I make art and performance that is radically small, pedestrian and humble. I am an undisciplined interdisciplinary artist whose work responds to site and social context to engender collaborative encounters.

ashleighgriffith.me

tracingthepathway.com


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Our individual patterns eluding perception

Here we are affecting, coexisting and intertwined.

Here we fold back in

We suddenly realise our proximity to other flesh and readjust.

Prefacing this language of bright eyes and dark smiles

Environments are invisible space.

How to make the minimal maximum?

We begin to unburden ourselves from knowledge.

An act of unknowing

Disconnecting from this central, nervous system.

What grows in the in-between in a space where nothing grows?

And the kind of people do not shelter the dream, make it real, make it real.

Penetrate banality

From mother, to third, to ebony.

A body with soft borders.

Welcome to our disrupted landscape, in the world’s smallest capital city.

It is a measurement of entropy that shows detachment isn’t possible.

That was the history of everything. Now we see what happens.

Pollinate the new

Always in flux, fluid and evolving.

It is only us; you’re what happens here.

Acts of resistance against what is named.
The universe is quantifiable but incomprehensible.

Mediating telematic joy with telematic apathy.

We are speaking to you from a house that feels like a home.

Words are heavy things.

A silent chaos of malady.

Monochromatic landscape.

Blue and blue and blue.

We will have become absence and unable to honour such an occurance.

The cultural blood bank within which we stand.

Our understanding creases, collects and curves around our imaginations.

This is our work.

To embrace the gaps, the cracks, the ruptures.


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With the generous support of the A-N Go and See bursary TTP had the time and space to meet an abundance of amazing artists, to travel to new lands, and engage in numerous life-changing conversations. Our time at the Sisters Academy, in June 2015, led us to reflect on the ways we work as a collective, challenging what and how we facilitate projects, and so improve how we communicate with others and amongst ourselves.

Throughout our journey we contemplated the following questions:

Who and what are Tracing the Pathway?

What are the borders and boundaries between our four individual bodies and the body of the collective?

Is this an ecology? And if so how may it remain fluid and porous?

How do we differentiate between the nodes of this ecology and our working practice? Are they one and the same? At what point does Tracing the Pathway end and Fluid Ecologies begin?

How do we map these ideas in practice, on our website, and through the conversations we have with different audiences?

Since returning home the conclusions we have begun to draw have led to further questions and ruminations. However, what has been key to our findings is the empowerment of dialogue, exchange and the gifting of ideas, practice, and culture with others. These are the fundamental components of how any collective, in fact any human being, operates in life. By observing how Sisters Hope think and work (and all the other wonderful people we met on our trip: Jan Suk, Ivan Slacko, Mia Makela, Stine Lundberg Hansen, Peta Tait, Olav Harsløv, Nivi Christensen, Inge Agnete Tarpgaard and hello!earth), we have learnt a great deal about forging intimate and sustainable interconnections between people, places, art and life. Interconnections that are fluid and constantly evolving.

A fluid ecosystem; a fluid ecology.

 Tracing the Pathway is one such fluid ecology, and in traveling to Greenland we can now fully appreciate the key nodes of our ecosystem: bodies, sites and encounters. These are the nodes we embody and carry with us on all journeys, in all meetings and conversations with people. These nodes are our tools: tools through which we create, tools through which we articulate ourselves; and tools for connection, interconnections.

With this happy realisation we look to the future of our collective and the next steps in the evolution of our Fluid Ecologies project on many different levels: human, administrative, conceptual, creative and interconnected level.

The Need for Human Connection:                                                                   Having the time to be around bodies has reminded us of the vitality of human-to-human contact. Currently as a whole collective we only meet every 4-6 weeks online, this is due to our international and dispersed living arrangements. As a group of four we tend to only communicate through social media platforms, however having the opportunity to work this summer in a more sensuous and embodied way has reminded us of the importance of regular human contact, and of a unified, complete contact as: four bodies each unique and fixed, yet porous. As: one, shifting whole – an ecology dependent on its constituent parts.

In the five years Tracing the Pathway has been operating the four of us have only been in the same space three times. We pride ourselves on our ability to sustain a meaningful and fluid connection across borders, to work in different conglmorations of people, but we wish to offer the collective regular opportunities to work together as a whole. So on a practical level we have instigated an independent, yearly, TTP residency period, which is compulsory for all members to attend. It will be a time dedicated to sharing ideas and discussing the ethos behind our practice, to proposing exercises, and performance tasks, which we can then develop to present for an audience through our performance and workshop projects.

Administration Concerns:                                                                                Spending time with at the Sisters Academy has also taught us the value of prolonged reflection and evaluation of our work. We have again only ever reflected on our work via conversations on the Internet. This raises issues surrounding the quality of communication, when for instance Skype lines drop, or the difference in time zones means we rush through meetings. We will never be able to avoid this mode of communication but we are in the beginning stages of considering how to turn this to our advantage, how administration can be a performance in its own. Sisters Hope, for example, work on their administrative tasks within the space of the Sisters Academy. Audiences have the opportunity to not only experience the Academy aesthetically and conceptually, but also in a way that reveals the mechanisms that allowing it to run and operate as a learning and artistic environment.

As part of the Sisters Academy there is also time set aside on the final day to reflect on everyone’s experience of taking part (you may read the notes from Sisters Academy Greenland session here). This evaluation took place within the site of the Academy but also beyond in a more social setting after the Academy had closed its doors to the public. As we walked and took part in a Greenlandic Kaffemik, conversation still flowed, ideas were shared and constructive criticism offered. It was a fantastic way to bring an interdisciplinary group of practitioners together in an open and honest framework. We therefore wish to adopt a similar method in order approach to evaluation, one that respects the way we produce and disseminate work. For us this means acknowledging that TTP projects usually centre on durational activities of curating and hosting artists, researching and performing. This takes an incredible amount of energy and to allow the body to recover from this process usually takes 1-2 days. It is important to recognise that the mind and body cannot always instantaneously switch focus from an active creative perspective to an evaluative/reflective one. We feel it is therefore necessary to spend one day re-acclimatising to the end of the project, by exploring the sites and locations we have been living and working in, outside of the project’s framework of engagement. How do we begin to see the site differently? How does our body react to it and what alternative encounters does it offer? By opening ourselves up to the environment we can gain some necessary distance from a project to then be able to assess and qualify our relationship to the work that has just been completed. So we will now take 2/3 days post-production to reflect on and evaluate a project in and around the space it took place in. We shall also do this in a creative way that is emblematic of our performance practice so that we are actively engaged in practice as we reflect on it. For example we trialled a walking evaluation method for our project Groundwork, in which we allowed photographic images from the project to guide where we walked around the location of the project, translating the contours of the photographs into the environment so they act as route markers.

Communication:                                                                                                               Language was key to forging a relationship with all the artists and audiences we met. Whether this is verbal language, body or spiritual languages the terms and words, phrases and gestures we used to communicate were signs of our identities. We must remember that how we articulate elements of our identity, personifies who we are as a collective and what our philosophy is.  On a conceptual level it became apparent that TTP needs to define the terms we use to describe our work and practice. In particular we should focus on the key words we use to describe our practice and what we do, aka the nodes of our ecology. How do we defining the meaning of body, site and encounter?

In mapping what and how the ecology of TTP operates and functions we hope to offer a fluid framework of communication, which may be of use to other collectives and/or to those engaged in practice-as-research.

Creative Projects:                                                                                                         On a creative level we are inspired to think about how the meetings we had live on. How we disseminate our experience and communicate via different mediums to different audiences. One such way has been to write this blog, and our second approach is to translate the work we produced for the Sisters Academy into a book, thinking about how the evanescence of words, exchanges and encounters may be captured in the textures and depths of a page. The book is currently in production and should be realised via our own website in Spring 2016.

Interconnections:                                                                                                         On an interconnected level we shall continue our conversations with the artists we met during our journey by taking part in future iterations of the Sisters Academy. We equally have plans to work with the other artists we met en-route, for example: we are at the begin of initiating a performance training and pedagogy exchange project with Jan Suk, Ivan Slacko and Stine Lundberg Hansen; we are seeking opportunities to perform alongside Inge Agnete Tarpgood; and there is the potential to return to Nuuk Kunstmuseum, in the not to distant future.

 

We are thrilled Go and See has prompted such a rich set of opportunities and to offer us a journey which we certainly be processing for many more months, even years to come. Our next blog will leave you with some of our most lasting memories and impressions of our exchange with Sisters Hope through the remit of their Sisters Academy Greenland.

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To learn more about Sisters Hope’s impressions of the exchange and their experience of living and work in Greenland please check out:

Sisters Hope’s Website: www.sistershope.dk

Sisters Academy Greenland in Nuuk: www.sistersacademy.dk/about/nuuk

PSi Fluid States’s Blog: www.fluidstatesnorth.wordpress.com

and for documentation of Sisters Academy Greenland please visit:

Sisters Hope’s Flickr feed: flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

and Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/Sisters-Hope/146993448712871?fref=ts

 

This post has been guest authored by Cara Davies from Tracing the Pathway


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Since leaving Greenland we have received some touching and evocative reflections on the Shadow Room and our accompanying presentation to Sisters Hope and the PSi conference. This post brings offers a glimpse of Tracing the Pathway’s time in Greenland through the eyes of others:

An encounter with Tracing the Pathway: Fluid Ecologies (in)between Site, Memory and Archive some lingering thoughts by Stine Lundberg Hansen

http://www.tracingthepathway.com/wp-content/uploads/An-encounter-with-Tracing-the-Pathway.pdf

Unclouding a poem by Ivan Slacko

 


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What space would you forge if given the opportunity to create an area dedicated to you and your work?

 

Our space: The Shadow Room

Our space making materials:

500 sheets of A4 paper

2 rolls of dressmaker’s paper

1 skein of red wool

 

Our space making tools:

6 hands

3 sets of eyes

2 and a half packets of elephant gum

2 rolls of masking tape

1 ladder

 

The space:

Warmth

Textures

Murmurs

Sutures

 

It is constant activity but in a frame that becomes hyper-sensitive and protracts time. It is independent yet infinitely embodied and sensuous; an embryonic space feeding off of and into the wider exhibition and activity of the outer room. The inner shell, the inner thoughts, the inner workings of our minds flow forth and make present what is absent, or absent what is present. The palpable silhouettes reach through the surface of the walls; tactile, vivid but fleeting. Liminality reigns forthwith, deep slumbers ensue, dreams are share and futures forged.


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Our voyage to Greenland was undertaken for the sole purpose to meet the illustrious Sisters Hope and to take part in their Sisters Academy Greenland. However, singular purposes are never basic. The Sisters Academy is in its own right a multi-faceted and layered project, manifesting itself in different locations across the globe in different educational contexts. The Sisters Academy Greenland was no exception. The Academy was to take place within the framework of PSi #21 Fluid States: Performances of Unknowing (http://www.fluidstates.org). PSi stands for Performance Studies International, which is a “professional association founded in 1997 to promote communication and exchange among artists, thinkers, activists and academics working in the field of performance.” Each year the association hosts a global annual conference championing new, innovative and critical approaches to teaching, performing and disseminating performance studies.

 

Ordinarily the conference is held in one location but for 2015 the mode of meeting and exchange was radically altered to enable multiple events to occur throughout the year and across the globe. The aim of the PSi #21 was to “resist the prerogatives, politics, and hierarchies of centralised and corporatized conferences, festivals and organizations in culture and arts, humanities and social sciences” and instead consider the shifting movement of the tectonic plates and the natural movement of the earth’s geology. This desire resulted in the clustering of events in specific regions. Whilst Greenland sits on the North American tectonic plate, its fascinating colonial history has meant that Greenlandic citizens have Europe citizenship, with political and economic affiliation to Denmark. As such Greenland was included in the North Atlantic cluster of PSi, which consisted of performances, talks and debates across the Faroe Islands, the island of Amagar in Denmark and of course the island of Greenland. The three nodes of this cluster where connected via telematics, allowing us to share across the geographical borders and across their time zones. “Souvenirs” from each cluster were posted here: https://fluidstatesnorth.wordpress.com

 

The Greenlandic node of the cluster took place in the capital city Nuuk and was hosted by the Sisters Academy. As part of a group of 10 artists/participants of the Academy we explored and considered new modes of sensuous and poetic knowledge production in the educational system, and investigated how to collect data and evaluate the effect of these new modes. These questions were discussed and tested through performance practice in Nukk Kunstmuseum (http://www.nuukkunstmuseum.com/en). The Nuuk Kunstmuseum was founded by Svend and Helene Junge Pedersen who donated their collection of Greenlandic art to the municipality of Nuuk, who have opened the doors to the museum for the viewing pleasure of the general public. We were based in the museum’s temporary exhibition room and here the sisters Academy held classes with a local school, hosted performances, and encouraged us in the installation of work and the sharing of ideas.

We were Tracing the Pathway, taking part in the Sisters Academy, housed in Nuuk Kunstmuseum, sited in the smallest capital city in the world, on the biggest island in the world, connected to two other islands in different time zones, as part of a world-wide conference, in order to make small, sensuous, intimate connections between artists. Frames within frames within frames

 This post has been guest authored by Cara Davies from Tracing the Pathway


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