testing performance as a new process & audience (week 6: testing my boundaries)

as part of testing my boundaries, i signed up for a movement and choreography workshop that i though might relate to my current ‘landscape and i’ work in some way. i guess that by deciding to participate in this workshop, i wanted to try something new and go beyond my usual processes, thereby testing the boundaries of what processes and/or audiences i ever consider when making work.

movement workshop: it was the title of the workshop, ‘No Church in the Wild’, that first caught my attention and seemed to resonate with landscape and ideology. taking part in the douglas hyde gallery and facilitated by the choreographer Ruairí O’Donnabháin, the workshop centred around movement and embodied response to Jumana Manna’s work ‘Wild Relatives’ which is on exhibition in the gallery. Manna’s video work which played on a large screen throughout our workshop, documented the intimate lives of those involved with collecting seeds for the global seed vault in the arctic, set against the power structures involved in collecting this seed archive.

embodied response: using paired or small group movement and dance activities, O’Donnabháin encouraged us to listen and move to others’ movements with our body and pay attention to dynamics of how we lead, follow and observe others or create parameters to the space that we move in. while movement and performance is beyond the processes that i use or even consider using, i felt more comfortable than i expected while engaging in these activities with others. reminding me of the time i spent working in theatre, there was something liberating about a live act or performance which only exists at a particular time or moment – it seemed to free my mind from over thinking and allowed me to respond instinctively or impulsively through my body – an embodied response in time and place.

landscape, lens and embodied response: there seems a lot that i could take from this movement workshop, firstly to do with embodied responses – to what i consider the parameters of the landscape space that i am in at any particular time, to other elements in the landscape, to the different rolls i take at different times in the landscape – as observer, leader or follower. i guess i already recognise that my lens-based processes relating to landscape are indeed embodied practices, where the frame and perspective etc. of my capture always relates to and is a point of contact between landscape, my body and indeed the audience – in the physical making and the thinking of it. this really suggests an area to tease out through my contextual study. the other thing i take away with me from this workshop is the power of live work or performance and the ability for a work and an audience (be it co-performers) to exist at a moment in time and for that to be more than sufficient. with that – i add a single photo which i took before the workshop began or the work and audience existed. this of course throws up all sorts of questions about the documentation of live work – how or if it necessary. finally, in relation to testing my boundaries – it seems my boundaries are wider than i would ever have thought and perhaps there are many other processes and audiences that i could consider.

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