I arrived this morning with no drive.. I just didnt have my usual focus. I was pleased to have just come form a meeting with my photographer friend and collaborator, where I put a date on the performance Night Crawl I have been working on, but I still felt anxious and distracted. That was ok, I just went about getting through my list of tasks anyway.
My first was to watch back the recording of the exaggerated gestures Id made the weekw before. I’d watched it early this morning and was happy to see how disassociated I’d already become with it, as in I was able to watch it without cringing :)
Response to the exaggerated gestures exercise:
Describing it- a dimly lit largish room- you can see a figure standing, who starts to move through a series of disjointed movements- first a crouching squat into a roll back, into a low kneel which ends in a kind of one armed katate chop forward. Then they stand, become stiff, bending arms at elbow and pivoting through their trunk and stabbing one arm out in a jabbing motion. Then swivelling back to facing forward, reaching one arm up to take an imaginary object. Object is held at face level and figure opens theit mouth and makes a licking action. Figure then walks to other end of mat and repeats gestures.
As said I feel fairly ambivilant, it is underwhelming, which I am ok with.
Associations that it triggers- that this person likes moving and takes moving seriously. Some triggers might be action, martial arts, mime artistry.
It feels more or less ok to watch myself- I am getting a teeny bit better about this. I remind myself, I am doing this by choice. How much does it matter how I look if what I am doing is purposeful towards getting closer to my goals? ( I say more or less here because I am still a human female being, who has spent a lifetime being exposed to the normal social and cultural conditioning which champions certain female beauty standards)
Watching the work: I can watch the work with an interest of how the movements look via the recording made on my phones camera as opposed to how they felt to make. It doesnt change my perception of the work as such?
If I could change anything I would take a wider angle so the whole pattern of movement could be seen. Some of it being cut out is annoying to to watch. Also I would have liked to have seen the last part that my phone cut out.
What was successful: I was drawn towards the tiny, shrunken movements and what happened to the gestures when this was done. They no longer looked like gestures (in so much as the previous ones did I suppose) but something else entirely. I thought this was interesting.
Yes I could see tension, especially in the roll backs to the forceful jabbing, and in teh robotic swing around and the purposeful icecream licks that I tried to own but didnt quite succeed :)
I didnt see the performance drop as I hadn’t really thought of it as a performance! Maybe this is the answer, just think of it as an exercise not a performance :)
Spatially my body was inhabiting the screen space and more. I dont like lots of space around the edge, I like the figure to dominate the screen, but I am definitey not inhabiting the room yet.. I am not comfortable doing this yet. I need to work on this. Maybe stage a full crawl around the floor, as opposed to the edge of the room? Or cral around blindfolded?
Face and eyes read blank, concentration. I look old.
Next: What I did today:
Inspired by the images of the exaggerated crawl in my head I started with this:
I was interested in occupying the whole of the frame- looking from the viewers point of view as if I was pushing against an invisible boundary of a rectangular box. It started hurting my back after about 5 repetitions so I kept it short. I will try it again with added gestures that might emphasise the suggestion of a box shape.
Then I went through the alphabet
I had not practiced the movements from A-Z for a while and had forgotten how some of them literally flow into the next. This was completely unintentional. It brought to mind a slideshow I made when in the process of developing the alphabet
I had tried to put these photos together in a flowing pattern- which I can see a little of also in the alphabet sequence.
Then to finish I tried a go at a performance idea I have based around the concept of the laughing buddha- which is currently called The Best Medicine.
See the resemblance :)
The idea came from remembering Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypze Now- and his dark threatening presence, presented half in shadow and unpredictable
The idea is a golden painted figure in golden robes- a lifesize buddha- sat x-leggged in repose, un moving, eyes closed. In front of them sits a bowl. If a coin is thrown in the buddha figure ‘wakes up’ at the clattering sound and laughs loudly. Then returns to a meditative stillness. The concept being that of course, laughter is the best medicine, but there is a price, like everything in life. Can happiness be bought? I am interested in the juxtaposition of the jolly buddha with the un-predicatablity of the mad Colonel Kurtz. There are also obvious connotations with homelessness and begging. Would need to be treated carefully and any money that was actually put into the bowl would need to be donated. Or would you give them money to throw? Liek a parent gives their kid a copper to throw into the wishing well? This idea is very much at a starting stage. The idea of myself (cant afford to pay someone else right now :) ) being the jolly laughing buddha, as a bony 44 year old white female, adds another layer of surreality. Public space? Gallery? Festival? I will cogitate further about this..