Imagine a community in which to make work. What are its characteristics?

there are spaces to work in and to show stuff

there is supportive incubation

there are willing collaborators

there is a critical discourse around the work

there is response and reflection

there is rigour

it is a place without unhealthy competition

it is a place for experimentation, risk and bravery

A note on Collaboration

Collaboration as a negotiation between holding on and letting go.

One example of letting go:

In collaborating with Peyton I had to let go of my perceived notions of process:

Thursday – I was asked to dance with a rake as if I was seducing it.

Friday – I was chewing bubblegum and hula hooping.

Monday – the trio had been stripped back to the call and response of confessional texts that appeared in the final presentation.

This was a liberating approach to developing ideas where it became more important to throw ideas away than to hold on to them.

A note on structure

perf score

The above performance score represents the pre-determined structure that all 4 groups of 6 would be working with for their 18-minute performances. Each group member devised a 2 minute solo and a 3 minute trio (and would also perform in two other group member’s trios).

I was randomly assigned the letter B, so I performed my solo between minutes 1 and 3 and my trio with Kim (D) and Duff (E) between minutes 3 and 6. I also performed in Duff’s trio (12-15) and Peyton’s trio (15-18).

This chance approach to structuring the work perhaps inevitably led to moments of fractured meaning as the solos would take place concurrently with the trios. However, there were also accidental moments of synergy when two arbitrarily positioned pieces of material would speak to each other (arguably though there is nothing accidental about this as we were all working from the same abandoned practice starting point).

Having roughly staggered through our piece on the morning of Monday 21st July. We were able to recognise and embellish moments of confluence among the diverse elements of material. Costume became either black or white. There were a number of props or objects transported from their natural setting (a tree branch, mulch, a rock, stones, daisies) or from a garden (the rake). There were recurring uses of a gentle, calming soundscape or written signs of text.

This approach allowed me to think about our constituent elements as if they were part of one 18 minute performance, yet at no point was I worried about what the piece would ‘mean’. I could trust in the robust nature of the structure and each participant’s process, knowing that we had all developed ideas from the same point of departure – the Ornamental Hermit.