impulstanz – settlement… (perhaps day 10)

I’ve been meaning to say something about my apartment, I mean to say, where I’m staying. The woman who let it out to me, not the owner when I asked what she does (I don’t think this is a dumb or lazy question because I’m actually interested in what someone does, especially if they’re passionate about it or it’s weird) said, I’m a freelance philosopher, in feminism. Oh yes I already wrote this on the first day. And so into the apartment, two flats on different stories joined by a flight stairs by the door. A vast bed, a thin futon oh what bliss, a bathroom I could drown in, a kitchen meant for cooking with gas burners like exhausts on tiny space probes. One woman lives upstairs and we have spent some evenings drinking wine and schnapps together talking about central asia and other things, and…

I have imagined the owner because I’ve never met her from the books in her study that line the entirety of one wall. On her table is a text by Bruno Latour, much of the packed shelves are in german, cultural studies and periodicals, then a couple of regions populated in Engilsh, Judith Butler oh yes!!! and Susan Sontag, Gilles Deleuze, and Love and Rockets comics which seem to be sprouting up all over my life recently, and a stack of dyke comics also, mmm… happy bedtime.

Outside walking home in the evening I have to ignore the endless cars slow-crawling with single men looking to pay for sex, and similar walking the pavement, whistling or making clicking or other noises like trying to call a dog or pet. Occasionally I show them a middle finger. I don’t mind at all people working the street or men seeking, but I get really shitty when these men think any woman they see can be approached. I want to make them read the entirety of the last sixty years of feminism.

I bought a ticket to Zürich this morning.

A small warmup and then a talk about the day, a photocopied page of Hans’ running order of the piece, a plan to get through the first half before lunch, the second half after, and a run of sorts around 6pm. I was expecting a tough day for some reason, but besides occasional plummets into dreaminess, it was all quite smooth and I didn’t feel like I’d been flattened at the end.

What to say…

Oh, hello everyone from the settlement who has now discovered me here courtesy ImPulsTanz’s newsletter.

I think I’ll just write about the evening rehearsal.

There was a small audience and someone filming for the run, Libby Farr I think, because I seem to keep seeing her everywhere, not that I go many places.

I have to find underwear I can run in that doesn’t try to lacerate my adductor tendon. I managed to partially destroy the badminton net on one pass, and soon discovered in the clothes dressing bit, lying on the floor shunting ourselves along, dressing, undressing that my sweatiness meant I stuck to one spot and clothes to me. Everyone slides, I attach and detach from the floor like a floppy limpet.

Occasional blanks where I whisper to someone, what’s next. Many moments of business where I decide to do nothing. Estelle and I talk about this in the tent, I’m trying to say something about the tendency needs to be towards nothing, but am cryptically obtuse, she says, people think, oh I need to be doing something, instead of oh, I need to be doing nothing. With sixteen people, a lot of nothing can happen.

In the darkness, badminton being played in fading light far from me, people sleeping in tents, I sneak to the public call phone and I order a large jar of peanut butter, two kilos of bananas and two loaves of crusty white bread. mmm… I am single-minded.

The dragging bit seems to paradoxically work better when all four are being hauled along when they go much slower, almost a delicate thing. Olive says some things, “I met her at my funeral”, “He took me to a stadium it was full of dead bodies”.

I decide not to fight at all. Too much bedlam, everyone swinging at each other. I thought about consensual behaviour. I’m not sure what I want to say here. I’ve been reading let them eat pro-sm feminist safe spaces recently, I wrote on day two of this, thinking about the applicability of discourse in the bdsm scene to genderqueer, and so was thinking about ‘safe, responsible, consensual and respectful’, that is to say in part, how to conceptualise rules for play. For me, the fighting if seen and thought (from both audience and performers’ perspective) as a representation of a brawl, it is quite problematic for me, and I’m content to skirt the edges and concentrate on setting up our appallingly bad amateur theater caper. But to imagine it as something consensual, we decide to fight, we take pleasure in hitting and being hit, to have respect in this play and in the person and body we do this with, I think is far more rich with troubling interpretations.

We are in therapy, and part of this is to hit each other. And we agree to do this. We love to give and receive this.

So we reach the end, running again, in darkness this time. It felt good, coherent, a lot of work for two weeks, 70 minutes or so. We rehearse in the afternoon tomorrow and then…