Over half the group were ill this week. I was not well either, so our session was a little more quiet than usual. We talked about and played with ideas around participation – what ways are there of developing work where the presence and activity of the audience is essential for the work to be able to come alive. We spoke performances we had experienced where the participatory nature had worked really effectively, and experiences we’d had where it hadn’t. We wondered about what makes that interaction work so brilliantly in some contexts and not in others. We looked in a little more detail at 3 case study projects – my audio work, Walking Stories, Manual by Siobhan Davies, and the Performing Book by Janine Harrington.
Here is our book of words from our small, select session!
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Siobhan Davies gave us the remarkable experience of Manual last week. I think Sarah’s description in the post below gives a pretty good explanation of what we got up to. Below is an image, link to a short video clip about Manual and our book of words from the session to give a flavour of what is all looked like.
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Last week we were lucky enough to have an exploration of Siobhan Davies’ work Manual. The workshop consisted of giving one person laying on the floor instructions to stand up. Sounds easy enough?
Me:’Ok so, bend your your knees’
Partner (laying on the floor): ‘how do I bend my knees?’
Me:’By lifting them up?’
Partner: ‘I can’t just lift my knees, what else do I have to do?’
Me: ‘Engage your stomach muscles, keep your pelvis in line. As you gradually lift your knees the base of your feet should start to rest on the floor while your knees are coming up towards the ceiling.’
Partner (STILL laying on the floor): ‘Ok that’s much clearer, now what to I have to do?’
The exercise carried on all the way to standing in a similar pattern, as I slowly tried to give my partner clear efficient instructions to eventually reach a standing position.
The experience, was somewhat frustrating but a good laugh too. I learnt a lot from the workshop especially about how much of our body we have to use to do what we do so naturally as our daily routine. My patience was tested, but I also reflected gratefully that I had a body that was mobile, and could take part in these daily movements so effortlessly.
As I thought about how aware I had to be in my body while doing this exercise, I remembered all the times I’ve been on a train in rush hour where several people were getting cross with me because I wasn’t thinking about my rucksack on my back. As I had been standing on the train close to people forgetting that I also had a big rucksack invading others peoples space.
I have also been one for knocking things off of shelves in shops by accident, because I had not been thinking about the Rucksack and extra space I should be aware of.
After reflecting on last week, I have still felt grateful for the ability to move everyday. But I have also been much more aware of my Rucksack!
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