Wednesday, 4 January 2012

disrupted embodiments (meant for posting, midsummer 2011!)

I haven’t posted for a while because I have been busy preparing for my upgrade to PhD in which I was successful, so all the hard work paid off in that respect.
I have written a first chapter in which I have been investigating aspects of embodiments of memory in the research pedagogy of Goat Island Performance Group.
I begin the second section of this Chapter with a quote from Kafka which Goat Island utilise in their reflections on the process of making the show entitled When will the September Roses Bloom? Last Night was only a Comedy:

I can swim like the others, only I have a better memory than the others. I have not forgotten my former inability to swim. But since I have not forgotten it, my ability to swim is of no avail and I cannot swim after all. (Kafka qtd. in Goat Island, Missing Scenes)

This section looks at disrupted embodiments in the work of Goat Island and how a number of strategies of disruption are utilised in their devising and teaching. These disruptions are applied to the habits of memory, of bodily movement or everyday action, both of which engage embodiment in the mode of performance. The creative and re-creative imagination, which is the ability to ‘radically design’ and ‘leap across meanings’ becomes activated by these disruptions, in a process which is reflexive and embodied.  This can also be seen as embodied learning, where the re-creative imagination enables new assemblages of performance material, and where there is an imitation and disruption of the source of these new assemblages and becomings. Furthermore the ‘source’ may, in
fact, always be the body, where memory, movement and thought reside, the body that haunts space (according to Merlaeu Ponty), an ‘unfixed, shifting mass of movement, speed and flows …’ 

Dreaming of Flying, 1998

Dreaming of Flying was a site specific performance devised by By Word of Mouth that took place at Stapleton Road railway station in Bristol, at sunset on June 9 and 10th, 1998.
I co-directed this with Max Holloway and Claire Mitchell and there were 15 performers. 

Here is the information given to the audience:
This site-specific performance is durational and takes place during sunset. Some of the performers are involved in one task only, and stay in their location, but the majority will be using the whole space. There are no set viewpoints, so feel free to move around the site. We have noticed some good vantage points, those being the bridge and the platform we arrive on, but do find a place where you can be comfortable.

We have given you a little book and a pencil which you can use to make your own responses to the site and  its users, This is one way in which we have developed this performance, through written and visual responses. When you leave the station, could you please hand your book back to someone who is standing at one of the three main entrances, as we would like to include your responses in a future exhibition about Stapleton Road Station. In return we would like to give you a hand printed railway ticket, made by Ailsa Richardson (see post 28th Feb).

Its  content is in response to the site, the surrounding landscape, and those who use it. We have been exploring this space for three and a half months and have found it a beautiful, gentle and exciting place. We hope that you enjoy your experience of this site and our performance.

rehearsal - bird passengers, photo Max Holloway

signals, photo Jeff Brewster

train passing, photo Jeff Brewster

performance timeline