Wednesday 22 October 2014

visitings : forest murmurs

visitings  : forest murmurs

I am currently making notes for a chapter on BodyWeather and what kind of culture and community are implicated by its methodologies and practices. These seem particularly resonant:

in the music of indigenous peoples Lingis observes is heard “ the animal, vegetable, mineral and demonic realms” and that it “is not an aesthetic production, that is, a creation of human subjectivities attempting to communicate immanent states like moods, feelings, values or messages to other human subjectivities. It is a prolongation of the forest murmurs, the whispering sands, and the hum of heavenly bodies.” (99)

“Beyond the communication with one another through signals, abstract entities, in the community allied against the rumble of the world, we make contact with inhuman things by embracing their forms and their matter. We also make contact with one another by contracting another’s form, by transubstantiating our own material state.” (12-3)

photo by Mel Shearsmith at hinterlands 3

from: Lingis, Alphonso. The Community of Those Who Have Nothing in Common, 1994.

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

Monday 28 February 2011

visiting: a tiny void

In that moment - just after the life inside the show has ended, and just before life outside the show has started again - we realise a dual capture has occurred, an arresting in motion, on the way to an unknown destination, after departure and before arrival. A gap arises between the show we have made and the show that has made us - a tiny void. Does this void constitute the possibility of grace? The possibility of poetry? 

(Matthew Goulish, 'Eight Memos on the Creation Process of Goat Island's When will the September roses bloom? Last night was only a comedy'. When will the September Roses Bloom? Last Night was only a Comedy, Part One: Reflections on the Process. Chicago/Zagreb?. Goat Island and Frakcija, 2004/5. Print.)

re-visitings: dreaming of flying, 1998

ticket poems:

Thursday 30 December 2010

visiting: post-human, radical-human

I've decided to name the posts about current research 'visiting'.
Here are a few initial  notes on how I might begin to define ‘posthuman’ and ‘radical human’ in relation to my research (or the ‘post-human’ and ‘radical-human’).

the  radical-human/ the post-human and how they become apparent in the practices I am looking at:
in order to be ‘more-than’ human do we need to be ‘post’ human?
in order to be ‘post’ human we need to be ‘more-than’ human.
does post human = fully human and always ‘more than human’ or always ‘human +’
or always ‘human together with’/ ‘because of’?

is this ‘more than’ or ‘+’ or ‘together with’ the ‘radical’ part – the way of change and radical engagements with the world?

acknowledge that etymological root of radical is ‘go back to the root’
also, look further at the definitions of radical in relation to mathematics and chemistry

In order to recognise the presence of the body in the definition of the posthuman, Hayles (in her book How We Became Posthuman, 1999) suggests “ not that the body has disappeared but that a certain sort of subjectivity has emerged.”(193). Her version of this subjectivity is one that exists at the “crossing of the materiality of informatics and the immateriality of information” (198). Sara Jane Bailes, in her book Performance Theatre and the Poetics of Failure (2010) also talks about newly emerging subjectivity in relation to experimental performance practice:

If aesthetic acts can expand our sense of perception as Jacques Ranciere (2006) suggests, then we should become aware of the significance of how such acts can induce novel forms of political and social subjectivity. (xx)

To continue her discussion about subjectivity Hayles then explores the term embodiment and finds this a valuable term for an extended understanding of  the meaning of ‘posthuman’:

Experiences of embodiment, far from existing apart from culture, are always imbricated within it. Yet because embodiment is individually articulated, there is also at least an incipient tension between it and hegemonic cultural constructs. Embodiment is thus inherently destabilising with respect to the body, for at any time this tension can widen into a perceived disparity. (197)

re-visitings: touching moments, 1997

here is the press release for this performance:
Imagine yourself in a furniture warehouse chock full of wardrobes, dressing tables and gas cookers. Spend two months in the space, which is both strange and familiar and what ideas do you come up with?
This is exactly what  By Word of Mouth, a Bristol based company of performers and artists, have been doing and the result will be three public performances of on December 5, 6 and 7 at the Sofa Project.
The project is a collaboration between the theatre company and the Sofa Project, a charity which recycles donated furniture for sale to people on low incomes.
The performance is a series of 36 Touching Moments, also the show's title, and is inspired by the space and its contents and devised by the company.
The moments are a brief glimpse into aspects of our lives and our relationships which touch all of us at one time or another. It also includes dance, music, film and video and involves 21 people, including performers, technicians, the artistic director Max Holloway and choreographer Zahid Dar.
A very original performance in an extraordinary place. See it and you'll never look at a piece of furniture in the same way again.

Sunday 28 November 2010

in-between: ecology, community and change

In and amongst lot of reading last week, a small piece of information has continued to return and pester my understanding and it seems particularly pertinent after the last (re)visitings entries:
the greek root of the word ecology is oikos which means house
and the definition of ecology in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary is: the branch of biology concerned with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings.
This feels significant though I am not entirely sure why - it suggests that the study of  relations of organisms to each other and their environment might begin at home, with dwelling, with family, with community; yet this rather closed environment of house and home seems somehow to contradict the meaning of ecology as a wide multiplicity of connections, mutabilities and mutual dependencies.
With a nod to a future (re)visiting of performance and installation at Stapleton Road railway station, I was catching a train there last week and found this attached to the fence of a community garden which now takes up a disused part of the station.