and I am on a flight to Venice…
10 days to immerse, test and receive extraordinary mentorship from Performance artist Marilyn Arsem, as part of the Venice International Performance Art Week CO-Creation Live Factory – Prologue 1.
Curated by Francesca Carol Rolla, and Vest & Page, I spend ten residency days in the European Cultural Centre, Palazzo Mora, Venice.
It is now two years on exactly, yet I carry this experience with me still, almost as one does a ceremony, and as a specific taste beneath the tongue.
In this a period of total immersion, of being in a place within my body that I had never been before, boundaries where shifted, canal and sky seemed to become part of the body of the space. The disorienting sensation of standing on a moving floor with nothing to hold on to aside from a supportive gaze was present daily. Workshop days were 12 hours long , both nourishing and draining the bones.
The theme of the residency was ‘Considering Time’, and there is a distilled poignancy to suddenly writing about it here and now, as if the experience holds its own elasticity. And I can ask myself now about the place of writing and text in my practice, and perhaps new thoughts on how to use the relationship between performance and writing to create new rooms…
Ephemerality, transience, loss and presence , are part of the landscape of my practice, ritual and repetition it’s time keeper. Writing and texts play a part, yet simply writing out the performance now is akin to looking through a window, when in fact so much remains raw and live. But today, as foundation , I simply settle on this…
I am in a large room. I place two large glass bowls on the cold stone floor many metres apart but within my peripheral vision.
Into each bowl I very slowly pour milk so full there is a perilous curve to the liquid that sits just above the rim.
In this room, I begin a reverse walk that will last for four hours . I walk in silence from one wall to the other , the width of the room. I walk between the two bowls of milk. I walk as if I am hardly moving at all, challenging my balance , my body, the body of milk to stay in my peripheral vision.
I walk To keep focus, to lose focus. I walk from the past to the future. I walk to remember and to forget , I walk holding on knowing I have to let go. I walk to make a journey I do not yet understand.
The temperature in the room is two degrees. The white walls hold my stare , and increase my dizziness. At some points I think I will fall, but I do not.
My hands freeze, feel numb. Someone from the audience walks up to me and holds them to give brief warmth, kisses them and disappears.
Another member of the public decides to test my space and disrupts my walk by standing in front of me. What does she want to say?
She breaks myspace, unnerves me, knocks me off balance . But I continue, still only half way through, wondering what that ‘conversation’ was supposed to be.
I feel the shifting temperature of the room as groups of people shift and gather to watch, people passed though, and people with cameras coming too close.
I underestimate the level of strength and balance needed for this and at some points need to draw on other images , phrases, tests, cold breath, to make the small, enormous , delicious and slow ‘dance ‘ across the floor.
I sense I am inhabiting/ choreographing this space in a way that only opened up once I committed myself to beginning. I hold the space and lose myself.
It is daylight when I start and dark when I finish . I am a certain temperature when I start and another when I finish…
‘Everything I know about you…’ was a four hour durational performance that took place at a two day opening at Palazzo Moro,Venice at the end of a ten day period of intense workshops, mentoring and practice with Marilyn Arsem, around the theme of considering time , December 2017.