GAIP 12, Oct.2014 @ Testing Grounds Performers/Field Notes
October 13, 2014 at 11:51am
A General Assembly of Interested Parties [again]
Time: 12, Oct., 2014
Place: Testing Grounds
Weather: Surprisingly sunny (and hot)
It's GAIP, again!
Last time I was the blindfolding artist. It was really thrilling to expose myself under so many stimuli (and under the terrible weather). This time I just participated as an individual (dancer, performer...whatever).
I should start with a very private thing here. Both times in GAIP, my uterus was busying working at maximum mode, that is, I was bleeding so much on both occasions. It's the time to rest for a woman when you're bleeding this much. I tend to listen to my body's voice as much as possible. But the brain says that it's GAIP, and the brain says that "You haven't performed for a long time".
I cooked my breakfast (pumpkin soup with pearl barley and split yellow pea), drank a lot of water. Then I decided that if I kept struggle with resting or not I wouldn't really rest a bit anyway. When I was getting myself ready, a friend of mine just texted and said that he was in the city. He's willing to go to GAIP together and we both had the most amazing time together.
Life truly works in such a mysterious way.
Last time I truly threw myself out thoroughly. I wondered if I could do the same thing when I could see. Somehow, not being blindfolded was a test for me as a performer even if I've performed a lot before my blindfolding experiment. It's also the first time I realize that my anxiety in performance (both in quality and quantity) is part of the process in my identity as a performer. Would there be another performance? Would I get another chance? Would I meet the people who I can potentially collaborate with?
GAIP is really a good place for all these questions. As long as you're willing to risk a little bit then it's a great place to perform and collaborate.
I arrived at Testing Grounds around 1:30 or a bit earlier with Jonathan. Michael and Gary were arranging their instruments. A big tape recorder was playing old broadcasting. Clinton was standing with his back almost attaching the wall in a light pink shirt (it's pinker in my memory). Gary wore a red T-shirt, Michael was in a pair of orange pants. Even Jonathan has a red cap.
The moment I'm taking my field/performer's notes, it's gray and chilly. People I saw on the streets were mostly in black coat.
It doesn't mean that weather plays a dominant role here. When we arrived at Testing Grounds, there have been a bunch of people who were all in black shirts. From their T-shirts, they seemed to just finished a half-marathon. They were mostly consisted of families, mostly middle aged, several kids aged between 6 months to 10, it's only a rough guess. Jordan White said that it's the first time we had actual audience. So true. We were talking about how to engage them in a meaningful way (?).
The first thing was to get outside and play.
I was very aware when some of my movements caused the sands to fly all over.
At one point I was talking to Michael in Chinese and he replied in French. I was talking to him about Peter Pan and flying and shadows. We tapped on each others' shadow and somehow both of us lowered ourselves near the ground. I taught him how to say "My name is Michael" in Taiwanese and it created a rhythm that got our bodies moving again. I never know how to rap but strangely with Taiwanese it's so much easier.
Jordan had a kitchenware that would make constant vibrations. Soon Gary was having his guitar playing with all found objects. Ren was playing another string instrument. There weren't a definite beginning or end. My friend Jonathan, who accidentally came to this, was a bit tensed in the beginning in when to film me and when we began, was contaminated by the atmosphere and went to play the piano at Testing Grounds soon after we started.
Jonathan gave me a piece of his music (WIP) while Clinton was reciting. The music got me walking around the pavement and climbed up the stairs. Looking down from the stairs, Jonathan waved at me. We danced a little bit from afar. Clinton was standing there, and Reuben has shifted to another place, lying down under the shade.
Michael brought out his big radio set. We had our impromptu dance after he put the set down near me. There were lots of lath grides in Testing Grounds, and that's where we began our game.
There were several moments with Michael that I truly appreciated. One of the smallest incident was after a quiet session where Clinton recited John Cage's words. Michael was in a white coverall (with lots of paints on it) while I was in a white shirt (put on by Ren). We were near the fence, Michael had an old iPod plugged in a portable set. The fence was flexible to an extent and we played with that material for a while. The flexibility of the fence to be hit, bumped into, pressed upon created a dilemma for the human body, we can alter it for a brief second, but there's no way to cross it unless:
1. we detour by the gate
2. we climb over
But, it's only the flesh that couldn't get pass it. And it's only the skins and bones. While we're at this side of the fence, the voice could still get through. I started to yelled "Hi" loudly towards the cars when they were stopping there. A woman literally waved at me. A couple walked passed us and I yelled "Hi". Michael and I started to talk about how two persons walking on a pavement often created romantic feelings and he was having the same thoughts the other day. I prompted that we walk on the pavement to see what happened. Af first it was awkward but then the steps just synced. The clouds were reflected on the glass of the highrise.
There were two girls talking in Chinese when Michael and I walked.
We walked back. Michael asked if I'd like to move to the music again. Sure.
It's most interesting observing how people receive and make decisions.
A lot of things happened yesterday. And I was really sore when I woke up. Clinton and I arranged to have an improvised session in front of the State Library. State Library is really MY PLACE and MY RESEARCH AREA and I am really thrilled and terrified that I'm breaching a piece of researcher's self. But that's the whole point of collaboration. A conversation leads to another one, a piece of others get into oneself.
There are a lot of challenges in GAIP. Everyone is busy, that's the first thing. Even I struggled a bit between "having the researcher's role fulfilled and read another two chapters on Sunday" and "simply be a performer again regardless its relationships with your research". But somehow I felt that, it's important to commit to GAIP. It's important to commit to those who are willing to commit to surprises.
Is it possible to create more choices out of it? There are a common grounds in switching roles (ex. Michael the musician to Michael the dancer, Jordan the guitar player to Jordan the blindfolding artist, I the blindfolding artist to Dancer). What I appreciated the most is the openness for switching roles and take in each others. I do believe that these incidents/happenings leaves imprints on us.
There are limits. Say, it's harder for me to imagine the protester/dancer self to be there. But I wouldn't know if it's the atmosphere that stops me from having speech or I'm restricting myself. It may simply be the fact that I wanted to move as much as possible. But Scott the poet did a good job in story-telling and being slightly cynical about it. So, there are still chances. I'm probably not very good to put language into my own performance.
Maybe, just as Reuben said, it's a social practice in GAIP as well. He is right. After all, it's all too easy to stay in our own areas.
I wished that some of the tender moments could extend to the maximum. Just behind the physical times.
Maybe they have.
When I was saying goodbye to Juana, a strong wind made the water container fell. Juana jokingly said that all's fucked up. She gave me a hug, and said, "step by step".
Yah, step by step.