She walks this path every day…
A Covid Lockdown home residency over 6 weeks, by
exploring the interweaving of body and the physical terrain of home.
inside and out
melding movement, performance and visual art
A Seeds Dispersed project, funded by Groundwork Pro, Cardiff
Project mentor Mandy Lane.
6 images: I called my project 'She walks this path every day' as it implies familiar routes and routines at home. What I am fascinated by is how there is no one time that is the same as another, whether across the yard or along paths through the forest, every time you are a newly emerging bundle of experience, you are always a different person from the last time...So, in these scenes, these materials, life's processes rising and falling, there's impermanence. I am researching a new way of understanding and experiencing space, form and change. Rather than thinking in a dualist way and fixing on the dancer’s moves/the line drawn in space as the primary focus, I use instinctive physical dialoque with the textural world around me to reveal the indeterminacy of form. I play with the dynamic of movement and stillness, using body and haphazardly made costume as objects and imbuing natural and cultural objects, loose parts unearthed from the land, with new, unfixed, vivid contextual meaning. I build and inhabit textural environments and situations mirroring processes of nature including decay and transformation, and perhaps capture some of the inner feelings of aspiration, futility, yearning, loss that we encounter when opening to that indeterminate space.
For me, the beginning is about connecting with spaciousness in the body, orientation to omni-directional possibility and the implications of this….listening, and seeing what’s occuring inside and around you, responding to found materials and beginning to shape and shift the relationship between the living body and the space. I love this quote from Chogyam Trungpa: “[Space] is not blank or vacant but it accommodates everything. It has the quality of wakefulness, the quality of delight, and the quality of brilliance. …. We can actually walk, dance, kick, and stretch ourselves in that atmosphere. There’s lots of room, lots of freedom, also a sense of wakefulness.” These new forms came about from improvising with materials I found lying about, accumulating into shifting spatial relationships with each other and myself.
Here I was exploring, in different ways, the feeling of agency in creation, ordering the world, making and un-making, order and disorder....connection and dis-connection. Dancing in the boots (to the fantastic rendition of Sugarman by Ava Molleson) I felt something rising about being miles apart, alone, fucking far away from everything, unable to cross that gap, the abyss between us.
In this one, I drew up some very old 'tools' from the barns, covered not only in cobwebs and woodworm but layers of paint, markings of different ages. I liked the towering presences, made of trees, and went on a journey to explore the changing relationships between my living body and the slow living materials in space, with the bell of time sounding in the space....
This one followed on from dances of mark-making developing into playing and making with used packaging paper, tissue that elegant clothes come in. The precariousness of the material brought up images of vanity and saving face as well as a search for grace - is it an add-on, or not? Accompanied by Tom Waits, the dance also became a kind of tug between the agelessness in dreaming and the gaping reality of the disappearing years.
This one began with silver-hued mark-making and became about the barely discernible straits and flows of energy in the space, about picking up on the fleeting images and stories that we exist in and amongst...listening and following, with plenty of time,...in candle-light, moonlight, green light. Something that informs me is what my long-time teacher/collaborator Tetsuro Fukuhara writes: “In our modern industrial world people say that the spirit (inside) belongs to the body, and the environment (outside) belongs to the space around us. In our performance as time passes, little by little the spirit (inside) will appear in the space, and the environment (outside) will change as the body passes through. This exchange between the spirit and the environment is only possible if we don’t consume our bodies energy in the dance by our conscious energy.”
This one was inspired by a lengthy meandering exploration in the river and its banks, - a flux of tension and release, somatic images of lifeless hardened shell and the pulsing river inside. (No frogs were harmed in the making of this.) What and where are the hooks our breath gets caught on? If we find to them, can we release the energy built into those knots?
I created a ring from willow and old log/onion sacks... There's something in this 'net world' about the futility of us longing to feel in control...of our bodies, nature, the world. Related,... I am reminded of Stephanie Skura teaching an improvisation class: "Every moment is both intention and surrender." Interesting to feel this at play in real life, in making performance. "I can tell by the way the trees beat, after so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes that a storm is coming, and I hear the far-off fields say things I can't bear without a friend, I can't love without a sister. The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on across the woods and across time, and the world looks as if it had no age: the landscape, like a line in the psalm book, is seriousness and weight and eternity. What we choose to fight is so tiny! What fights with us is so great. If only we would let ourselves be dominated as things do by some immense storm, we would become strong too, and not need names. When we win it's with small things, and the triumph itself makes us small. What is extraordinary and eternal does not want to be bent by us. I mean the Angel who appeared to the wrestlers of the Old Testament: when the wrestlers' sinews grew long like metal strings, he felt them under his fingers like chords of deep music. Whoever was beaten by this Angel (who often simply declined the fight) went away proud and strengthened and great from that harsh hand, that kneaded him as if to change his shape. Winning does not tempt that man. This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively, by constantly greater beings." The Man Watching, by Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Robert Bly)
I found this root bobbing in the river whilst wading through the shallows, and climbing over what floodwaters had dammed up. I felt respect for its washed out form and the thought of its history, - what was once under in the dark earth now exposed and telling of its energy. I've included a few chosen clips here of the bramble on the move...and me, sharing the space.
I called this scene 'Past' because this sensory material brought up a strong felt sense of my history, ...all that has/have come before me, what is housed in the grain of the body. - like sand but closer to mother nourishment plenty abundance what did I do with abundance? soft milky smell coating my skin don't wash poor man's shine all that came before me is in here the shame, fear, anger, pride, joy, abundance to produce this tiny grain - (excerpt from notebook)
This piece of metal, an old car part I found on the dirt track, became key in an exploration into the omni-presence of nature's witness, eyes-everywhere, seen-it-all presence, the many faces of Puck perhaps, in a mixture of child-like characters and more trickster-like masked presences. An emotional intensity developed with the material, and the wire attracted those knotted places in the body to speak, like tumbleweed caught in the fence.