Some Times All You Can Do Is Chew

Chatting with a friend a few days ago I casually mentioned that I may have bit off more than I can chew. Her advice: KEEP CHEWING. And, so taking everything is said to heart I chewed and masticated my way into playing with the chew.
And, out I spat this video. The first time I have ever done anything in the movie editing world… except on Buster, but that was more spread sheets and the fabulous Rosie Jones did the grunt work… But, I must say I’m quite pleased with this digestion.

 

 

Robert Wilson, Time & Space Constructions

Toward the end of this interview (1:06:00) Robert Wilson talks about Time/Space constructions, variations on themes.
The Lonely Room is just that. I’ve danced around with is narrative? is it abstract? How do I understand this piece we are working on from the inside? And how do I understand it from the outside?
And, I realized, that as a performer, what happens needs to make sense to me in order to be understood. It needs to be clear and coherent, full of intention, and precision. But as an architect of the whole picture, that linear sense is not what is important. It is rather the impression of the whole.
This is nothing new.
But the dance between the two is the challenge: to keep that macro-view and micro-view in its proper place.

 

The Lonely Room: Phase 1 Rehearsals

We’ve finished the first period of rehearsals for The Lonely Room.
What a gift.
Michael Neo has been making fantastic music for us that click-clock, ping-pong, and bounces around playfully. Eloise and I have been exploring waiting… waiting…waiting… time and waiting.
And there has been lots of laughter and pleasure in the process. Laughter and pleasure.
Looking forward to October.

 

The Climb & The Plateau

The Creative Climb is when you have a clear immediate goal with a deadline and you can’t look up and you can’t look down because you can only focus on where you are to get where you are going.
The Plateau is when you’ve finished a portion of the climb, can take off your shoes, dream, walk around, assess where you’ve been, what you have, what you’ve done. This for me is by far the more difficult aspect of being an artist. Where you can play with a whole host of toys, some helpful, some not so helpful. Creative fuel and distractions in one pretty package.
In my last plateau it was, the administrative side of my brain finally saying “You NEED ME! DON’T FIGHT ME!”
And the fun playful part of my head echoed “YOU NEED HER!”
And the craft part of my brain said “YOU NEED HER!” and politely hung up her tights, put on her shoes and went for a good long walk.
And the admin lady done good; we’ve got funding and support for The Lonely Room I never would have thought possible a year ago. But, again, as a result this creative climb is more difficult because in the last plateau I lost sight of a fundamental thing: don’t stop training and working physically.
Never stop training.
Nothing is more important than staying deepply engaged in the creative craft of choice.
(Oddly enough a brutal reminder of this came from my mother. She has a wonderful way of keeping it all in check for me. When I’m trying to keep too many balls off the ground, she hands me a bucket so I carry them in one hand.)
Wendy Houston wrote this entry against admin….  another famous artist (who I may have referenced a few times in this blog but I cannot find the reference to it) said that successful artists are the ones that know how to get the admin done. Admin! Admin! Admin!
With all my balls neatly in my bucket at the moment, I’m going to endeavour to be a good dweller of the plateau and keep my balls neatly stored and brought out routinely one at a time. I might even play with two at once. But this time I think it will be easier because this plateau is a very tiny in proportion to the mountain I am currently climbing.

 

Marina Abramovich’s 512 Hours @ The Serpentine Gallery

Marina Abramovich’s 512 Hours is simply beautiful.
The experience reminded me of a vipassana retreat: many people, alone together in a room in silence. Each one going on their own journey and given complete autonomy of what they do with or, rather, what they take from the situation.  I felt very respected as a goer, I was not played to, I was not taken on Abramovich’s idea of what my journey should be. I was trusted and empowered to make of this experience what I could: refreshing to not have everything handed to me on an imaginative plate.
Save for a few parameters set: we all walked slowly, we sat, stood, or lay. That’s it. No one spoke, but the rules of the space were clear and immediately understood.
For my part it raised questions about spirituality in the modern age: are art galleries now a place of sanctuary and solance from the outside world? A place where we are comfortable engaging in practices that are designed to address the more fundamental questions of life and nothingness? (I realize that I’m working from the point of view of someone who lives in circles that don’t ascribe to any of the major religions, so my questions pertain more to that spiritually disallusioned sector of society.)
The arts began as religious and ritualized practice and operated in within culturally specific religious and ceremonial frameworks. Slowly slowly offshoots of each discipline began to carve out their own spaces, serve their own desires, and ask their own questions.  Now, with 512 Hours and along with lots of interpretive spiritual imagery being made (or perhaps just coming across my path), I wonder if things have come full circle. Only this time rather than holy places facilitating art, it is art that is facilitating the reintroduction of holy nothing spaces into the modern world. Are the blank white walls the only place where we feel free to let go and be quiet?
512 is powerful in its simplicity. It is not trying to do too much, it simply asks us all to just be for a short period of time and see what happens. There are no big conclusions, no adreneline rushes, just a continuous line of tension without any embued meaning. Nothingness.

 

Taking down Ugly!

Ugly…..UG….LY…

This Tack-on tours project with the ridiculously talented Ayesha Tansey started out as a way to reconcile my love for London and for the fact that i find it to be a deeply-deeply ugly place. Too many people, too much noise, too many smells, too many things to do…. It’s like the sewer systems in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil…an indecipherable maze…shaking….at capacity….about to burst… But like a hard-loving addict, I can’t seem to leave it. when it’s good, it’s very very good… but when it’s bad it’s horrid.

We have been deconstructing the notion of ugly across the senses and rebuilding our relationship to it. And as a result, the ugly-beautiful binary has completely collapsed. I am in a no-man’s land where these values don’t exist any more: things just are.

Which is quite liberating, to be comfortable in the ugly.

But all that said, my lingering question is can we as performers dive as deep when we are surrounded by ugliness without making our performance escapist? Can we get to a vulnerable place when everything around us demands that we engage our stronger sides?