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impulstanz – settlement… (perhaps day 4)

So perhaps I admit I’m going to blog about this most days…

Somehow I found myself doing yoga at WUK in the morning, drifting through and then warmup with everyone was… yoga! I could barely stand. Actually it was rather short and nice, I think most people are a little sore and tired.

Badminton! Shuttlecock! 板羽球! (Battledore?)

Hans certainly has many ways to keep us entertained. We played badminton instead of bootcamp. Things got progressively weirder until we were pretending to be in serious competition until the music stopped and then all freeze… slow motion…

I’m reminded a little of Wendy Houston and other former DV8 people making dance-theatre who use unspecific tasks to create a tableau or mise en scene onto which they project meaning. I have found this approach rather unsatisfactory, as the lack of commitment to saying something definite means ultimately what you see can mean more-or-less anything. Which is the same as watching an hour of nothing. Hans though has tasks and means of directing them, or even through inaction letting them evolve that seems, from the inside at least, to not fall into this ambivalent trap.

I’m not quite sure how, or maybe it’s that the tasks, and he himself interest me. I want to ask him if he’s done any Lacanian group therapy…

We have a table arranged at one end of the space, opposite the doors, and much clutter about. Three chairs in front to the right if you are facing. A small desk and chair beside the clutter on the left, facing the other chairs. A laptop with a series of images. A single 500W lamp on a stand facing the ceiling. Midway down the room still, the Badminton net. From the entry doors we see through the net to the table at the end of the court. Chairs line either side of the court.

The lights are turned out except the one mentioned. Three people sit in the chairs, one person is looking at the photos, their verbal thoughts, noises, responses to the images, their own memories, like looking through a box of polaroids in a recently dead relative’s house, from words and sentences, coherent and comprehensible meaning to breath, noises, a return to the primeval. The images rescind our evolution until the viewer no longer can communicate except as a desultory mumble and indistinct groan.

Badminton starts again. Sometimes the shuttlecock is lost and there is just the martial slicing of rackets through air. Things happen, people move around, the game is a metronome. I lie under the net, along its length, watch the shuttlecock arc and twist in the air above. A tent arrives, Ivan arrives. The concrete is cold, so warmth is welcome. The space contracts and dims towards the table and solitary, incomprehensible narrators, I play badminton with Ivan, smaller and smaller, everything pulls in, fading light, the heat-death of the universe… The door outside opens.

Lunch. Much Pakistani curry at Deewan again. I eat too much and need a coffee and a lie down before the afternoon.

Yesterday or the day before I think, we worked in small groups of four on therapy methods for phobias. I thought the task was differently understood by people and… varying degrees of success. Perhaps Hans is deliberately obtuse. Perhaps I should stop thinking about Lord of the Flies. Anyway, The Wasp Factory was a far better book, Apocrita beat Diptera.

We returned first to aquaphobia, and somehow made a not so complex but for me with immanent brain-death oh much blllrrrrrr… trying to learn… and then many people got quite wet. Then to aversion therapy for cigarette smokers, swatting the smokes out of someone’s hand, finding some kind of rhythm or interesting things in doing this.

Ummm… that wasn’t very clear. It’s late, I need the little oblivion of sleep.

Later in the café/bar at WUK a passed remark about how it will be boring without conflict. It was pointed out in reply that small settlements deal with conflict rather successfully as their survival depends on that quite underrated and extremely complex skill of cooperation. People are, after all, rather social. I was wondering what paleoanthropologist John Hawks would remark.

For me, conflict is boring. Like watching a male and female pretend hostility towards each other in dance, it says and means nothing. Far more intriguing is the desire to imagine a different way of living together. Hans on the first day talked briefly about isolation and anxiousness within a group, and somehow this is a far more prevalent feeling. Despite doing many things together over three days, there seems to be a calculated loneliness or distance between all of us; together but unreachable.

impulstanz – settlement… (perhaps day 3)

Today I ate dates and fresh peaches for lunch. And a banana. And had dinner at Der Wiener Deewan, mmm Pakistani curries and eat what you want pay what you will.

But first, I slept in.

Oh too tired and sore for yoga. I had to take one stair at a time going up and down for breakfast (now with meusli and coffee so I feel content). And then I got distracted with internet. Oops. Arriving barely with enough time to warm up. Lying on the floor not so sore. And so some yoga to start. I was not the only person thinking, ‘oh lucky me for not doing yoga earlier, otherwise I’d be saying, ok I need to lie down here”. And then some more bootcamp.

I do like simple repetitive things.

So we learn two phrases, dance! Not really, more like martial arts. I was rather pissy last night because walking around this part of town I noticed many single older men in cars leering, and many men sitting in groups on the pavement making asshole remarks. So I, being stupid gave it back at them. Then a man followed me several blocks all the way to my door and was leering almost groping me and I went quite mental on him. I think if I’m not scared, I must be quite frightening in this situation. He ran away with me shouting at him chasing after.

Doing these phrases then, I got to feel a bit angry and fuck-off. And then tired and heavy. Nice to move over and over in simple ways.

Later, at the end we were in two lines and one person would walk down while everyone else shouted and screamed abuse at them, fucking-shit-piece-of-fucking-ass-cunt-wanker-fuck-you-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck… We had sore throats. I was nervous to do this. I look at everyone in the group, and I wonder, ok who here has had this directed at them in their lives often? There are some who are strange and intriguing people but to see on the street maybe would be nondescript. I thought maybe Ivan would sometimes get this, shaved head, conspicuous… perhaps some others, but difficult to know if this is something they would experience in a way that constituted a direct, personal attack on themselves. Or to say, somehow recognise this as a part of their lives.

I thought it would upset me, walking through this. When I did, I didn’t hear or see them. What did upset me was having the person look into my eyes. I couldn’t continue abusing them, because unlike the asshole men yesterday, this person did nothing to diminish me, to force me down, to dehumanise, to erase me. They were just someone I have played with for three days, maybe talked a little with. I can’t play with this easily.

I am staying in a beautiful home. Oh I wish I was in love and came home to meine geliebte in a place like this. One wall is a bookshelf. It is deeply seductive. And comforting. I looked closely last night, thinking it would all be in German. I found Judith Butler there, and many others, dyke comics, and a pile of Love and Rockets comics, oh so… perfect.

I found Susan Sontag’s Regarding the Pain of Others.

A long task after lunch in several parts. First to monologue on a sentence or phrase from several on the floor. A stagelight on either side, confining us to a small field, a microphone to amplify our words, and breathing, and sounds of mouths and lungs. Many chairs close, an audience. Why I decided to leave my lover. How I spy on someone. Drunk at a meeting and about to vomit. How I cope with the phobia of small spaces. Others… To talk about these without mentioning the question. To answer.

Then. A good night on €3. At first long monologues again. Then quick, 10 seconds, maybe less, maybe 30, to try and tell something, quickly changing. How to be inventive.

With Gala and Daniel, and a couple of others, I have two or three little worlds we construct like this. The pirate ship, the vast castle, the university tenure. We would start a bit, say, “I’m going to steal a pirate ship for us…” and then over half an hour or so we make this story to amuse ourselves quite a bit.

I wonder how long before this ceases to be anonymous amongst the settlement?

Tomorrow is Daniel’s birthday. Happy birthday Daniel, I love you. 生日快乐!!! 我爱你

impulstanz – settlement… (perhaps day 2)

I ate prunes today. I went to find coffee, and found myself with chocolate croissant and mélange in a dainty pink cup and bag from Aida on the corner. On the way remembered as I saw it, the bio health food shop I used to frequent. Lunch then was bananas, a vegie burger and prunes.

And so much for yoga this morning instead chatting with a very old blog friend who is now living in LA and had at least two surprises for me to my one for her. We did quite a long warmup/class this morning, I felt like I was back at ADT doing bootcamp with AcroDan, much running and doing simple step patterns the length of the room, no tumbling though… I wanted a row of mats to flop around on. I always miss the things I suck at.

So why am I writing? We did quite a long and eventually physically tiring task of touching hands, pulling away, together, umm… not quite sure how to describe it, sometimes I get quite distracted. Eventually we sat in two rows with a middle-line and came together, slow, fast, talking, all go, all stop, all depart… various combinations, mostly in pairs occasionally in other arrangements.

So I am thinking again about what I wrote yesterday, relationships as connections or as romance and what to say about this. It is certainly easier, simpler, more coherently readable for two people to interact, both for themselves and for the viewers. I was trying to find a piece I read recently on kinship relations and the acceptability of certain sexual practices (or relationships) over others, succinctly reduced to the wonderful term, Vanilla Privilege. Another piece on fetish and the applicability of certain BDSM community ideas about relationships to genderqueer, notably that ‘your kink is ok’ as long as it’s ‘safe, responsible, consensual and respectful’.

And whatever does this have to do with settlement? I suppose firstly these last two days I’ve been playing with a group of 16 people and having some quite explicit directorial agendas to be submerged in. Since I finished pestilence I’ve been exhausted in terms of making performance, yet still thinking about what it is i am trying to create.

We have a pirate fantasy, me and some close friends, stealing a ship, renaming it, filling it with dancers and queers and people like us, stealing a theatre and trapping it in the hull for performances of our own amusement. It’s truthfully something I would like, along with a small herd of goats. It’s also a substantially clear metaphor of how we would like to live. We find ourselves in our recognition by others we desire. all the people… somewhat was a beginning or more conscious revisiting of this.

So I wonder in a settlement where there are already evolving communities and relationships, how possible it is for an understanding that recreating what we already know and live is not necessarily the corpus of this. Perhaps it’s not even a concern for the piece. Perhaps being here is just giving me time to imagine this a little more. I’m also thinking of Saint Uncle Judith… oh I lost the point here, watching her speak at the European Graduate School, talking about what it is to give an account of oneself. (oh, she was writing about the limits of intelligibility of relationships when using the heterosexual model as the basis.)

Hans played a video from The Knife, a song we’d been using during yesterday. A woman, blonde, thin and feminine, wearing a floral dress and heels is singing in a clubroom, bad lights, poor furniture. The audience in whatever scant chairs are filled is almost entirely male, old men, young guys, all a bit tracksuit boys and their dads. It’s shot in slow motion, and by the end they are all dancing, but… there is a menace and apprehension throughout because the singer has a certain ambiguity… well, it’s kinda obvious to me…

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impulstanz – settlement… (perhaps day 1)

I am here.

Oh back in WUK. Last time at DanceWEB, I lived around the corner with some scores of others. I recall a night with a maybe drunk Ivo Dimchev and the then Festival director Guido Reimitz sitting at a long table… something about opera…

Last night i walked around Neubau, to NIL café where again mornings were spent after too long nights. Today on the tram to Arsenal, remembering how to get there by instinct, remembering the route as I saw it. Oh much to say on this sometime, maybe later but not now.

This morning arriving at WUK for Hans van den Broeck’s settlement. Waiting, waiting… talking with people, eleven I think, one from Toronto, some from the States, one from Bruxelles, others from… I suppose in two weeks we will know these details quite well.

I wonder should I blog about this as it isn’t me making a performance, and… is that somehow encroaching on someone-else’s… something… to comment on the making of, I am unsure how far to speak. Oh well, blog now, embarrassment later.

I wanted to do something with Hans since I was at DanceWEB, and… oh it took a while, no? Five years. And I missed doing settlement in Sydney, though possibly not a detrimental absence as now I get to pretend I have a reason to be here in Europe, and Vienna.

Some talking from Hans outside the black void at WUK where DJ Krush is performing on Saturday. And so to enter, a little while after them, one at a time. They are three lying on the floor against the opposite wall, Hans has one hand shielding his eyes. Is he watching us? Beside the door Ivan from Russia/Costa-Rica is hooded. He reminds me of Ivo, with shaved head and a demeanor that could be menacing. Many seats, some sofas and things on the stage (which will be removed on Sunday). Arrivals, sittings, standings, walking around, anxiety. Is the stage somewhere we can go, or… what is the delineation of the space? What are the possibilities? What are the wrongs, mistakes, uninterestings, not-what-we-really-wanted/hoped-for…?

I wonder besides the quartet of Hans and etc, how many of the remainder are in on this, either part of his group or with sufficient extra information? I wonder if almost everyone knows more than me. I wonder if there is LSD in the bread we are given.

Things begin to get exciting, like a church revival. I’m an atheist.

I’m sitting with one from Toronto, one from Paris, one from… Hans joins us, says things about mmm yes, not wanting to be pulled into a group, I wonder how duplicitous he is being. I mean in the name of directing this performance somewhat. We drink some water, he can’t get up on the stage without assistance. He reveals about me my adventures with my father’s friend named Frank and a fifteen year-old boy. I say I’m a lesbian. He says he is followed on the subway, but not sure by whom. A tent is assembled.

More things I forget. Busy-ness, moments I’m intrigued with and moments I think are too obvious, clichés. Why do relationships – in the sense of correspondences or connections – between a male and female always become a pseudo-dialectic about relationships – in the sense of romance. Why is this between two boys or two girls both not presented or seen like this?

Someone turns the lights out. I start running. And then I decide it’s a nice time to go for a run so just keep going. I’ll have sore ankles tomorrow. Occasional lights blind me, I’m afraid of tripping on unseen black chairs in blackness, a tent moves, someone breathes heavily through a microphone while running, I’m slower than everyone, I just potter along at my own comfortable speed, I could keep going until I decide to stop. Hans overtakes me, sits down, overtakes me, sits down, overtakes me… mmm darkness and real and metaphysical, it’s nice and intense and kinda black metal, people running widdershins, stopping starting, breath heaving, noises, maybe to lose a bit of being human, animals coming out in the stygian murk.

We stop for lunch. I discover WUK has free and fast internet.

We sit and talk. Who is who and where and why and what. Interesting people: one a doctor doing a thesis on the performative mise en scene of the doctor’s surgery, people who perform and make performances and do other things.

Later I meet an older woman who smokes much, long hair a little wild, after a time, I ask what she does. She replies she is a philosopher. She works freelance and specialises in feminism. This is why I came back to Europe.

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von berlin hbf nach wien sued

Early rising, 9 hours from Berlin to Vienna, through Czechoslovakia, I’ve never been there before. Now I’ve seen several train stations. The annoyance of a very rushed and disorganised embarking including my seat being on the other side of a locked door was made bearable firstly with much of a six-seat cabin to myself, and later in Prague when the train filled with uptight tourists, by a swift promotion to first class.

My last full day was spent wandering an exhibition which I intend to blog properly some time soon, when proper internet has been attained, and a remark to me on my lamenting my camera phone, that this camera was better than none, and so sitting on the train I realised how its limitations, no zoom, rather slow capture speed, poor exposure qualities (good macro though) makes for a mimimalism that is quite enjoyable (like coding in css and html haha).

I am in Vienna again. Warm, humid, summer, certainly to be wearing skirts and a need for sandals (and the ever-present picking inside my thoughts, “you can’t go back, you have to make this work somehow, here, Berlin, this is where you have to stay”), and tomorrow I guess, to start with Hans. I am found at the train station by Jana, moments after discovering my phone does not work here (oh Berlin I miss you in so many ways), and then a car journey to the 14th district where we are staying in an old apartment house, the king once en promenade outside on his horse, the owner remembering her grandmother’s mother telling such stories, some eating and talking, sleep, then a long breakfast into the afternoon in the garden, fresh bread, cheese, coffee from the Turkish store, learning some words in Croatian and German…

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vienna…

I’m going to Vienna.

eeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

I got an email this afternoon saying I’ve been accepted for the Choreographers’ Venture with Hans van den Broeck. He was a quite memorable influence on me last time I was at DanceWEB, oh years ago now… and I didn’t even do his workshop. I should have. I just got rather drunk in a park with him and a score of others who were doing things with him and thinking, “Crap, I should be doing this…” Now I will be.

I suppose now is also a good time to make the announcement that many of you know already, I’m flying to Germany on July 3rd, first to Berlin, where I have hopes of dance and dark cabarets filled with demimondes and bois, then to Vienna, and afterwards a return briefly to Zürich.

And then to see this delightful pirate whom I miss very much.