Go! Litter Womb, was conceived and first performed within the context of a derelict sea bath on Sandymount Strand, Dublin for Kirkos Ensemble’s Biosphere (a week long event of public interventions themed around the climate crisis). Bourke received a commission award to further develop and perform T.U.G! Litter Womb at Echo Echo Festival 2021 in Derry and the newly evolved work re-emerged on the Colmcille, a 40-foot currach, on Lough Foyle, Derry and, circumstance pending, will have it’s third iteration on the Lee in Cork for Harbour festival next June. This work is part of research towards an ambitious new water-based performance vision (featuring movement, harness work, tightrope, installation, text, sound and visuals) that Bourke is developing with support of the Firkin Crane ReFramed Bursary, Arts Council, Cork City Council and Cork Midsummer festival. As part of this project, Bourke is also undergoing online 200hr teacher training course in Yoga NAAD (to become a qualified gong and sound healing practitioner) with Third Ear in London.
As part of her practice since 2014, Bourke has developed a substantial body of live/filmic film works featuring Coneface, a performance alter ego whose face is covered by a long, semi-transparent cone narrowing perception and providing both protection and slight sensory deprivation for the effaced wearer. Physical awareness and light indication are key to spatial navigation whilst in this guise. This Cone motif was originally designed to refer to isolation and psychological filtration coping mechanisms developed with age or a dissociative state caused by technological over-stimulation in ever-advancing modern life. Bourke uses this anonymised absurd figure to explore existential themes by activating thematically specific tableaux and guises, which often include site-response to less conventional performance settings and the use of harness/suspension. Coneface continues to evolve, having appeared in multiple milleux and events around Ireland, Italy and Sweden. The artist will soon premiere her Arts Council funded experimental feature film, Concrete Keys following highly-reviewed sister solo installation, rubblebubble, for IndieCork 2019. These works feature Coneface as central figure, to poetically examine the individual’s place in a rapidly transforming vision of institutional society.
Bourke has been involved in a broad range of solo and group projects, exhibitions, workshops, residencies, collectives and has trained and collaborated alongside established artists, directors and choreographers across Ireland and Europe. Her work will soon and has recently appeared in events including EchoEcho dance festival; Mosaic in Motion Firkin Crane, Cork; Pop Up Scunthorpe exhibition, UK; Lunasi Circus Cabaret Online, Cork Puppetry Festival; Global Water Dances online 2021; Indiecork, Deepfocus, Disappear Here Luminous Voi d Experimental & Cork International Film Festivals; Experimental Film Society and Phantascope screenings, Filmbase Dublin and Triskel Cinema Cork, Sonic vigil & Cork Sound Fair experimental sound festivals, Cork. MTU Lockdown Creatives alumni exhibition, Cork; Biosphere by Kirkos Ensemble, Dublin; Body Noise Work with Kirkos Ensemble and Jennifer Walshe (head mentor), The Dock, Leitrim and Templebar Gallery Dublin; Aisteach Project with director Jennifer Walshe, The Model Sligo; IADF (Irish Aerial Arts Festival) and International VDF (Vertical Dance Forum) 2018 in Ireland & Croatia, Electric Picnic and Body & Soul Festivals; Dublin Live Art and Livestock Performance Art Festivals, Dublin; Nest Performance Art Festival, Kilkenny; B-Beyond (Belfast) Irish/Brazilian performance artist collaboration, Cork; K-Fest Arts festival, Killorglan; Pitch’d Circus Festival (and multiple Circus Factory Events); Glow Festival 2017 and 2019, Cork Puppetry Festival, Quarter Block Party Festival, Feile Na Laoch Arts Festival, Cork Midsummer Festival, St Finbarrs Festival, Shandon Street Festival, Cork X Southwest Festival, Midleton Arts Festival, Zolala, Cork; Various events at Sample Studios, Triskel and Sirius Arts Centres, Wandesford, Lavitt Glucksman Galleries, Cork; Greywood Arts Official Opening, Cork; Cork Culture Night Guest Performing Artist 2014-16 at Black Mariah/Project Space and Gulpd Café Triskel Arts Centre, Cork; Multiple Performances & Exhibitions at Mart Gallery, Dublin; Studio 6 Performance Series at Temple Bar Gallery; Vest & Page /IPA Performance Art Event, Forte Marghera, Venice; Stormy Petrol/Guairdeall, 1916 themed large-scale performance project directed by Alanna O’Kelly, Brian Hand, Orla Ryan & Libby Seward, Dublin GPO; Moving Bodies Festivals Dublin & Italy; Going Solo Performance & Film Festival, Sweden;
To help sustain her practice, Bourke sometimes tutors various Aerial disciplines, Improvisation and Performance development as well as Creative Movement to Children and Vulnerable Adults. She is an active member of Cork Circus Factory, ISACS, VAI, Naomhóga Chorcaí, COPE foundation, Clowns without Borders, Outlaw Studios, Shaolin Martial Arts and the Irish Circus, Contemporary Dance and Art Communities.
She has been a grateful recipient of awards including an Arts Council Next Generation Award, Film Project Award and two Travel & Training Awards, Cork City Council Arts Office Bursary and an R&D for Project Award; CIT Graduate Travel Bursary Award, Cork Film Centre Best Film and Installation Graduate Award; Firkin Crane ReFramed Bursary; Echo Echo Dance Festival Commission and Bursary Award; Cork Dance Initiative Artist Commission Award ; She has also been awarded a limited place as an artist on special events including International Vertical Dance Forums in Ireland & Croatia, Dancing About Architecture workshop/symposium by Jools Gilson, UCC, Vest & Page /IPA Performance Art 10 day intensive, Venice & Kirkos Ensemble’s Body Noise Work, Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin & the Dock, Leitrim.