pestilence days 15-17

I’ve been editing DVDs this week, first all the people i can remember sleeping with…, then monadologie, and in the background, this, pestilence. Mostly because the source material will take some time to prepare, images, audio, remembering to de-interlace the video when I export to m2v… And I was looking through my folder of choreography, the works I’ve made since 2002, and thinking, ‘ooooo!!! would be rather nice to start another piece!!!’, except I have three now in varying stages of completeness that may never see anything further eventuate.

I wanted to not choreograph, and this was something that came from monadologie, how to evolve rules that could operate from initial conditions to generate something the same, something different every time. There my realisation was that it’s formidably difficult to do this to the entirety of a choreographed body in a single instant. This time I think, rather than focus on the minute details, it was the gross, most easily seen dancing and dancing together that somehow seemed to be made.

I was interested in the Tarantella both as a formal dance of the era blanketed by pestilence, and as some ecstatic, frenzied, mad collective convulsion brought on by a spider bite, or the plague, or typhus, or an expurging of the horror of war, famine, disease, suffering. So it was initially a retinue of corporeal, digestive and pulmonary spasms, we’d do and video and watch and criticise and repeat, eventually to make something consistent between us.

Lately I keep returning to Kristeva and abjection, and perhaps as is similar with my favourite Baudrillard quote, her musing on this horror represents an over-arching concern in my work. Perhaps a good name for a piece sometime. These same days rehearsing I made a remark about calling a piece, ‘ugly stuff for beautiful people because i hate you’, a continuation of the idea in ‘i like hate and hate everything else’. And around this time I was talking with Daniel about how precarious my existence is because I am held at the whim and pleasure of a medical establishment that is acutely conservative and perhaps without the cultural and political pressure exerted by queers of all stripes, collectively we would find ourselves pathologised in ways and degrees we hope have been consigned to a shameful history.

So the tarantella was both a possessed malady and transcendentally ecstatic, and furthermore communal. So Daniel and I learnt to do this together, to convulse and shiver and trip, stagger, fall, lose balance and control, neither follow nor lead, both anticipate each other and keep going for as long as we could. Over time with this… mmm it becomes unverbalised, all the rules or parameters or suggestions, and maybe this is so much of this work. We got quite good at moving together and fast without preexisting steps…

Unverbalised. Possibly explaining the paucity of writing in my notebook, the cursory research, and unpredictable blogging. So much of this work was made from talking around it, one or two lines maybe and then frequent scatological digressions and bodily humour. So different from my long-standing over-compensating, evenings spent planning the next day, justifying every decision. But of everything in this piece, the Tarantella, set to Wagner’s Tannhauser overture is possibly the one unfolding of a new thought in all the previous several weeks.