I am not a Village

I’ve been sorely neglectful of IAMNAV (www.iamnotavillage.com) for too long now. Conversations have been had & ideas bubbling away but I suppose I’ve been focussing more on my own self-care after loving every moment of the Guest Projects Residency but afterwards crashing very hard. Directing & performing in a massively ambitious project about something I feel so deeply emotional about is an amazing outlet but somehow I fell over an edge. The deaths of Jah Spirit & June Griffin just before the Residency began have a lot to do with this too. In many ways I developed the project as a way to focus the anger & helplessness we all felt after Jah Spirit was forced from his home & beautiful business on Broadway market. He never gave up the fight, he was just too good a soul to believe that such injustice could go uncorrected, & I am sure that the stress shortened his beautiful life. He should still be here with us & his absence is stark testament to the stupid greedy, capitalist, racist values of this sick society. Similarly June was visibly deteriorating in the last few years of her life & the constant bullying by the appalling Site manager at Regent Studios & the steady exodus of all of us who made that place such an inspiring & loving community that loved & valued her so much were at least in part to blame for this deterioration. I loved these dear spirits, and the giant turnouts at their funerals & memorials & the ripples beyond that testify to the absolute fact that I was far from alone here. RIP Beautiful Souls, I am truly blessed to have known you for as long & as well as I did.

It was also rather disorientating essentially creating an artistic reconstruction of my former life & community in the Guest projects space, which was situated next door but one to my old home. During the month numerous people remarked on arrival: “I didn’t know that things like this still happened in Hackney”, by which they variously said they meant the community vibe, interactiveness, ramshackleness, hive of industryness, friendliness, music, food & life, many commented that I’d essentially decorated the place to look like Unit 61 Regent Studios. It is very, umm, strange, to be forced to essentially commodify (though most events were free) what was once just daily living in order for it to exist at all.

Then there’s the fact that the situation the film is about also forced me out. When we left our home after the rent was raised 140% my soul & heart just couldn’t handle the situation anymore where practically every person or place I encountered would soon be, or would recently have been, pushed out too, so I jumped on the opportunity of a cheap home/studio in Folkestone where I had also just begun Tamalpa http://www.tamalpa-uk.org/ training. I can live here because there are a lot of other exiled Londoners here too.. it is also nice to live by the sea. There are many good things about being here & in some ways I probably enjoy London even more now, am there practically every week, and I’m definitely a less stressed out human being who has, for the first time I think, time to really try to learn to look after myself. But, MAN, I miss my old home, life, community & this predominantly white (frequently racist & not massively friendly or lively) English environment with a somewhat segregated Art community just cannot compete with the experiences I’ve had in Camden, Hackney, the Mission, Lower east side & Thames River communities (Yes I’ve been fortunate to have been an active participant in such extraordinary environments, yes they have all been gentrified to all but death, and yes I guess I might be “the Gentrifier”: a character I have occasionally performed..). The things which concern & excite me don’t seem to concern & excite many of the people around me as they did in those previous environments. I guess I’m a bit too dependent on the inspiration of others but I grew up buzzing off the energy of others & it’s a habit it’s hard to break.

As I said I created the project as a way to positively transform & channel the despair & anger I felt about seeing these amazing people & communities dismantled, scattered & displaced. I also imagined & still basically desire that perhaps we can effect some actual change through our danced interactive, inclusive, atmosphere shifting, site specific, participatory actions. My own displacement among so many others, the deaths of my friends & existing in an environment that is so very different (& which has so very many of it’s own issues that i also feel inspired to engage with but find it hard to act on as my main attention is elsewhere) make it sometimes hard to believe that I can be effective in this way. it is also just plain weird working on something that is intrinsically about communication & particular environments alone in a little studio space with a view of the Sea (and on some days France!).. reminds me of meeting an Eastenders script writer working on a script from a warm living room in the Peak district, something I’d always imagined happening given the lack of truth I always felt in those programmes).

I am obviously in my project, the story telling a variation of my story, but my story has ever been social, never that interested in confessing my self tbh.. though having said that I feel some regret that I did not include myself in my early documentaries as I realised only later that my story was very much part of the story, as many people at the time had told me it was, but I do have a reticence about this, which is probably surprising considering my rather loud Extroverted Leo Director Performer external personality.

Anyway, I have gone far with this project & I still believe that a multicultural, socially mixed, multigenerational grass roots community of strong individuals dedicated to making up life as they go along is a brilliant model for human co-existence & is deeply under threat & increasingly replaced by a scared nationalisitic, nuclear family, TV/ Media standing in for community culture, online shopping, fear your neighbour wannabe monocultures. The project is called I am not a Village because Estate agents kept re-branding gentrifying neighbourhoods as “Villages” & the Village is often claimed as a better social model than Urban neighbourhoods, which have often been stigmatised in often classist & racist terms as dirty, dangerous, dodgy places, perhaps because they often contain the refugees, queers, migrants & workers for whom the Villages from which they or their (chosen & natal) families originally hail were not safe or viable for them to remain in. Villages have always appeared to me rather homogenous, threatening places which often don’t welcome outsiders or change whereas it seems to me that to travel, to change, to mix, to miscegenate is both biologically & culturally vital to human development. Of course colonisation, invasion, annexation & spread of disease have also been fruits of these activities but is this inevitable or only so when performed by those who wish for power over paradise? It is the fruits of social control that make this small town feel unpleasing to me: A long time tory council providing scant amenities to the extent that it is hard to find a local doctor, few shops other than chains & supermarkets (& the boutiquey crafts of the “Creative Quarter”), relatively unfriendly natives, segregated Romany & Refugee populations, openly expressed Racism, suspicious return gazes when I smile at strangers, belief in the bile spewed by Daily Mail & TV, few opportunities for young people, constant drunken brawls under my window etc etc.. but then I don’t have any kids or a dog & I observe that these create greater social lubrication. My whole being wants to respond to this & I arrived with a lot of energy to do so: Started canvassing for the Labour Party, even got asked by them to lead workshops in talking to strangers!! Was accepted to be a Mentor at the Kent Action Network, Was funded by Folkestone Fringe to build a human sized puppet theatre to have arguments with strangers that would seem funny as made by puppets, performed in various local endeavours, Folkestone is an Art school, Queer puppet cabaret, Collective Residency, an Architecture of Anxiety show, created a weekly improvisation group. Other plans are also gently bubbling.My work has always been deeply responsive to the environments I am in & the people around me & it has felt rather disassociated to be working on a project about an environment an hour away by train & much further psychologically, an environment that also is now part of “my past”, but one I am still so emotionally, psychologically & spiritually attached to that I often comment that I left my heart & soul behind en route, only me body & mind now living a bit despondantly in Folkestone. Perhaps some of my anger towards this town is just the anger at being forcibly removed from somewhere that was so completely my home, compounded by the racism being such an ugly counterpoint to my deep gratitude of the multicultural nature of all my previous environments & all the fruits & blessings I have received from these experiences (which is a big part of why I feel compelled to make this project, especially in these times of so much mainstream anti “immigrant” “refugee” propaganda, all too easily swallowed by my new less worldly neighbours).

I am writing all this to signal that I think I’m back on track & feel keen to get down to work on the project again. However I notice that I feel a lot of guilt, anxiety & regret at missed opportunities whenever I sit down to work on the project lately & so feel I must offload this before I can continue. Directly after the Residency there was a lot of momentum from the Crew to push the project forward. After such an intensive working period I really should have taken a break but a planned trip was cancelled at the last minute & I didn’t have the energy to sort anything out, & read the absence of a place of safety or escape as indication of how homeless & loveless my life had become (indication also of the pit of depression I was in). I felt compelled to try to act on momentum of the Crew. But I was in such a state! Exhausted, I felt that my heart & nervous system had been under attack, I struggled to breathe, My whole body was in constant pain & I found even walking deeply stressful. My reliable exercise regime didn’t seem to be doing the trick. The Crew ploughed forward planning our next steps with enthusiasm & efficiency but in my stress & anxiety I experienced their enthusiasm as pressure & attack. Many years ago my movement from a quite established film career into dance, performance & improvisation was in part precipitated by a massive burn out after productive & often fun but quite bonkers overwork for the previous 15 or so years. I have ever since tried to avoid getting into that kind of state, & was somewhat fearful that I was heading there again, though, I thought, without nearly so justifiable reasons.  Trying to sort myself out I had a deep tissue massage with the wonderful Sonja Hibbert who said she suspected there was something more structural wrong & sent me to see her colleague Francois, who I’m still seeing, though less frequently now, & who pretzeled me back into shape. I have always limped & been in a certain amount of pain due to a badly set dislocated hip as a Child so didn’t consciously acknowledge how bad it had got & how hard to walk let alone dance until the amazing Osteopath Francois Mezei pointed out I had a twisted pelvis & scoliosis pushing my ribs into my chest (hence the breathlessness!) actually acquired by a fall downstairs during a Butoh class 7 years ago, compounded by the Hip problem. It might be bad for continuity, the lovely IAMNAV choreographer Rebecca commented a lot on how much worse my Limp had got when we viewd the rushes during the Residency.  I am now almost back to my old /younger self which is very exciting, almost worth the pain to be so grateful to be free of it!.. we have so far mostly filmed the earlier scenes in the movie so I guess my milder Limp will just be viewed as part of my transformation, or maybe I will only dance in the remaining scenes!

I had found the Tamalpa work very supportive of the IAMNAV work during Level 1/ my first year in Folkestone. It was monthly & really helped me through my difficult re-adjustment to a new environment. I therefore thought that to continue straight through to Level 2 might help get my mind & body back together, although this would mean going away for most of July & August for full time training therefore abandoning development of the project during that time as well as the many plans I had set in motion to respond positively to my reservations about Folkestone & missing the whole Summer season (really the only time an English Seaside town is not a bit depressing).

Level 2 is more intense than Level 1 (& I think that out Level 1 Trainer more attuned to our emotional needs); It goes much deeper into Trauma, Cultural diversity, Leadership, Therapy & expanding your personal work to working with others as Coach, Therapist or Trainer. I was attracted to the work as it combines healing with multiple Art practices: particularly Dance, Drawing, Writing & Performance with Emotional & Socio-Political engagement emotionally. This felt like a perfect match with a project as complex, challenging, ambitious & multifaceted as IAMNAV & potentially actively supportive of my emotional health & that of collaborators & participants. I also feel that somewhere in the combination of the 2 projects lies a really exciting new way of working.

However I rather naively underestimated how hard it would be to engage on such a deep level with my own Trauma. The training provided a safe environment in which to go far & deep. When I returned to Folkestone I was enthralled to explore that which I had unearthed on a deeper level & ploughed voraciously through the reading list. Amazingly, considering the premises of the training I was so hungry for knowledge & information I kept my explorations on far too mental a level at the expense of accompanying body & imaginary work. Coincidentally my superviser was unwell & the support I’d previously had from my very dance/ somatic community in London & then the support from Tamalpa Level 1 teacher & students led me to think that I did not need the recommended therapeutic support (I also have a longstanding distrust of therapists from my previous burnout experiences as too many stay only with communication with the mind, which makes my neglect of the body & imaginary work all the more hard to fathom.. a good Lesson!). I compounded the isolation I was already feeling from being extracted from my community & the location of my primary project. I fell down a Rabbithole of quite intense isolation & depression from which I am only now beginning to emerge having reached out to my new friends in Folkestone, friends in London & others now scattered around the world, my IAMNAV collaborators, my fellow Level 1 & 2 Students, & a Family constellation therapist. My Tamalpa teacher also returned to full fitness & we are again working together.

So now I must absolve myself of my guilt for taking this time out of my project. I have regrets. Of course many more people & places have disappeared from Hackney that I wish I had recorded. Some Crew members have had to reduce their participation due to other commitments, & perhaps my evacuation for so long (or is that the guilt speaking?)

Before I went away we were making plans for collaborations with Leila McMillan & Muxima cafe on Roman road, a Residency at Dalston Library, a Kids day out at the community canal garden & Jam Todiwalla’s Victoria Park cafe (which is now no more), Randall Matthews & Chats Palace, the Yard theatre. Some of these also didn’t happen as planned because we didn’t receive Arts council funding for the 3rd time in a row which added to my negative feelings but I have not been a good communicater while going through this time & can only hope that these collaboraters can maintain their belief in the project as I re-emerge & re-connect.

All is not lost unlike what the Depression kept telling me. I have stayed very much in touch with many members of the performers & crew. Yue Wang will come to Folkestone for the day next week to plot & plan with me. I have a phone meeting with Denise Perry of the Arts Council & am beginning to develop YET ANOTHER application. I have also been gaining contacts with people in Film London, BFI & Screen South as I increasingly believe in this project as a Film as much as Performance events. I met with Carol Grimes, a friend & collaborater of mine & Randolph’s with whom I hope I and he collaborate also with on the Chat Palace scene. I have been doing weekly shared practice with a number of dancer friends in Nunhead in Southeast London, from which is emerging an exciting collaboration & many ideas with Tania Soubry around the Club & Protest scenes. I need to follow up Lamin’s suggestion that we have an event at the Netil market, for which he has put me in touch with the organisers of that. I have had an exciting idea about who can play the Banner makers (Watch this space!). I will meet with Sally Dean in a few weeks to work on my Saffron Hill character.

I now have to email Yue & explain why I didn’t do the work I said I would today & instead spent so many hours processing, writing & re-writing this. I think she’ll agree that the time is not badly spent. This is an instance where mental therapeutic work is helpful. I started to write this as I had sat down to work on writing blurbs for an assemble Editor & Web developer and to begin the necessary correspondents for picking up the pieces & just felt overwhelmed with Guilt & Regret. I know that my mental & physical state are vastly improved now & I’m ready to roll so decided to write this as a mental clean out so I can feel fresher & clearer when I do resume operations. I am not really writing this to anybody but I do think that’s part of my process & therefore relevant to put on this her blog o mine. Two years on from leaving Regent Studios I think the Trauma is healing, but the anger at the injustices of this stupid dominant culture remains & so much else has arisen to inspire more anger, more need to transform & channel this anger into action which uplifts as much as it reflects. There are a lot of positive actions happening at the moment & discussions for collaborations with these with this project. ONWARDS! VENCEREMOS! XXX

 

 

 

 

Where am i now?

I have not blogged here since 56 days before I left Regent Studios which probably is as good an illustration as any as the state (stasis) of mind I’ve been in since that time. It’s like there I was both merrily & unmerrily bobbing along in my life in all its ups downs & sidewayses and a great whale of the displacement wrought by the stupid greed of gentrification & neo-liberalism came & gobbled up me & all Life as I knew it. It’s not that life has been awful, I have received many blessings it just sonehow has not felt like “my life”. The last months in Regent Studios were pretty amazing, I remember that every time I started to falter & wobble with fear of what I was about to lose someone was there to catch me, to care & to understand, there was so very much love & joy & laughter & productivity. It was probably one of the loveliest & most validating times in my whole life culminating in a stupendously glorious final Drawing & Dancing society (in unit 61 anyway) & amaaaazing Leaving party. Thibaut, Victoria & Keith coming to help us pack, lovely sense of communion with Pepa, Mark, Noemie & Angi, neighbours, the neighbourhood, visits from Stu & Robert & Love & Love & Love & Love: It wasn’t just my tragedy but one felt my 100s who’d been touched by all that we/ I had created & activated in that amazing place. Victoria & Thibaut then waved me off on a magical mystery tour to figure out where next to go, I visited Ella in Wales, Rachel S. in Liverpool, Chryssa in Bristol, Rachel B & Cally in Devon, Nicole, Vinnie & Mara in Amsterdam, my car then broke down outside my mum’s house & I just stayed there, barely leaving the house for about a month until after NYE. Just before we’d left Regent studios I’d done a Tamalpa introduction course in Folkestone & there had been told about the Creative Quarter there  with accomodation & studio spaces for Artists. On the whole of my travel I had a suspicion that I would write to them and take the course. I’d long been a fan of Anna Halprin, found the weekend very nurturing & had also long wanted to live by the Sea. Just before Christmas I wrote & was immediately offered a one bed flat, which I viewed & singned the lease for 2 days later, having visited Folkestone only for the 2 days of Tamalpa, other than as a child catching ferries with my folks. I knew no-one there, but met a wonderful lady called Karen in the Vintage shop across the street the day I viewed the flat & practically everyone I spoke to told me to contact Bean, Benji & Andre at Performance space. All of these people have remained the core of my life here, people I feel incredibly at home with & value highly, I have also met a very substantial number of other people here who are great & make me happy to know but I don’t know that I have ever truly found my feet here. I do love living near the Sea, near more natural environments, I Do love the friends I have made & am very fond of many others. I now have a lovely flat with sea views & my first ever studio of my own. I work & think better here, my head is in many ways clearer, I am healthier. I have developed various collaborations & had some marvellous times. I really got a lot from the first year of Tamalpa training which culminated in making my first painting (a Giant self portrait) in 30 years & a very satisfying final ritual performance. I also made some substantial strides with the I am not a Village project, particularly with a month’s Residency at Yinka Shonibare’s Guest Projects space in April of this year. On paper my quality of life is probably higher than it was in Hackney. But my homesickness.. solastalgia.. hiraeth persist & deepen.. hugging my friends Michael & Quintina aboard the ArtsArk on the River Thames Fireworks all around on Friday night, talking of amazing times, planning future ones I was reminded of the depths of madhappiness that were so frequently mine in my old life. I have some wonderful times here, yesterday i ran stripping toward the Sea with 16 other people & Skyla the dog while Manuel photographed us, 16 other awesome & lovely people I feel included & interested by. Maybe it’s ‘cos here I’m a participant rather than prime instigater that makes it feel less magic, maybe because everything seems to have a reason or a cost, people are working at Art making rather than living an Art Life; maybe it’s the cumudgeonlyness & frequent racism of many of the local populatioon, the lack of constant stimulation from strangers that London & other cities have always provided? Maybe it’s simply the fact that I live alone & feel tremendously isolated because of it? I was beginning to feel much happier in Folkestone before I went to Tamalpa training in California this Summer though I was feeling physically & emotionally wrecked after the  amazing but gruelling I am not a Village Residency in April. The Tamalpa training really wrecked me too. Is this my… tbc

 

 

 

56 days to leave Regent studios

Another quietly devastating solastalgic shift is occurring.

i’m freaking out about having to leave my home/studio/community of the past 12 years ‘cos the landlords raised the rent 70% And I don’t know where to go. I’ve helped 3 friends move out of of similar artist spaces in just the past few weeks plus seen passing clouds added to the seemingly never-ending closing venues. I’ve been involved in many campaigns to stop the tide and been making a live dance film tracking and responding to the changes in a positive way but i feel depleted and despairing that any vibrant diverse urban culture will be allowed to thrive anywhere and helpless and powerless to change anything. Is there hope out there? Anywhere? All and any suggestions grarefully received..

This is what I wrote last night but hesitated to post to facebook. I want also to celebrate what I (and many others) have had and done in:

FOR 12 YEARS MY PRIMARY RELATIONSHIP HAS BEEN WITH A BUILDING! NO WONDER I’M FREAKING OUT!

In the beginning there was Red Shoe Films , upstairs at Unit 73a Regent studios. We did our own version of First Thursdays, one of which produced a promo video for the Deptford Beach Babes. I also developed my own performances like: the 7000 year old woman and a Sailor went to Sea and shot stuff for friends like Rachel Sweeney and Marnie Orr. These were years when I’d lost my love of film and was developing a love of dance, improvisation and performance, moving between so many forms I often felt lost, where before I’d always been more sure and focussed, I was unhappy, angry, drunk, lonely, but dancing and socialising a lot so happily found my way slowly through and out of a depression that had been a long time coming, and many new and more wonderful relationships.

So many people rehearsed, experimented, played, recorded, practiced, yogaed, showed, watched, shared and ate, drank and danced, shouted, sang and screeched in that space. In around 2011 I moved downstairs to a bigger unit and began a masters degree in Performance and creative research at Roehampton university. Where I started working on a promenade version of what has become the behemoth I am not a Village project.

In the new Unit 61, we began with a Space Launch:

Space Launch Studio Warming Invitation

and over the years I did a variety of events with a variety of people such as the Voyage of the Dead, which made good use of the talents of the studio incumbants of that time . I also started (with Ella Guru and Maryam Hashemi and later with Adam Vass) the Drawing and Dancing society (which is still running 5 years later though more sporadically since Ella moved to Hastings) and a weekly improvisation practice group called Wet Granny which led to some collaborations such as Ironic title and relationships with people I still perform with when the need or occasion arises. Some of us also performed with Ryan Jordan in a collaboration with noise=noise on 11.11.11.

Bonfire Madigan Shive performed a Music show for Adults and Children here with local performers Tank and Trumpet

Bonfire Madigan at Liminal Zone

We also hosted the Artists’ Choir and the Awesome Threesome (Inga and Thibaut), with whom I also performed in Amsterdam. Various friends like Nwando Ebizie and Helen Schoene and Matt Webber  and Tete Alencar also hosted excellent events here. Jreena Green had a first sharing of her Josephine Baker story here

and Antonio de la Fe also work-in-prog’d Make meCool here. We did a gorgeous show here with people who’d met at Mary Pearson’s Group residency Converge at Ponderosa (both live and via Skype)

Moving Moveable Feast Two

The brilliant Ethan Folk came here and performed and edited and came up with amazing ideas every 2nd minute, having his first thoughts for his version of The Rites of Spring, Vernae, here.

Throughout this time I had been developing the promenade I did for my dissertation show for Roehampton (at Battersea Arts Centre) into a feature length narrative dance film, I am not a Village and everything basically  got subsumed into that. I began more and more to produce events (often related to IAMNAV) in spaces and places other than Regent studios, though still using the Unit 61 for rehearsals, workshops, sharings, meals, parties, celebrations. We were commissioned by Chisenhale Dance space to make Learning to Play in Victoria Park, Saffron’s Miserarium by Yellow Fish Epic Seattle durational performance festival, a promenade in the Hackney Wicked Festival, and Madigan Shive came to visit again and we shot a scene with her as an Angel of Time and History

 

Sara Valentine (who, like Madigan, I knew from Riot Girl times) came to visit with the Hungry March band (9 of them stayed here with mattresses all over the floor and a big green bus in the carpark.. neighbours got v excited! ) and we also shot a scene with them.

Saffron, Ben and Sammy

Not long after this time of veritable creative and social frenzy we had a big landlord crackdown on our activities and also a change of personnel in the space. My boyfriend moved in as did another couple, Pepa and Eliot, Noemie and her sometimes co-habitee Tanc as well as (handily with so many couples?!?) a psychotherapist, Mark. It became somehow a much more cohesive household rather than a lot of variously communicating individuals living alongside my creative maelstrom. The vibe also changed as Pepa started teaching Yoga and Dance here and Mark teaching Body Mind Centring. Also even though every one of them first came here during one or other of the aforementioned crazy creative events and parties, they weren’t so happy to live this lifestyle on a daily basis and bit by bit eroded my confidence and freedom to experiment here. There were still rehearsals, workshops, discussion gatherings, parties and dinners, but there was somehow no longer the same creative impulses, more restrictions. There were exceptions like when Nanouche Oriano premiered one of her puppet shows at one of our legendary Christmas Day feasts

And the wonderful (Black Dog) Marina Sossi came and did a months residency here and also curated a gorgeous performance event One Note missing

as well as inaugurating another regular set of events, the Creative Conversation dinners. and we did use it for the base for rehearsing the IAMNAV trailer

and for shooting the Broadway market scene.

seke ghosts 2

We also did weekly Augusto Boal style training with the future and creative conversation dinners about everything from Love, to Protection, to Work, to Brexit to Black Lives Matter

But generally it became a lot calmer and more domestic here (actually also in many ways more fractious as suddenly housecleaning and other domestic issues became more emotionally problematic to certain housemates). I missed and still miss the time of creative experimentation and convivial chaos, but definitely this calmer time has also taught me much which is valuable: how to live with a really loving and functional partner, how to keep my temper under the duress of sharing with someone as melodramatic as me,  How to live with people who are much quieter and meeker than me. I’ve learned so much from Mark’s Process Psychotherapy and Body Mind Centring practices, so much from Eliot’s philosophising. I have probably become much more at peace with myself in this time. This has translated into my working practices, my working partnerships with Rebecca and Erifili, Michael, Jeremy and Caroline, Seke, Vanio and many of the other performers have also been incredibly nurturing and educative ( and fun) experiences. I have also learned to control my stage fright which was always a blight on my practices previously (with the help of Rebecca, Erifili, Seke and Mark in particular).

Before I started writing this I was in a bit of a gloom. What have I to show for nearly 12 years of living in one place, what have I got to now share with god know who god knows where? I know I’ve missed out countless moments, events, important people but writing down at least some of what has gone on here has reminded me of a richness and also a development that has occurred that I really hope in many ways can be transposed to those pastures new I am being forced to plough. Maybe I’d been getting gloomy ‘cos I’d stopped writing this blog for so very long.. better get back in the habit again.

Dance class now, well deserved after a day of morning exercises, completing an application to FLAMIN new approaches and blogging which I think is a good foundation for planning these last 56 days. Seyi and Ramon coming over tomorrow to plan playing 2 music gigs here. They are amazing musicians so this will be great. JV coming over at same time too so maybe we’ll plan something., he’s dj’d a lot here and helped organise some of the creative conversation dinners Kaffe Matthews coming over Thursday as she built the soundproofed area as her studio many years ago so i’ve suggested a creative destruction of it and we’re going to plot this. Just received a reply to the rather intense email I had to write to the more difficult flatmate.. do I read it before or after Irineu’s dance class? Whatever happens I’ve got to stop having my inspiration infiltrated by her controlling anxieties. I should also invite the Stop the Blocks people over, perhaps before the Passing Clouds March and I need to organise the:

Hackney Carnival Shoot: Maryam, Rebecca, Michael P, Cameraperson!!! and Michael N, Vanio? Anita? do we need performers or just need them for the:

Passing Clouds shoot

I should invite Richard Dedomenici to do something here! We’ve talked about it so should do it

Thibaut going to come with Inga and Phil Von (YEH!): Hopefully we can do another Drawing and Dancing society while they’re here (have emailed Ella and Adam

AND Need to write Facebook post tagging everyone who ever stayed, performed or was entertained here to ask them what we do for the end and also to ask advices about what and where I go next.

I really hope we end with Keith comin over to do Zombies and Seyi and all the other African drummers, maybe in cahoots with Kaffe destroying the Breeze Block walls! This end-time can be a perfect medley of all the calm, crazy, creative, loving, feasting, sharing, communal, angry, passionate, happy, sad, living collectively, creatively, communally, separately, times we’ve had in these walls in these marvellous years.

Just thought: should we pull an effigy of the architect who allegedly jumped off the roof back onto the roof as a grand finally.. maybe hang him over the side where Probat once reigned on a big bouncy thread as a final farewell gesture?

PROBAT

HOOTS AFOOT!!XXX

 

 

 

192 days- Amikejo

Gotta work today no time to blog b just heard interesting Radio four prog on Borders

Just noting these down briefly for later perusal: made me think of yesterday’s thought, not exactly the same but i think connected:

“To reflect the ongoing issue of human displacement due to economics, war and climate change,  and the discovery of a so-called nomad gene: The variant, called DRD4-7R, is carried by about 20 percent of humans and the unlikelihood of being able to do away with the historically entrenched concept of borders can we not create a “Nomadic Nation”, with which to create treaties with host countries and allegiances to like experienced humans? I think I need to explore this idea more!”

amikejo

Heard about this place Amikejo Described by Neal Ascherson It’s not the same thing but in the family of the same idea therefore worth exploring if explore it I wilt..

PKJ-Amikejo

097-06-amikejo

Also  from T.S. Eliot’s poem East Coker:

We must be still and still moving

Whole poem here:

“East Coker,” from *The Four Quartets*

I.

In my beginning is my end. In succession
Houses rise and fall, crumble, are extended,
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new building, old timber to new fires,
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to the earth
Which is already flesh, fur, and faeces,
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die: there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation
And a time for the wind to break the loosened pane
And to shake the wainscot where the field mouse trots
And to shake the tattered arras woven with a silent motto.

  In my beginning is my end.  Now the light falls
Across the open field, leaving the deep lane 
Shuttered with branches, dark in the afternoon,
Where you lean against a bank while a van passes,
And the deep lane insists on the direction 
Into the village, in the electric heat
Hypnotized. In a warm haze the sultry light
Is absorbed, not reflected, by grey stone.
The dahlias sleep in the empty silence.
Wait for the early owl.
                       In that open field
If you do not come too close, if you do not come too close,
On a summer midnight, you can hear the music 
Of the weak pipe and the little drum
And see them dancing around the bonfire
The association of man and woman 
In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie—
A dignified and commodiois sacrament.
Two and two, necessarye coniunction,
Holding eche other by the hand or the arm
Whiche betokeneth concorde. Round and round the fire
Leaping through the flames, or joined in circles,
Rustically solemn or in rustic laughter
Lifting heavy feet in clumsy shoes,
Earth feet, loam feet, lifted in country mirth
Mirth of those long since under earth
Nourishing the corn. Keeping time,
Keeping the rhythm in their dancing
As in their living in the living seasons
The time of the seasons and the constellations
The time of milking and the time of harvest
The time of the coupling of man and woman
And that of beasts.  Feet rising and falling.
Eating and drinking.  Dung and death.
  Dawn points, and another day
Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
Wrinkles and slides. I am here
Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning.


II.

What is the late November doing
With the disturbance of the spring
And creatures of the summer heat,
And snowdrops writhing under feet
And hollyhocks that aim too high
Red into grey and tumble down
Late roses filled with early snow?
Thunder rolled by the rolling stars
Simulates triumphal cars
Deployed in constellated wars
Scorpion fights against the sun
Until the Sun and Moon go down
Comets weep and Leonids fly
Hunt the heavens and the plains
Whirled in a vortex that shall bring
The world to that destructive fire
Which burns before the ice-cap reigns

  That was a way of putting it—not very satisfactory
A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion,
Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle 
With words and meanings. The poetry does not matter
It was not (to start again) what one had expected.
What was to be the value of the long looked forward to,
Long hope for calm, the autumnal serenity 
And the wisdom of age? Had they deceived us 
Or deceived themselves, the quiet-voiced elders,
bequeathing us merely a receipt for deceit?
The serenity only a deliberate hebitude,
The wisdom only the knowledge of dead secrets
Useless in the darkness into which they peered
Or from which they turned their eyes. There is, it seems to us,
At best, only a limited value
In the knowledge derived from experience.
The knowledge imposes a pattern, and falsifies,
For the pattern is new in every moment
And every moment is a new and shocking
Valuation of all we have been. We are only undeceived
Of that which, deceiving, could no longer harm.
In the middle, not only in the middle of the way
But all the way, in a dark wood, in a bramble,
On the edge of a grimpen, where is no secure foothold,
And menaced by monsters, fancy lights,
Risking enchantment. Do not let me hear
Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,
Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,
Of belonging to another, or to others, or to God.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire 
Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.

  The houses are all gone under the sea.

  The dancers are all gone under the hill.


III.

O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark,
The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant,
The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters,
The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers,
Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees,
Industrial lords and petty contractors, all go into the dark,
And dark the Sun and Moon, and the Almanach de Gotha
And the Stock Exchange Gazette, the Directory of Directors,
And cold the sense and lost the motive of action.
And we all go with them, into the silent funeral,
Nobody's funeral, for there is no one to bury.
I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre, 
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away—
Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen
Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;
Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing—
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony 
Of death and birth.

                         You say I am repeating
Something I have said before. I shall say it again,
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
  You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
  You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
  You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
  You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.


IV.

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer's art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

  Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind of our, and Adam's curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

  The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.

  The chill ascends from feet to knees,
The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.

  The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood—
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.


V.

So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years—
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres
Trying to learn to use words, and every attempt 
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate—but there is no competition—
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

  Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment 
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.

Old men ought to be explorers
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

 

 

193 days to leave Regent studios

The problem with blogging rather than journalling is the greater possibility that someone might see what you wrote. The problem with the modern world is that i am becoming more comfortable with writing on a computer than a Journal. Theoretically I could just write in word and layout in photoshop and keep it all as secret as my journal, but the format of the blog I find very appealing and so it’s hard not to prefer to blog rather than journal (unless I’m drawing which is still more appealing the old lead and ink ways). The problem with this is a reticence to kvetch unless my personal issues feel like they might coincide with issues of more universal import. i.e not just about my own “stuff”.. But where does our individual issues and universal ones begin and end? I saw an interesting lecture/ performance by the remarkable Dr. Charlotte Cooper

How do fat people dance

at the Rebel Man Standard festival at the Yinka Shonibare guest projects space

Charlotte danced and displayed on a screen an essay about being a fat dancer. So much of my internal dialogue of the past few years was explored: As I started to dance in my middle 30s, with a gammy hip and a lifelong negative feeling of being fat I’ve frequently felt a feeling of illegitimacy as I walk into those studios full of skinny young things. My presence is frequently appreciated for my energy and I can accept that (I read it as “wow you’re crippled and old.. so brave to be here with us”) but I dismiss anyone who says they appreciate me for my dance (they’re just “being nice”/ like me and so enjoy whatever I do. Dance in one way or another has been one of my primary activities, concerns and obsessions of over a decade now. It is an integral part of my work and social and leisure life. I have countless friends in various dance communities. Very few days pass without me thinking or talking about or practicing dance or related movement or body work. It is one of my very favourite things, I frequently encourage others to do it and believe that (alongside music) it’s at the very crux of our humanity in it’s “higher” forms and what makes us potentially and ideally a perfect blend of nature and culture. Charlotte danced no better or worse than I, it was a great pleasure to see her move. I have seen much more trained and conventional looking dancers perform and been vastly less engaged. Of course there was also many words to digest, and she is a very intelligent and engaging woman, the music also was a great pleasure. Sometimes it is incredible just to watch a highly trained and “perfected” body doing it’s thing: watching the warm up class at the Royal Ballet was entirely enthralling, uplifting, inspiring and amazing.. and that was just them warming up. But with the amount of dedication I have shown toward the practice why do I still confer this cruelty upon myself, or do I simply not dance enough? As in exploring my own dance in environments other than a club, party or class. (Pepa just said the same thing that she doesn’t dance enough and was inspired that I was moving this morning to do so in her room, and I never question whether she’s a dancer!). Charlotte’s show made me realise how very much I’ve internalised all my anxieties about being a “good enough” or legitimate dancer because of my age, my figure, my hip primarily, I am restricted, there is no doubt, and this is more present in some dance contexts than others. Ballet was somehow validating because my teacher was such an exceptionally individual judger of ability: He saw my development and dedication based on my own terms and praised within those terms rather than terms it would be impossible to attain. I did not feel, except very rarely the same validation within contemporary contexts, which I think too often have a hint of bullshit due to their being so dedicated to pretending not to be connected to ballet, among other things (dishonesty so often leads to bigotry innit?). In African and Butoh contexts I feel a lot more at home and able to be me, but I’ve been very aware of this internals narrative lately. A constant “Don’t try too hard you’ll never be good and you’re bound to injure yourself further”‘ even in a room full of smiling praising welcoming dancers and drummers. Anyway somehow Charlotte externalised and echoed a narrative of “wrongness” that has become so second nature to me that It mostly just forms another rhythm track among all the others occurring in a dance class.

And can I extend this to other things? Pepa just said it’s about the relationship of the “intimate and the political” (She is very good at speaking in this way.. Noemie characterised it as good at thinking and writing “conceptually”) (she also just came to ask to borrow my bike saying “can i be the last day of pesadilla?” which i didn’t at first understand. Pesadilla=nightmare and she knows my bike is the one thing I don’t like to lend. I do like this sentence. Could be a good title for something? She does have a way with words, must remind her of this.

Anyhoo, I started this because I registered my desire to both write in this blog and to talk about some personal, and I can’t imagine interesting to anyone else, thoughts. It’s this problem I’ve had a long while, that I first addressed in my Flotilla of Regrets. That did cure the absolutely debilitating constant nag and drag of regret, waking up each morning with a litany of where I went wrong, but there are still residual lingering thoughts of that malady that I cannot move forth without finding a way to shed or transform. I have a deep and essential belief that my past decisions have closed the doors to the life I should be having. the Longterm Lover, the multiple children, the stable/ communal home, the established art career, the embedment within my community.. and the consecutive belief that it is too late to change or aspire to any of these things, partly because I feel so guilty because I did have opportunities to do and be otherwise. This means that I am essentially constantly diss-ing my current life and relationships. I have an amazing home (for now) and many relationships with people I love and admire. My last boyfriend was and is a wonderful man I am parted from due to our life logistics, we stayed attached a long time and neither of us have hooked up with anyone else, and maybe I will love again.. if I can get over this narrative of regret. Of.. I am disorganised and no institution will ever fund me, of I was a crap lesbian and so don’t have the consistent community my queerer friends established and my longterm queerness lost me potential knowledge of heterosexual getting togetherness, I obvs suffer some internalised homo or bi-phobia as though I’m happy bout the sexual choices of others I never name myself queer or poly or all those other things that are pretty acceptable these days but I somehow cringe to identify myself with. My essential feeling is that I’m awkward, wrong, bad, an outsider, not wanted, unbelonging, but I can’t find a reason that would enable me to find allegiance with others like me (although i guess my vast network of friends who are generally nomadic artistic individualists could be said to be this. The thought of which gives me a thought:

To reflect the ongoing issue of human displacement due to economics, war and climate change,  and the discovery of a so-called nomad gene: The variant, called DRD4-7R, is carried by about 20 percent of humans and the unlikelihood of being able to do away with the historically entrenched concept of borders can we not create a “Nomadic Nation”, with which to create treaties with host countries and allegiances to like experienced humans? I think I need to explore this idea more!

But in the meantime. How can I accept that my life is my life, as Deborah Hay said in Becky Edmunds film “Turn your Fucking Head”, which I saw last week

“WHAT IF WHAT YOU’RE DOING IS WHAT YOU NEED?”

The desire to tackle this actually came from the same performance at which I saw Charlotte, Zinzi Minott was supposed to perform but was replaced by Season Butler‘s Happiness Forgets

season butler happiness forgets

It was framed around the Cosby Show and about autobiography and identity and blackness and feminism and black rights and the complications of self and world (again “the intimate and the personal”) and she said while depressed last winter she binge watched the Cosby show. It made me think about my own current TV and radio addiction. It’s the first time since childhood I remember being so media dependent apart from the times I’ve been so because I was overtly and palpably depressed and how I could be watching and listening less and doing more to create the life I wish for but a part of me has given up and that is sad and silly and contrary to the way I choose to think bout the world and my life.

  1. I am not Old. I am “middle aged” but as far as I can tell that can stretch from 30 to 80 so I’m not even halfway through. I have a lot of living and loving and creating still to do.
  2. I am not “Fat” and if I do have rolls around my middle, bingo wings and a flabby chin am I not sexy still. I noticed during Charlotte’s show sitting with greater comfort, worrying less when my belly showed, noticed the constant self policing I engineer to try to disguise my “fatness”
  3. There is every chance that I will fall in love again with someone who loves me. I could get out more, go more places populated with men/ go on-line, flirt more, look, notice, not assume that everyone I’m attracted to would necessarily not be attracted to me
  4. I can make this project work, I will make this project work, this project is my work, this project works
  5. I will find a more permanent community to live and work in. I know many people all over the world who want the same thing. Losing this place is stimulus not tragedy.
  6. I am a dancer
  7. I am an artist
  8. I am a filmmaker
  9. My experiences add up to vastly more than artschool could ever have afforded me
  10. Not being a mother enables me to spend my time doing self-indulgent things like this, Love and parenting take many forms
  11. There are many people who relate to me: nomadic artistic individualists
  12. I am no more banal and narcissistic than anyone else that these are the fears that trouble my peace of mind
  13. Neo-Liberalism will end and I am part of a world wide movement trying to ensure that it doesn’t take the rest of us down with it when it does

215 days to leave Regent studios

A good Tuesday. Very productive process session with Peter Annan. Was wondering why I was going to therapy when I feel so relatively great. He pointed out that therapy is not just to deal with problems but perhaps also to increase awareness, increase your experience both within yourself and with relation to the rest of the world. Why I like process work, it’s a systematic relating from self through shadow self to our narrative systems to our processing channels into relationship with others and interrelations with the outer/ wider world. Always confusing to hold all these consciousneses together and so a system is very helpful. I am also trying to hold all these things together in I am not a Village and he got very excited about the project and immediately saw it’s relationship to his own situation and to process work in general. Great and amazing. Really helpful as a foundational way of thinking about the project that is also necessary in terms of how I have a continual subtext of needing to work on how I work due to previous burnout, as well as the belief that how we work is as important the the work itself as a micsocosm or model for socio-political behaviour in the world.

Then went to meet Dad to buy him Birthday lunch at the Holly Bush. Delicious Goose then  walk over the Heath to his flat for him to collect some things

Before we went off to the Tate Performing for the Camera exhibition:

Mixed feelings at first, felt only boredom with Yves Klein, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol. Maybe there was something radicalising about the Yves Klein images though, those bored looking naked ladies rolling in paint and surrounded by bored people in suits and pearls

yves-klein-anthropometries-1961

Made it all the more exilerating to see Yayoi Kasuma’s wonderful naked dotty protests

and a familiar set of Yvonne Rainer images:

mangolte

At first I could feel myself desiring movement. Somehow considering these images now at home thanks to the internet (and some images by the same artists not in the exhibition) gives more pleasure/ makes more sense of the stillness. I couldn’t handle at first trying to process the stillness of the images in a gallery full of a loud German teenage school party. Irritated myself with my irritation, me such a fan of the “real world”, antipathy to the silent audience.

Had somehow never before seen these images of Hijikata by Eikoh Hosoe before. Having mostly seen his rather Gothic film work and been less excited. I’d always thought of Ohno as the more humourous and thus warmed to him but these images are glorious

eikohhosoe

eikohhosoe me

SO in tune with their environment, so makes sense of the dancer in their exact location

eikohhosoe hijikata

And others I was shockingly unaware of Gaspard-Félix Tournachon and as Honore Daumier immortalised him as: Nadar Elevating Photography to the Heights of Art, 1862

The creation of unrealities through the theatrical stills

nadar-norme-caprice-chateau-tours-L-6

Hicham Benahoud’s amazingly expressive pictures created in collaboration with his classes of Moroccan school children, through simple props expressing so much their experience under their countries’ regime

Somehow the Feminism evident in the work of Adrian Piper and Valie Export felt weak in this context. token, or do I only read them as Feminist, my limitation? Frances Woodward’s work just made me want to yell “get out of the house more”, as her narcissism, though artful and definitely beautiful, just made her suicide at 22 feel inevitable to me, or is that again reading too much in through the lens of scant knowledge?

fran_1762384b

Why does the Beauty in Hosoe’s work with Hijikata move me so much more than Woodman’s.. Because there’s an external eye. Am I just afraid of Solipsism (as I also discussed in Process session, my irritation about too much “self-indulgence” working on the self, wanting always to balance this to relations to others. Is this like Meta was feeling in Epping forest, as described to me by Barbara: 3 year old child grown up in Hackney and Ljubjana in a natural environment for the first time, runs happily for the first 10 minutes then starts to cry and shout “WE’RE ALL ALONE” and won’t calm down till they encounter other people. Being similarly a city girl is this my feeling. Not wanting to acknowledge my all-aloneness.. I guess Saffron’s relationship to her city is also her trying to noodle all of this out.

Lucy Thane Saffron1

And I guess this discomfort made me adore Boris Mikhailov’s irreverent self-portraits, apparently made because he felt he must explore himself if he was going to always turn his lens on others

boris mikhailov

mikhailov

David Wojnarowitz, Tokyo Rumando and Jemima Stehli, exemplify this tension also in ways more satisfying: The Self, Other and World. Altogether a satisfying exhibition

Left via the Milennium bridge (Dad off to his writing group in Bonington square. Tried to lighten my feeling of loss of my once loved Riverscapes now polluted by the Shard and the other “Sex Toys” blighting our skyline by trying to find humour and balance in them (need a camera and more focus if my photography will improve again!

Decided to drop in on Babs, Rob and Meta on the way home, ate, drank, talked and laughed with them. Yes a very satisfying Tuesday.

 

230 days – Working on myself alone

“Working on myself alone” is the Arnold Mindell book on Process work I’ve been bangin on about. Was going to break my Tuesday rule and do a “proper” work day (as I’ve appointments for much of the next 2 days). But woke up with so much pain from the Afro-Brazilian dance class last night. Loving the lady who’s standing in for Irineu, Lovely choreographies, my body can’t quite get there but my spirit loves it and I’m sure my body catching up after last years rest/ injury time. Decided this morning to dance out the aches and tightnesses and found such pleasure and happiness and a lot of the pain receding. It flashed through my head last night, am I getting too old for this? Jung gave up pleasures of his youth in old age. But I don’t think I’m ready (ever?) to give up the physical and spiritual uplift, mental stimulation and camaraderie that comes with this kind of dancing and think that more I want to find my own dance too, move beyond rehabilitation and management, also not denigrate myself for not dancing like the folk in front and around me, but find my own dance. Have arranged to witness each other’s solo improvisations with Marina Thursday eve over skype, asked Steven does he want to join in too. Glad I’ve Vocabdance and Lady Vendredi trainings this week too. Omari at the class last night, mentioned i want to do something with the film in Hackney Carnival. He up ferit.. must join his Samba school duh! YEH! All coming together, also great to move and have so many thoughts while moving. I’ve too long thought of “work” as writing/ editing/ computer work.. but I’m often told in dance classes “Get back in the room” ‘cos it’s sent my mind to so many places, so surely it’s obvious, as also I’m making a movement piece of work that “work” is also about movement/ dance.

I am going to use Arnold Mindell’s framework for trying to noodle through some of this:

  1. “What paradigm are you following? What is your method? Write it down. Is it your own private mixture, is it based on association, acting out, active imagination, interpretation or repressions, or visualisation?”

I think i began to answer this above. I generally think of writing and editing as “work”, I also often find drawing to be an extremely effective method for working stuff out, especially in eliciting story (though I think some part of me think of this as “cheating” “having fun” “avoiding work”, which is a nonsense as it is in fact so generative. My background is consistently intellectual in terms of parenting and ejumacation (sorry couldn’t resist use of this word) and I have a constant intellectualising narrative framing – and oft inhibiting – so much of what I do. I am my own observer, which makes my transition into filmmaking very understandable – I am my own personal miniature film crew? Working with dancers Kerry and Sadie all those years ago almost literally “blew my mind” as I SAW and THOUGHT (through the camera lens and director’s eye and script) this whole other way to work, from the inside, through kinaesthetics and propriesceptance (though I didn’t know those concepts then) and through working with Space, Speed, Direction.. all things I understood more before as mise en scene, and camera and edited rhythms etc. I have worked with so many different performers trying to unlearn this 2 dimensional linear way of thinking/ working. It seems to me that I am creating a project because I am now at a stage where I have a great deal more tools and experiences in my mental, physical etc kitbag and it’s time to work out how to work with all of these channels with awareness of which I am using, how I am passing through them, what works in each moment.. in life and in work

I am working toward bringing movement into my method but am still a bit hidebound by  aforementioned intellectualism and so much training and influence from others, never been that good at transposing what I learned from workshops into my own practice and teaching, as so many others do so much more efficiently. I think I should perhaps return to some of the trainings I’ve found most efficient, sometimes I took notes and grab some of them: Andrew Morrish, Tim Etchells, Lin Hixson, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Geraldine Pilgrim, Viewpoints (must sign up to Ann Bogart) come most readily to mind. I think I do incorporate stuff I’ve learned from Yumiko and from Yoga and Pilates currently.. pitiful.. but I’ve only just begun

I noticed strongly in Petra Soor’s training the other week how I experienced difficulty from moving from my own kinaesthetic/ proprioceptive channel into the relationship and world channels. I have always preferred to dance alone

but:

I am still a bit confused by where cerebralism is in the processwork framework. Meta-communicator? Am I ruled by my meta-communicator? I am really not sure how to answer Mindell’s question: is it based on association, acting out, active imagination, interpretation or repressions, or visualisation?

2. “The 2nd step is to decide whether or not you want to work on you material alone. Working with others may help with a problem you are fooling yourself about. Working with someone else however, brings in relationship issues, and it may be difficult, for one reason or another, to find someone else who will be able to follow your individual, internal process”

I think I answered this in the last one. i certainly love to work alone but my aim is to be able to apply my process to relations with other individuals and the world. i can feel the knowledge of the plan to share with Marina and perhaps Steven is giving a sharper focus to this thought process. Like there’s a goal for the process.. dunno how healthy it is. BUT I want to be in deep loving, creative collaborative relationships, both at home and at work and want both of these things to be of service to, or rather in beneficial synchronicity with trying to make this place a marginally better one than the one I entered.

3. “Write down your edges, the weird dreams and the body processes which interest you, the relationship difficulties and synchronicities which have happened to you, your professional situation etc. Then write down your present focus. Do you want a solution to a problem? Do you want to know more about yourself? Or do you need more energy?:

My edges: My lack of belief in my own movement and feelings responses. My lack of belief, my fear of my own sexuality, my need for solitude interspersed with conversation to move ideas forward; the pain in my legs that makes walking hard, restricts dancing and makes me fear (same fear as my sexual fear) that I’m “too old” “wasted my time” “left things too late” “made the wrong choices” ” failed to meet opportunity with open arms and heart” “basically alone” “fat, old and ugly” (I no longer feel so ugly, though I do not love my body “how could I love this body?”, I like my face, though the eyes are quickly drawn to the age lines drawn under my eyes “my best feature”). i feel that the universe wants me to make this project, but the lack of institutional support does irk me, though is this changing.. ? next wednesday I will have 3 possibly important meetings: with the Space, with the accountant and with Chisenhale. I am stepping out into the universe. I had very tangible production support from Nicole and Meghna last week, I’m meeting Irma tonight and she wants to help with production. At Seke and Rebecca’s improv last week, people were saying  how wonderful Seke found this project. Omari responds positively, there are a lot of positive signs. What is the problem? fear of a lack of my own basic practice? Fear of my “ugliness” (?!? All signs also say this is BULLSHIT!) Fear that I cannot tell the story of London that I wish to tell because I’m white British and middle class and I believe the better story of London, the better parts of London I want to celebrate and save are black, immigrant, refugee and working class. Again, I am the observer, but I have placed myself as this in my character.. this is I guess a lot of what the chase scene is all about

NB: Is the Hackney Carnival the location for the Bicycle ride or the chase scene? The Bicycle ride pre-ambling that? Makes sense NO?

SO: My character is working through my edges: My feeling of engaged outsiderness, of never quite feeling integrally part of the London scene, but perhaps this describes many/ most peoples’ relations to London? Does everybody think that this city is for someone else other than themselves? Whose city is it anyway? have I aways had this feeling? or just since advanced capitalism invaded all of it’s liable feral liminal free spaces?

I often have a “thick” head, right now I’ve a headache, I worry about the many times I’ve hit my head, the many times I was hit around the head as a child, the amount I’ve drunk over the years.. yes take a big sip of that pint of water Lucy, maybe that 2nd pot of coffee wasn’t necessary.

I am making a kick-ass piece of work, I want a strong handle on my process/ practice that I can share and collaborate with other peoples’ processes/ practices and I am finding my lovely long-term lover.. I changed the wording from “I want” and “I am trying” to I am “making” and “finding” as I guess reading  affirmational texts has embedded into my psyche. I would have liked to have left the corrections in but couldn’t find the line through text button and couldn’t really be arsed to try. i don’t want to be writing this all day.

4. Meditate. Follow your process as it moves around in different channels and write down the results of your meditation. Catch what happens to you, and check on the relationship between the result and what you had in mind when you began the meditation.

I’m beginning to feel rushed as I must go out in a half hour and eat before I do so I set the timer to 10 mins. Immediately when i sat down I was again overwhelmingly aware of the pain in my head, my chest, my neck and the itchiness on my belly, I thought of what I’d written before about not feeling sexy, my poor body doesn’t get enough love, I immediately began to groan out the feelings in my body, the groan became notes, first deep and then further up the scale, just simple up and down sounds, pleasure in “my voice” awareness that I’m not speaking/ sounding out enough (You might well laugh but..), image of Pepa came into my head, feeling so often silenced by her, inhibited by her continual expression of her needs, the minutiae of her life, why does she bug and inhibit me so when i also really appreciate and I think actually love her, why so many dissatisfactions directed at the home and home-mates.. all other relations feel so fresh and loving. Is this all interconnected to my feelings about my own self my own body, my body, myself, my home? I got impatient and jumped up to write this 39 seconds before the timer bell sounded. I think my primary channels were proprioceptive, hearing and relationships, minimal imagery, am I less visual than I think? Just forced to be thus by circumstance? I think that before I meditated i would go into movement and I really didn’t expect to sing. I loved it, thought about how Andreas said he thought I’d find my dance through my voice. Again this makes me excited to share improvisations with Marina and Steven

I think that this is enough for today. Tomorrow I think that I should work in the same way focussing on my feelings about my body.