Read my mind and dance for me: collaboration with Alex Herod, Live Art Bistro, July 2012.

Read my mind and dance for me.

Myself and Alex Herod (following more than a share of a bottle of vino) arranged to work together on a new piece after individually concluding and sharing that we would like to partner up to devise and deliver the methods of performance we were both interested in with a fresh concept. Also, and perhaps more importantly, we wanted to confront oursleves with techniques in performance which we had not yet approached in our own solo works. We were aware that when you are used to working solo and structuring your own process for creating work it is difficult to compromise in a new partnership and work through workshops in a constructive and fair manner. What is essential is that mysellf and Alex have respect for one anothers individual work and we are very patient with one another. Alex thinks in a much more conceptual manner than myself – wonderfully mind-mapping the effectiveness of an image before presentation and exploration – and thankfully very up for trying variariations on an idea.

We had very limited workshop hours living in different cities before presenting this work for the first time. The first presentation of our idea at NEWK at LAB shone a light on the areas first and foremost to be altered and concentrated on to have a more effective piece – the changing of the materials (heavier bandaging to allow seperation of the individual strips, heavier table to remain stable throughout tugging), (for myself) delivery -speaking internally or directly to the audience and the focus on our individual task in the piece and our performance of that task – for myself I allowed time restriction for the seperation sections to interrupt my concentration on my task of reading and digesting the text which affected my improvised speech in a following section. However, now we can ask ourselves certain questions: should there be a time constraint on each task? Or should the priority be freedom of time to complete the task ready to move onto the next section when we are both ready to do so – of course this then affects our relationship and awareness of one another in the space – do we want this? Is it necessary to make decisions on our influence of one another prior to the perfmance space? Is it important to share with one our knowledge fo ourselves in the space – whether, after a duration, we are likely to be influenced greatly by the audience or the soundtrack or the text or the other in the space – and does the latter suggest the risk of role reversal – is this okay? Okay just skimming the surface with thoughts now but much to discuss with Alex.

What was very useful was people resposn at the QandA session at NEWK following the evenings performances. I am reminded to concentrate more on the work for the audience – what kind of work are we making and what are the compelling aspects of this perfromance type? – we need to develop a piece which is fresh and interesting for a specator from a psychological point of observation and appears as an intriguing concept without compromising our own desires to inject (and reappropriate) the much recycled techniques of performance we are individually excited by – the most prominent being found in the works of Samuel Beckett.

What is exciting for me (and I hope Alex) is that, as discussed, the actions within this piece seems to lend themselves to a durational performance (Alex’s idea which I would love to challenge myself with) which will allow the spectators to witness variant psychological delivery as tasks have to be repeated – words may be lost, spoken with greater effect, greater speed, with fatigue or excitment, bandaging may be more constricting or tasks not achieved – how does this effect the alternate performer – individual coping mechanims are revealed. The duality of Alex and myself involved in different action may synchronise, contradict, be simply representative of any relationship or seem potently abstract…Now to discuss how the end becomes the beginning, how this can become a cycle of psychological indulgence and enjoyment!

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