I signed up for a 3 week online (no other type right now) workshop with BBeyond Live, the Northern Ireland based performance art organisation. Started last weekend. As the procedure and the workshop space is confidential won’t relay direct events but I wanted to record some of my thoughts around it and some of the utterances that stayed with me:
Productivity is not important in this space, it’s about the procedure. It was a good way to start so as to not stress people out by introducing a looming finish line where productivity is required. Now, productivity was required throughout the workshop, but it was a different kind of productivity- more spontaneous activity.
One thing I found immediately jarring was the tinny, disembodied music floating out from one of the facilitators phones; and the request that we all get up and dance, to ‘loosen out’. Oh christ how I detest being asked to dance in front of my laptop, cramped up in my bedroom, performance art workshop or not. But there you go- how were the workshop facilitators to know of the prickling self consciousness, crippling awkwardness and deep psychological misgivings that being asked to dance in front of my laptop would incite within my cranium and limbs?
Some of the things that were said in the attendees introductions that I was interested in:
to inhabit your body is a wonderful thing
drawing became a compulsion
recovery is not a linear trajectory
an outside observer quoting an objective/putting your head over the paraphet
going to a church service in every church in belfast
I feel like my whole entire world closed down. Living in a box. Lack of contact with other humans.
the notion of talking gibberish
thoughts around who you make performance for- yourself or for the audience?
Later in the workshop we were asked to go for a walk. And observe something new that we had not given our attention to previously. So I took Annie for a walk down the road outside our house and gave my attention to the wall of an old building down the lane nearby. Apparently this was once a cottage inhabited by a lady called Greta who lived there all her life with no running water or electricity. Outside the wall of the building had been roughly concreted over some time ago, and now the concrete had come off in places , revealing the textures of the wall beneath. Interesting textures and kind of map like as a visual.
Upon returning we had to do facial touch exercises combines with mark making. During these I thought about lockdown/my capsizing face/recognition of ageing/fear of not getting everything done/despair and rage/I WILL be successful/ I am NOT going to fade out and go away.
It was worth the time sacrifice with my kids to do the workshop, despite being asked to dance. Listening to and being in a performance art space, with like minded people, was great. And the physicality being asked of us was not challenging in one way and quite challenging in another. Having to sit with myself for 4.5 hours is another type of challenge altogether.