So, this past thursday was VERY full with my friend Ashley and I driving into Baton Rouge in order to make some movement (me not her) and capture some footage (me and her) at an old Abandoned Pier along the Mississippi River. I found new movements AND new methods, and do so wish there was more time to return there in this wondrous heat, with other bodies, other artists over every ilk to begin imagining additional props and configurations of the space and lighting and audience and so on… hmmm. It’s a vision which in many ways feels plausible except that I wouldn’t know when. Maybe December will yield some time and I can convince some people I meet in the meantime to take a weeklong trip to Louisiana.
I had Ashley read from an excerpt of Tola’s writings (which were responses from earlier collaborations and conversations that he and I shared) as I moved — first she read only the first section, and eventually she moved on to incorporate the entire thing (quoted below). The piece ran for an uninterrupted 8.5 minutes of improvisation with very little to be edited out. It was wonderful this richness of listening, looking and moving… the text like a score of some sort but its repetition giving me the chance to both return and depart from original gestures or emotions related to those gestures. This way of working I have used in the past with some of Meg Stuart’s exercises—prep recording myself reading the text and playing it back (but only once) as I began movement. I feel like I have a foot on the ground again with this process, despite all the actual feet leaving off the ground as I climb and dangle and fall…
The text (written by Tola Brennan):
So you find yourself inside yourself. Scale has shifted. A little organism flowing through those small, deep and invisible crevices of a fluid body. You observe from two places at once. Both a little bullet train in the recesses of the earth and an observer lying in a bed. Covers pulled up. So comfortable you can barely move. Rest and repose so ecstatic. One small step from death. A sickness, an affliction so beautiful in its onset. But this pause is broken by a shout. I am here.
I have a knotted and twisted array of yellow hairs growing from the underside of my neck. Black leathery skin across my shoulders. Little brass bells float in untraceable contours around my form. A glass of water I demand. No choice but to obey. I relate that I am a traveller. A narration long, drab but with moments not quickly forgotten. A worthwhile tale, though slightly singed around the edges. You see many creases in the paper of my being. Frightened, I flee. Paper now soggy, taken back to its making- that moment when fibers lay on wire mesh and were dried by sun. A paper-making escapade that was. A golden day full of shadows.