An invitation was sent to numerous performers regarding INTERSECTION6, usually held as a group performance at a specific location on May 19, but unable to proceed this year due to the world pandemic restrictions.
The alternate proposal was for individuals to instead navigate the concept in their own locale, in their own manner.
The idea was simply to offer stimulus to artists’ solidarity and personal creativity.
A number of invitees sent apologies that they were ‘unable to attend’, or that it was good to ‘know what I was up to’. Both responses stimulated some thinking for me.
I know that email correspondence is fraught, largely due to the volumes of irrelevancy one must wade through and the haste and bother in sorting. So, the INTERSECTION6 invitation may have been a victim of this. Aside from misreading and lack of attention, there is the possibility of the reader seeing what they want to see, reading what they want to read.
But I think there is another factor at play that concerns the broader context of a world under a pandemic. Before continuing with this line of thought, I would like to return to the invitation extended to performers to find their own way of enacting INTERSECTION6.
In carrying out a version of this event on my own I found the experience both thought-provoking and creatively expansive.
An issue that stays with me is the question of the role of the initiator in a performance event.
INTERSECTION is a GAIP event. GAIP is not a group, a band, an organisation, an identity, etc., if anything it is a “talking point” instigated either verbally or through performative action. My hope is that the performer considers the opportunity of performance or not, based upon the level of motivation found within her/himself, devoid of any sense of personal obligation.
Another related issue is the question of; to ‘join in’, of participation and of collaboration.
I worded the proposal to encourage people to take the idea as momentum for their own practice. What is it that we are joining, or participating with ? How does making connection manifest ? Can even an email exchange offer a sense of sharing ?
So I am a man alone in the dark left with whatever is in my mind and around my feet, but with a sense of “performance” as companion. This is creative for me.
I later heard of others’ experiences on that day. Were we joining-in, or participating with each other ? Was I effected/affected by them and them by me ? Certainly I had some information that others might be active on that day and this was in my mind which would have some background influence upon me at times during my performance.
I would like to bring these two strands together; 1) The responses of some individuals to the INTERSECTION invite and the question of participation/collaboration, and 2) the context of a world under a pandemic.
Until the world pandemic arrived at our doorstep, many of us would say that of our lives were conducted with minimal-as-possible consideration for everyday details, perhaps to allow us more resources for more seemingly significant challenges. As good citizens following the expert’s advice, we have altered our lives to preserve the health of humanity, but with this comes closer consideration of all facets of our behavior, particularly everyday actions.
Under stringent limitations some of us find we have nothing to do. For some the curtailment might bring anger and frustration, for others an unfamiliar peace or slowing down. Whatever our predicament many of us are finding an intensification of our everyday living. What we previously took for granted or as inevitable has changed, is no longer inevitable nor backgrounded in habit, or even if it is, the dramatically changed context of our actions assures that we experience our world in a new light. The reminder that we will eventually return to “normal” is a taunt and only increases the felt differences.
The intensity that develops when much of what was taken for granted is now not readily accessible is pushing human minds and emotions and our behavior, internal and external relations are tipping into a hyper-zone, where a balanced view and behavior are less likely to be taken. An increase in experiential intensity of the minutiae of what once constituted everyday life seems to raise the stakes, and a threshold of fear and panic within an emotional or mental state is reached much more quickly. A starkly black and white notion of the necessity to fight for survival lies just below an increasingly thinning veneer of “everything’s OK”.
In terms of human relation, I think this insecure and teetering condition shows itself in asynchronous timings and actions that at the least can waste time and resources and at the worst can destroy alliances, trust and lives. Where is collaboration within this context, of detached, virtual communications and individual hibernation ? Is it action taken in parallel with simultaneity, a stand in for genuine affective exchange of physical encounter, or, could it be a profound opportunity to come to know the fundamental collaborative forces coursing through every single relation, collaborations between all things ? This raises the question of what I expect of relation and of working-with, within myself and then with others.
During a recent Free Play class, I proposed that independence is better understood as a directionality in performance, that we are in fact interdependent, that we are in relation to all, that we are collaborating with all animate and inanimate phenomena, and during performance we can encounter a group consciousness, beyond just ourselves, perceptible at any phase of proceedings. Further, is the self situated in the brain, in the heart, where is the self, what constitutes self ? Or is self distributed, and perhaps then more than the sum of its parts ?
Whatever the response, the self and the human body are examples of collaborative activity at work. The body in its environment is collaborative activity exemplified. The body (80% water) and other animate, inanimate things and elemental forces all participate in a sustaining ecology, collaboration in interaffective weave would seem innate. So perhaps the issue is; in what capacity and to what degree am I conscious of any collaboration at work, or collaboration in highly specific groupings or locations ? Is this the beginnings of a performative group consciousness ?
I am not sure how what-is-collaboration and the state-of-humanity in a time-of-pandemic weave together, but it seems to me that, as I suggested to the Free Play students, it might be prudent to WAIT, to SLOW down, to SIMPLIFY, to exercise CARE and PRECISION in carrying out any performative action, that there is a high likelihood of asynchronous interactions, misunderstandings, and unintended results occurring all around in every transaction, in every direction, locality and context, within our performing and in our living.