Have always remembered to take the time to write post performance thoughts since Aine Philips advised.. she said make sure you do it while the memories of the experience are fresh. Sure enough I’m already forgetting and it was only on Thursday evening and it is Sat night now.
I travelled up and blogged about that. sitting on trains, churning stomach, at forty bloody seven!
Upon arrival, only Jen there and Brian in alley having a smoke. How lovely to see them both and I knew it would be ok, because if only him and Jen and Stephanie were there it would have been ok. But the empty space made me have a little laugh to myself- I mean what exactly had I been expecting? Brian, being the legend that he is, helped me chalk out my prop of the words THIS IS NOT THE END in Ogham script onto the paving stones on the ground outside the gallery.
Then I went up and got changed and did my superhero mask with my face paint, hastily grabbed from my studio the day before. I’d looked around a bit for some red materials and red leggings, kind of knowing I would find neither with the environs of Ennis. That was ok, Ive learned to work with what I have. I took my now traditional pre performance selfie – to remind myself that this, like everything, will pass
Then down I went, barefoot. Ironically I had thought about wearing my slippers downstairs as the floor and toilet floor would undoubtedly not be the cleanest. Remembering that I was about to go out to the the alley (Joys entry) to perform in bare feel I realised the uselessness of this. I’d been freezing all the way up on the various parts of the journey and had anticipated being freezing during the performance. This was not the case. Adrenalin is an interesting chemical state.
Off I went. I was glad immediately that I’d no shoes on. I felt connected to the ground. The other big advantage was that there was music playing in the alley, coming out of the pub opposite presumably. As someone who detests silence ( In case I might hear a bodily function like chewing or worse) and who has the radio on at home all the time- this was a relief. I’d thought Id have to perform, al fresco, without music, as the music would only be heard inside. I was going with Pauline Olivero again, specifically Bye Bye Butterly and I of IV, well these to start with and as I found out after that I performed for just over 30 mins, these are the only tracks that those in the gallery space would have heard as they add up to 30 mins or so. I chose them again for their other worldly context, as the the Swedish journalist who covered Ad Spatium rather fabulously said, they sounded like like tuning into an extra terrestrial radio station. Copy right situation remains murky..
Anyway I felt quite exhilarated but it was definitely time to finish when I did. I had no more to offer at this point. To say it was an enjoyable experience is wrong but my questioning of the validity of the reasons why I was doing what I was doing did dissipate while making the actions. I simply had not the capacity to dwell on them, my main focus being on crafting what felt like appropriate movements for the space. Ever since the week before. when I had been crouched in the playground of a school I was painting a mural in, working, when all of a sudden the bell rang and I had been surrounded by surging small children jumping skipping and running, coming out on their break time, I had been unable to stop thinking about the joy and carelessness and infinite immortality of their movement. It seemed to me to be the only thing that I needed to focus on and to try and seek out, to seek for even a glimpse of this pure joy, these children, secure in their own state of immortality, in the moment. My actions were but a poor echo of those I saw in the playground, and as I knew I could not emulate them nor did I wish to, I wanted to explore and reclaim them as a middle aged woman and to push them and repeat and wrestle with them and present them as a mission statement and as a declaration of my existence. I wanted to use the to claim my right to be in that space at that time.
I am stopping now, as I need more time to think. I always feel so mortal, so human, so real after and during doing these things. I fell contextualised also. Just one more living breathing human. Next morning I felt a little broken, and my feet were throbbing after all that jumping and running in bare feet on the paving stones, but I didn’t have time to concern myself with my podiatric issues, I was focused on navigating early morning Belfast to get to the train station to catch the 6.50am train. That night, at home, the tiredness and physical exhaustion hit all at once, along with my HRT induced period. My body was waving a white flag. I was glad to get to bed.