abjection — night 1

Usually I say, “[name of work] — day 1“, but it’s reasonably fitting for abjection to say, “night 1“, being a somewhat dark piece. After a little work on some ideas in Madrid, and much, much thinking, reading, researching, going over a couple of years now, whatever this piece is, it’s coalesced into something recognisable in my head. Would that I would simply extract the film from behind my eyes, and use that to learn the whole work. instead …

I am rehearsing in Theaterhaus Mitte, in an old school by Märkisches Museum. Which is to say, I’m rehearsing in a classroom. It is night, so the windows make adequate mirrors when I need, and my laptop records my two-three minute bursts of exuberance (then I sit down for a while). I am rehearsing there because it is cheap. I can afford an evening rehearsal for the cost of lunch. I also somehow like the place. It has a feeling I don’t feel alien from. It’s small though, but of the moment it will suffice.

The musical accompaniment was Gorgoroth’s Antichrist. I find Gaahl very attractive at the moment, aesthetically as well as visually (yes, he didn’t join till after Antichrist, and only on Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam does he write the music and lyrics, but … I only had Antichrist yesterday), and the tinniness of black metal, sounding like it was playing on a transistor radio suited the ambience.

I’d been wanting to work on the movement parts of abjection in a studio first. Mainly because the other parts I can rehearse elsewhere initially, and the dancing needs both some room to avoid walls as well as the mentality that comes from being in a studio. I’ve taken to videoing myself for each improvisation (managing to get through most of Antichrist in 2 1/2 hours), trying out different ideas, but altogether very much on one path.

There is a definite — and far more apparent than I expected — black metal attitude to it, or maybe to say if some choreographers use jazz or disco as their motivation and the movement of those genres comes across in the performance, then I’ve done the same with meiner Lieblingsmusik. What was also blaringly obvious is that for me to do what I am going to have to, to make this scene function (and the whole piece), I’ll have to spend some intense rehearsal time working out the mechanics of particular movements; training like boot camp at ADT. The thought of what I’m embarking on — and I was stiff and sore this morning, dragging myself to ballet — is like facing a mountain. I mean so literally. When one is close to a behemoth, it becomes self-evident that endurance and a fair number of bruises shall constitute the immediate future.

I spent the last hour working on the text from Julia Kristeva’s Powers of Horror, which at the moment, along with a Cantonese Opera demon and a cleaver, constitutes the beginning of the work. I’m conflicted with Kristeva. I am deeply suspicious of any philosopher who seriously entertains psychoanalysis as a legitimate field, firstly because it simply is incoherent with regard to scientific understanding of the mind and secondly because my introduction to philosophy was Deleuze and Guattari. Further, her extremely uncritical involvement with China during the cultural revolution should legitimately be a stain on her reputation equal to any collaborationist.

I’m not sure how I would postulate a Deleuzian regard of the idea of abjection, or whether it’s especially necessary. I’m concerned with a particular horror of one’s self’s corporeality, one that is also perhaps a little unreflective, inchoate, and in this, the part of Powers of Horror in Chapter 1, Neither Subject nor Object, has this.

For the moment, I’m rehearsing once a week. Nor much, perhaps additional fooling around on my own, getting things together. I have no idea when it will fall into a proper rehearsal period, even less get performed — particular things such as a large octopus (deceased), are likely to require significant organisation (and refrigerating). Nonetheless, it’s very nice to be making something again.

frances contemplating abjection
frances contemplating abjection