With Manou Koreman, Thelma Sharma, Petra Söör & myself.
What is it that stops us from taking risks when performing? Fear? Fear of what I wonder?
I’m inspired by Thelma’s reference to the rabbit today. The rabbit in the headlights! That paralyzing fear performers can sometimes have. I’ve been preoccupied with the place of fear in performance lately. I’m writing about it in my PhD if I can get over myself. Fear seems usually to be talked about as negative, debilitating, paralyzing even – like the rabbit – but what about the more everyday low-level kind of anxiety we experience when performing? Could it be productive? Necessary? Generative? Part of a wider ecology of feeling?
More on this soon perhaps, as this will be my focus when I facilitate the OPENlab session next Friday. For now I am glad that Manou wanted to explore risk because it appears to me to be related to my fear/anxiety preoccupation.
I think I voiced (or thought) at one point today something like: does taking risk offer us a gateway towards a kind of freedom from fear, before turning back in on itself? Ever repeatable: fear / risk / freedom / fear / risk / freedom / fear / risk / …????
Other questions I wrote down during today’s session:
What is risk?
What does it mean to take risks?
Is taking a risk about nearly (or really) hurting oneself?
Is it only about finding oneself in unexpected places?
How do we as individuals facilitate our risk-taking?
Can we do it solo? // Or is it a necessarily collaborative process? // Do we need facilitators to facilitate our risk-taking?
What is risk’s relationship to fear?
Is it a feat even to be here now in this room? (In this small studio in East London?) // How much risk did I take to get here? (On my bike?)
How do we measure the size or scale of the risk?
But what about real risk? The kind of front-line risk art is sometimes supposed to protect us from? (Isn’t artistic space a safe place?) I thought risk was all about proximity to the life-threatening?
Maybe the risks we take in this room are on the life-threatening continuum?
Moving about the small studio with Petra Söör, while Manou Koreman and Thelma Sharma watched, with the idea of ‘risk’ in the back of my head led me to roll awkwardly, get stuck, repeat, thrust, find solace in ‘weird’ tics and breaths. I have a cold. I became obsessed with how my movement could make sound from my chest, involuntarily. The cold has made my chest more vocal than usual. I went with this. I met Petra against the wall. She with her eyes closed, me with my wheeze. We risked touching. Did we? Slightly? Fully? Nearly? Really?
Was this risky? Borderline frisky?
Much later, in the last minutes of the session, when all four of us were moving/dancing I felt the urge to get undressed, to be naked. I didn’t. It felt too risky. Too blatant. Too obvious. Too wrong. Too ostentatious. Too embarrassing. Too unsettling. Too irresponsible. Too unkind. Too selfish. Too manythingselse.
And in this time, I thought, what could possibly go wrong? What’s the worst that could happen?
And then I was saved by the bell.