Time is the enemy

Hello Time

 

You are not my friend.

What is the end in terms of time feels just like the beginning of something.

Now acceptance.

 

Accept that this is what it is.

The beginning at the end.

 

Bugger. Couldn’t have done it differently. Needed the time to get to the beginning.

 

 

Orley

 

 

Escalator accidents 2015, St Pancras

Not sure why I love this poster so much . . .

escalatoraccidents

but it might be the combination of the self-satisfied tone of “Escalator at fault – zero” and the corresponding disapproval of all these drunk people in improper footwear running around with too much luggage and not holding the rail

Experiments in walking with a partner

– follow the green men

– notice beautiful images in the world around you. point them out to your partner, and fail to identify those pointed out to you

– consider what ‘a mutual pace’ might mean

– pay attention to your partner. move however and whenever you like, as the urge arises

– jog together

– think about artists, and activists, and body practitioners, and people with hobbies, and lonely people, and mutual organising, and collective decision making, and cities far away

– watch the brilliantly pink sky. watch it move

– listen to the birds, to the man scraping ice off his car, to the whistle you can’t locate, to each other

– run down the centre of the road. gracefully receive assistance in leaping from one bit of the dotted white line to the next. laugh loudly, if that’s what emerges

– let the other guide you backwards through their eye contact

– walk past a football pitch and think of richard long

– find beautiful objects and explore their new materiality on a frozen morning

– gently navigate a dense copse where men meet for sex at night. step on or over the brambles

– pass through football posts and experience the words, “this is god’s own country”

– watch a running man. wait until you see him again

– retrace steps. follow new paths. notice your tiredness and aches. discover an old, worn stone marker, and try to decipher it together

– yearn to climb over a wall on which a bird hops

– discover instructions for you walk, and shift them into new meanings

– hear your partner say, “none of them made it to my age”. say, “hi”, to the handsome man who walks by

Take 2 on those funny little questions that have messed with my head for the last how ever many weeks. I will not say the wrong week. I will not scare anyone.

The time has come to have another go. I can definitely say reading Jenny’s spurred this on. I should have done it before but feeling stuck has held me back (well obviously – that is of course the nature of being stuck).

A little game I am playing is that I am not allowed to look at the old ones. I haven’t since I wrote them. As part of my presentation I’m not reading over anything – I’m just moving forward. This will change tomorrow. This is the plan. This has nothing to do with stillness and everything to do with process. But not process in relation to stillness. My plans are often based on nothing concrete. This is one of those. Tomorrow I will look at everything.

What have you been doing (as practice)?

  • I have been still with groups of people – friends, colleagues students. This started timed but now ends when the first person ends it.
  • I have been moving lots, improvising generally and then stopping within this.
  • I have been doing a head stand every day
  • I am making a choreographic piece that works with stillness. I work on this most days at the moment. This has nothing to do with DPaR. This has everything to do with DPaR

Who else has done similar kinds of practices?

  • This is the question that is aggravating me the most. In terms of being still every day with other people and alone, this is a human or animal perhaps daily activity. People meditate, people do yoga and hold poses, people embrace and stay in those embraces for long periods of time, people sleep, people sit and watch TV, people freeze when they are nervous, people can be still when they listen, people are still when they want to hide or be invisible, people are still in queues, children try to be still at school, people are still at theatres and tennis matches and in church, ball boys and girls are still (I saw the tennis last week so this is perhaps becoming a running theme)
  • That is all stillness in terms of a practice. The second I move aways from this  – this observation of people being still (and by the way I have no idea what I mean when I say ‘still’ now as I’m between definitions of the word daily), and move in to looking at artists etc I start to get lost. Very very lost. What these people may have done is develop a choreographic work or a painting, or a piece of music. This is not the same. This is crafting. I am doing a practice. There lies my disability. My inability to use what I read, to use my practice and feel like I can move forward with it beyond what it simply is as a practice. This is a presentation of a practice.  (This really should have been part of another question). Deep apologies.
  • You probably want names dear reader: All dance artists at some point, even if not deliberate
  • Douglas Gordon

What texts seem influential or relevant to this practice?

  • Other than the ones I still seem to be reading from before. (I remember I wrote that)
  • I have been looking into articles in Contact Quarterly recently. Has been the most relevant so far other than good ol’ Cage.

What do you plan on doing for your DPaR presentation?

  • A plan to present the state, the messy state, the varied states of my brain during the process. I don’t plan to be cohesive. I plan to let the presentation reflect my process.
  • I am sure I will be still at some point in the presentation. Or attempt to be.

How is it important (How might it matter, so what)

  • My main reason would be that I have become completely obsessed with stillness. I think about it all the time. I am addicted to the tension. I am addicted to its power. This as an observer and an engager. I thought I had selected something simple to do – how wrong was I?
  • It matters to me that I have taken something that I always use in creation for granted. When making pieces I have always used stillness at some point, even if not deliberate. It exists everywhere. But I didn’t think about it in the same way before. I would imagine it will be something I use for a long time from now.
  • It gave me the premise to start making a piece. That matters too – goodness knows what I would have used otherwise.

How will you do it?

  • I will begin to gather all (that is a generous word) of my thoughts.
  • I will join ideas together and organise in my usual scatty strategic way.
  • I will allow my ideas to have a life of their own
  • I will not listen to all my objections and start working instinctively. My questioning has been useful but also a pain in the arse.
  • I will relax
  • I will not think about grades. If I did it would be game over.
  • I will not worry what other people think
  • I will present my lines of flight even though I am not really meant to.
  • I will be still.
  • I will be still more than once Stillness x 2+. I will think about how I am defining stillness as something concrete with a beginning and an end.
  • I will not use PowerPoint

What plans have you made for documenting or production ‘additional materials’ for the project?

  • That would be telling.

OQ/Quack

 

 

 

Little Foxes

We have quite a few children’s “football” classes at the church – but I’ve never really observed one before today (I needed to cross the room to get a projector stand and I was watching for a suitable moment).

The first striking thing was that despite the presence of mini-goals at each end of the space, there were no footballs in sight (not even the foam ones they’ve assured me are all they use). Instead the children were being encouraged to jump along a line of hoops – feet together inside a hoop; jump them apart to straddle the gap between two hoops; together again inside the next hoop etc.

Even for 3/4 year olds, I would have thought this was a pretty straightforward exercise – but no! Clearly it’s actually really hard – only one of the 10 children could do it. The others were all struggling with the idea of alternating feet together and apart, or alternating inside and outside the hoops & a long way off managing to co-ordinate both. In general bringing the feet together and into a hoop seemed much more intuitive than spreading them and jumping to the outside.

However, the next exercise made that one look like child’s play 🙂 This time the instructor demonstrated jumping into and out the other side of hoops with each foot landing separately. The one child who “got” the last exercise could manage feet separately, but not the idea of a zig-zag path – he had to be directed where to jump next each time. All of the other kids, just jumped feet together, with the exception of the only girl, who managed a clear skip (go girl!)

What really struck me about the whole thing was – why is this a “football” class and not a “dance” class – when it has a very similar focus of developing co-ordination of the legs & feet? How come calling it “football” means it can be taught by men and boys will do it, whereas the “Babybop” and “Ballet” classes we have on other days are all taught by women and full of girls?

After the second hoop exercise, the teachers gathered the kids around them and asked “Who thinks they did really well?” distributing stickers accordingly. This seemed like a good time to get the projector stand and it was amazing how little attention I attracted from kids, teachers or parents as I wrestled it down the altar steps and across the floor – I felt like the invisible gorilla in that experiment where people are counting basketball passes. I also felt like I could be invisible, partly because in becoming adult I’d practiced the equivalent of  hoop-jumping skills sufficiently to be able to co-ordinate my body, the stand & the furniture in the way “smoothly”, without disrupting the rhythms of the room.

 

Simon’s questions – 2nd attempt

I’d been thinking about having another go at these anyway, but Paul’s post (and Orley’s comment on my last one) have inspired me

  • What have you been doing (as practice)?

I said to Orley I’ve stopped doing my practice. That’s not entirely true, but it’s become much less well-defined, more diffuse.

I still drink cocoa (usually many cups) every day – cos that’s an addictive behaviour – and I notice this, but I’ve pretty much stopped documenting it.

I try and notice things I do instead of drinking cocoa to get the same effect. For example, when we had the 10 minute break in Monday’s class, I documented this in my notebook afterwards

“Went and pooed. Then walked out, round the woodpile, stood by the bridge, 2 swans passing – felt whatever it is in me that relaxes, relax”

I’ve stopped setting the dawn and hour after dawn alarms and the last time I spent a dawn hour in the church was 10 November. However the interest in dawntime continues through the dawnwalks – I can imagine doing at least two more of those. I also sometimes notice a song coming into my head in a dawntime way – especially if it’s one that’s already been sung there.

I post on the blogs – and I meet my blogfriends (Paul, Orley, Simon, Danielle & Courtney) on Mondays. Considering what needs to be blogged about extends some awareness of practice over the whole week. Sometimes blogging about something leads to another action I wouldn’t otherwise have taken – for example, after blogging that I’d bought a sari, I wore it to class the next Monday (and to therapy yesterday).

Having said the practice has diffused (in time and space) maybe in another sense it has become very precisely focused on trying to stay alert to the connections between my feelings, my movement, my shifting attention and how I’m relating to the space & others in it – in a way that expresses my original impulse to further research how I’d been exploring these things in therapy.

  • Who else has done similar kinds of practices?

I still haven’t really researched this (and now I have official permission from Simon not to :- ) I resonated with the account of Tehching Hsieh’s work by Adrian Heathfield that you asked us to read a few weeks ago, but I didn’t follow that up. I guess I’m interested in practices that unite spiritual practice and art practice (that feels horribly pretentious “My spirituality is art . . .” “My art is deeply spiritual . . .”) so maybe better to voice it as a lesser interest in art practice that does not also work spiritually – or spiritual practice that fails artistically. I also have a strong hunch that practices which succeed artistically & spiritually will turn out to be deeply political. As I wrote that, Ai Weiwei (who I know practically nothing about) popped into my mind.

  • What texts seem influential or relevant to this practice?

The two books I’m reading at the moment & seem really central to how I want to think about this are

“The Meaning of the Body” by Mark Johnson &

“The Feast of the Sorcerer” by Bruce Kapferer

Looking through my notebooks, I see I’ve also taken extensive notes from

“The Reproduction of Space” by Henri Lefebvre

  • What do you plan on doing for your dpar project?

I now have a clear plan – so I’m not going to reveal it here 🙂

  • Why is it important? (How might it matter? So what?)

It matters a lot to me: largely in the same ways that the Gestalt process this year matters. There are things I desperately feel I need to make more sense of, in order to be able to function adequately. This module feels like a space that really supports that effort. The presentation also matters to me as a gift – to my co-researchers and random passers by – and the written materials feel like a gift to my future self (the only person who might take the time to really absorb them)

  • How will you do it?

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”

I am gathering materials

– some of which were created before I started the module (or even thought of doing so)

– some won’t be made till after the presentation

– some contributions from collaborators

– there’s also a “blue sky” element

  • What plans have you made for documenting or producing ‘additional materials’ for the project?

Seem to have just answered this above 🙂

Bourgignon, Bulbs & Banana cake

I spent a lot of time at my favourite table in The Hive today.

This is a photo I took there last week, when my only companion was someone’s lost hat.

trilby

This week I had long conversations with Orley, Paul (sitting outside) and Danielle.

In fact, apart from those conversations, I didn’t really do anything else with my “university day” this week – but I feel like I got real value from the campus time.

I love the way thinking about the “Hows” of this module

  • How is it delivered?
  • How can we support each other?
  • How do I know what to do?

relates so strongly to the “Whats” for me

  • What is my practice?
  • What can I present?
  • What’s the point?

Really inspired me to post more on the blogs here too!

Dawn walk, Paul & Jenny (separately)

Sunrise was at 6.42 today and I could either catch a tube that arrived at 6.34 or 6.44. I was very tempted to get an extra 10 minutes sleep and be 2 minutes late for dawn – but I decided to stay faithful to the score.

However, for some reason, the 6.21 from Notting Hill Gate didn’t run and by the time I reached Putney Bridge, Paul had decided I wasn’t coming and set off on his own!

We shared this view though 🙂

dawn

All Around Me

Stillness all around me. It is everywhere I look. This complicates matters for me. I watch movement I see it everywhere. I watch people I see it. I read, I feel it. I look at a painting, I see it represented. In music I hear it. Does it matter if it is intentional? Stillness to finish, stillness to start. Stillness as the only thing visible.

I am watching ‘Living Architecture: Rudolf Laban and the Geometry of Dance’ on the 3rd floor of our beloved library. At the end of each movement on the axis scale the dancers are still after each movement – for the purpose of the watcher, to clarify the individual movements and arrival points within the scale. This changes the intensity or the visible outcome. It feels remarkably mathematical and removed from humanness which is extremely interesting as the words spoken refer to Laban’s quest for embodying the spiritual in art. There is something so unspiritual in the way that I understand or experience the word when watching these dancers. What a conflict: the logic and maths and the spiritual.

How long do we have to be still for it to be marked as stillness? How much does duration play a part? In watching the A Scale as a chain, any moment of stillness is so fractional I barely see it. If it is irrelevant, unmarked it is something we do not even mention or pay attention to. Stillness requires space just like silence. More than a full stop. More like a new paragraph? Which takes me back to stillness within a context. How we see it is dependent on what comes before, after or alongside, or doesn’t. Is this a choreographing eye that looks at it in this way? Perhaps these things I notice are not of relevance.

Everything is relevant

Anything is relevant

Nothing is relevant

What does it mean to be relevant?

Stillness is everywhere.

Take it any which way. Without getting lost and getting lost all at the same time.