Oh wow, the photos are really beautiful.
I see group shapes. People going down to the floor together. People deciding to look in the same direction. I see facial expressions in tune with one another. I see bodies having conversations intended to be publicly readable. I see an awareness of others and an interaction with them that I am not aware of in the sessions. Maybe it is there all along and it is me that is not? Is it that I focus almost entirely on ways of being present or of performing that take me more than anything on an interior journey? (This is quite possible. And I can see how focusing on presence might take me on an interior journey, but not how performing could.)
Last open OPENLAB, I remember experiencing a very different vibe from the session vibe when we came to perform. Isn’t it natural though, that the vibe should change? With hindsight, I don’t know why I am so surprised. I do though: I thought we would just show our thing in the raw and that since its whole focus was on being present anyway, that nothing would be that different. But gosh, this looks so naive written down.
Last open OPENLAB, the fact that we were performing was instantly tangible. You could have sliced the air with it. I experienced a sudden acute awareness of the colours we were wearing and how they seemed to dance together. The group energy was totally different; accelerated. For me I was kind of amazed to experience it. Naively, because we hadn’t prepared a ‘show’, I had thought it would feel the same as a session, except that there would be an audience there this time seeing what we did: “let’s just show them what we do”.
Why did I think that? Since what we worked on anyway was being present (rather than the more current question, which is looking at what it is ‘to perform’), I thought that nothing would need to change for what we were doing to be ‘sufficiently’ performative. It was, in its way, already performative to the max.
I have since experienced and acknowledged some profound shifts in my perspective of what it is to perform, which continue to evolve. But I am still so curious, especially looking at these photos, about what performing is for other people. So I want to put some questions to the open “openlabbers” this time: how did it feel to perform? What is different about performing in a group as opposed to solo? Was there an extra something that you brought into play as soon as you were in front of an audience? If there was, can you describe it?
I would love to hear your thoughts.
I promised I would answer to Martine Painter’s question(s) and I actually never did.
I’ll try to be brief and concise but also clear at the same time that I attempt to do what I once promised. I apologise in advance for the overuse of scared quotes, but I’m scared today…
I have to say I may be guilty of the differences between the sharing during Cha Cha Cha and the “open OPENLAB” in Agony Art… obviously.
In Cha Cha Cha there was not presentation. I think I was interested on “cooking only for myself.” I’m the kind of person who doesn’t worry about how a dish looks like as long as the food tastes good… With Cha Cha Cha I was interested to see what other people could taste from us just doing the openform practice we had developed by then in the studio when delivered in a rough way to them (wow! I just re-read that but still makes sense to me; tell me if it doesn’t make sense to you). I wanted to show them purely the “thing” without any other extras, without narrative, composition, costume, lighting, etc. but bodies, agents… doing “it”. The pure “performing” without any ads-on. “Performing” bared down to its bones.
Even then, and from the feedback I collected from the Cha Cha Cha’s audience, I started to think that presentation is actually a very important feature of the “performing” work we have been doing… These 2 concepts seem to me now as indissociable as other continua like mind/body, time/space, observer/mover, etc. are clearly indissociable.
Things we worked on after that was on invisibility vs. visibility, making the absent present as well as the obvious oblivious, and making more watching the others but in a different way. We had done it before then already but we started to use much more language and descriptions of what we saw and what we thought we were doing. Basically trying to make it more explicit but this only can happen after making it implicit part of our practice. I guess I have been trying to induce a sort of epiphanic delivery. Giving birth to something out of the studio work that at the same time was the studio work itself. From all the reflexions about this concepts the concept of opening OPENLAB emerged as necessary to make a difference happen.
I still believe we need something extra. We need to believe and trust on the work we are doing…
I think we should follow a suggestion of Mariana and do a viewing of the “open OPENLAB” we did at Agony Art and have a conversation around it. I wouldn’t do it in the studio time but maybe afterwards, or at another point. I think it will be vey interesting for those who were on stage on the 22nd of February, but others may find it also an interesting observational exercise, specially for those of you who couldn’t be there on that day for one reason or another.
Does this stream of consciousness answers your question(s) Martine?