Day 1 of the abandoned practices institute is complete and for the first time in a few years I had that nervous first day of class feeling. A room of new faces in a city I have been in for less than 24 hours. I felt welcomed by Matthew, Lin and Mark, and the few students out of the class of 21 that I have had one on one encounters with today are equally friendly.
We developed 3 minute performance sequences over the course of the day in response to a randomly selected abandoned practice. My prompt was from a book called Antiquities and Curiosities of the Church and described an archeological discovery of acoustic jars (or pots) in English churches. These jars were buried in trenches underneath the choir stalls and were thought to have amplified the sound. We worked with responses to these prompts throughout the day and honed the material by performing it in repetition and transposing the actions through a series of rules, instructions, limitations.
I have done similar exercises with students of mine at the University of Glasgow, yet it feels important to be on the other side of the (imaginary) lectern, to embody and experiment with the practices and pedagogies that I have only ever encountered in writing. I am feeling excited about the depth with which we will be able to explore within the next three weeks.
I also managed to find my first piece of Queer performance art tonight at Defibrillator Gallery. A night of performance from Bruno Isakovic, Joseph Ravens and Tavia David. The venue is an old shop space on N Milwaukee Avenue that hosts performance art from around the world. Last month they hosted a performance festival called Rapid Pulse, which among many US names, included UK artists Kira O’Reilly and Alastair MacLennan reminding me that the performance art community extends far and wide (http://www.dfbrl8r.org).