Scottish Borders Playwriting Programme
Sarah Jane Swan & Roger Simian
The Bird And The Monkey
Based in the Scottish Borders, Sarahjane Swan and Roger Simian are multi-artform collaborators. Under the name,The Bird And The Monkey, they have produced a body of work which includes: immersive video installations, short films, song-writing, music videos, sculpture, prose, poetry, multiple projections, photography and photomontage.
Since 2012, The Bird And The Monkey have created four moving image installations for Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival in Hawick, and a fifth as part of the Beyond The Shutter group exhibition at The Haining in Selkirk. Short films and music videos have screened at festivals and other events in Scotland, London, Canada, Portugal and Poland. Songs are regularly broadcast on BBC Radio and TV, as well as on smaller online and local stations.
Raised in Dunbar, Sarahjane moved to Aberdeen in the mid-1990s to study at Gray's School of Art, graduating in 1998 with a BA Honours in Fine Art (Sculpture). Degree work included a ten foot wave of fish skins, customised gentlemen's suits, abstract forms created from snake slough and pungent notebooks bound in fish skin. One work, inspired by the Heaven's Gate Cult - 39 death masks housed in a travel suitcase - appeared as part of a group show at the RSA in Edinburgh. After Gray's, Sarahjane moved to London to design sculptural artefacts for a flamboyant nightclub owner, then on to New Zealand for three years to babysit for her sister, sketch and grow pumpkins. On returning to Scotland, Sarahjane picked up a guitar and began recording low fidelity acoustica songs on a mono cassette recorder, and painting herself blue for serpentine-dance performance-art videos down by the loch. In 2009 she released two singles on Shark Batter Records and started rehearsing and playing unplugged shows with Roger Simian.
Brought up in Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders, Roger Simian spent his twenties and thirties playing and co-writing songs in alternative rock bands (Dawn Of The Replicants, Pluto Monkey, The Stark Palace). With these he was involved in releasing LPs on one major and several indies, playing festivals (from Glastonbury to SxSW) and recording BBC radio sessions for John Peel and others. All the while he dabbled in experimental writing and creating his own cut 'n' paste zines and DIY music videos. Roger's fiction and poetry have been published in Scottish literary magazines,ChapmanandThe Eildon Tree, and his arts reviews have appeared in the Scottish edition ofThe Big Issue. Studying with the Open University, he graduated with a Diploma in Literature and Creative Writing in 2009, and a BA Honours (Open) in 2013.
The Bird And The Monkey draw on these diverse backgrounds in working towards a Total Art.