Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve been working on ‘Invisible Mediums of Persuasion’: the inner landscape that provokes movement and stimulates a point of departure. Following my interest in chance procedures and indeterminacy, I’ve become excited about utopias, or non-places, and the prospect of navigating towards unknowable, or unattainable outcomes, spaces, configurations, etc. I’m thinking about how the moving body, the performance arena, and possible splinter projects in other media (film, sculpture), can become utopian proposals. I’m thinking that utopia is the umbrella under which a multitude of forms/disciplines/media can co-exist via some kind of proximity. I think this perspective will help me make something other than performances.
The impossibility of constructing utopia is affecting how I’m considering collaboration. I just sent an open invitation to a group of fellow artists (of various media) to show up whenever they feel like it. The only instructions are to participate in some way (watching is also participating), and to share any kind of documentation/ archive they might capture during the rehearsal. I’m working on a series of instructions and questions that serve as points of departure to activate an open, improvised terrain to collaborate within. These instructions are to be interpreted by whoever shows up at the studio, and any interpretation is valid. I’m looking forward to seeing how this goes.
The score I arrived at today is a 2-hour meditation that combines some of the practices I’ve been developing in ‘peripheral aesthetics’: improvising with peripheral vision, sound, and sensation. In each instance, the doer’s focus is simultaneously transfixed on an activity, while cues for that activity become muddier and harder to grasp. It’s as if a deepened engagement in the activity makes it more difficult to orient yourself within the activity, diluting perspectives of the body and making space for an imaginary, ‘utopian’ body.
I’ve not perfected the wording, but here’s the score so far:
1) Emptying the body
a. Using slow, continuous movement, peel your skin off onto the floor
b. Free of your skin, whip all of your body fluids, organs, and tissues onto the walls and ceiling
c. Free of all liquids, hold challenging positions that fatigue the muscles. Sense their fibers break off and crumble into dust piles around the room
d. Only bones, stand and maintain a stacked position. See your body spread around the room, walls, floor and ceiling. As soon as your skeleton becomes unfixed, collapse to the floor
2) Configure a new Utopian body
a. Keeping the eyes closed, start to move across the room
b. Invent new eyes, new distensions and forms of the body, imagine reproductive systems, sensations, locomotion, etc
c. Make a dance of opening and closing the gaze, wherever your new utopian eyes are, and construct a picture of the room.
d. (at this point there is only open exploration, as language no longer exists as formerly understood)
a. Using your hands, slap the body on the right and left sides
b. Alternating constantly, move from the hips down the legs, up the sides, the arms, and the head
c. Stop the feel the reverberations, and use this sensation to bring you back into your body in the room
d. Open your eyes and see your Utopian body in front of you. It is everywhere you look, opposite to your gaze
e. Dance a duet with your fellow creature. Follow its thrusts, and wiggles. Use peripheral vision to see the whole creature as well as your own body.
Here are a few videos. The first is thrusting from foreign, physical points of leadership, and the second is a duet between my imaginary utopian body/creature and me.
There’s something about outsourcing my experiences to a task, or to the imagination, that is helping me break away from the patterns, sequencing, and perspectives that are so ingrained. I’m excited to go deeper, and also try some of these ideas with a larger group.