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Notes on Brexit

Originally published on Facebook and Instagram, 31 January 2020

photo: Paul Wade

I never felt at home in the United States, where I was born and grew up. I felt at home in my parents’ house, when I danced or skated, at university and in Philadelphia’s theatre community, but never fully in the culture at large. My sense of humour didn’t work there. People often didn’t “get” me. They asked me what was wrong a lot. When I was a child, I used to sit in the park not far from my parents’ house and face East, as if through regular performance of this ritual, I could will myself across the ocean, to Europe, where I had never been.

When I first lived in a European country - the Czech Republic in 2005/2006 - I experienced a transformation in my wellbeing and sense of self. I began to dismantle the toxic association of a person’s wealth with their intrinsic value as a human being. I learned delayed gratification. I felt sexier than I ever had in the United States. I made dear friends who shared …
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An experimental metaphysics, or The Moving Body in Higher Education

Originally posted on Instagram on 17 May 2019 as "An experimental metaphysics, or [TITLE_REDACTED]"



Your task: simultaneously, assimilate the following:

The body is to be minutely analysed.
The body is its own expression.
The body is to be worked.
The body is not to be worked too much.
The body is a temple - treat it with care.
The body is not to be allowed to stop, under any circumstances.
The weakness of the body is to be denied. (If it can’t be denied, it is your fault.)
Some bodies are better than other bodies. Which bodies those better bodies are will be decided by others.
Others will decide how you should use your body.
Your body is your research, your laboratory, your material, your subject.
What happens in your body and through your body has something to say to others. It is of value, that something. It is important.
Your body doesn’t matter.
Cultivate the responsivity of your body.
Your body should respond only to appropriate stimuli.
Learn to listen to your body.
O…

Content production in the time of Corona...

Originally posted on Facebook, 9 April 2020

Over the past weeks, I’ve read a number of posts and articles suggesting that the arts sector - the performing arts in particular - should use this time to stop. These posts have not sat well with me, but they have been accumulating and seem to have considerable traction. I have avoided too much engagement with them on the grounds that a) I think we all need to go easy on ourselves and each other right now and b) perhaps selfishly, I wondered if the response they provoke in me is a personal reaction to what I perceive (perhaps unfairly) as judgement of my own decision not to down tools at this time. Last night, I decided to spend some time digging into what exactly I think about this and why. In this post, I want to share what I uncovered.  Note before proceeding: I am not at all addressing the decision of individual artists or groups to use this current interregnum however they see fit. I do not wish to endorse a culture of “should” in any…

notes to self: a glossary for what i do

So it's a season of - among other things - digging through piles of digital detritus in search of old workshop plans. I hate doing this kind of thing. I do almost anything to avoid it. I do this because as long as I don't actually look into my archives, I can delude myself into thinking that they exist.

There is something perversely paradoxical in my seeming inability to organise things properly. It's enough to think 'this is quite good, I should make sure to keep it' and then all hope of actually doing so is gone. I don't know how to ratify my allergy to proper record keeping with a simultaneous and contradictory need to assert my presence on the world.

That's a big tug and pull for me.

I want to leave foot prints, so long as my feet aren't artificially weighed down. I want to wear a groove, but only the kind that allows for divergence.

So yeah. Whatever that's about, my (lack of) record-keeping is a physical manifestation of it. Happily, the disor…

Because we don't work in a vacuum.

by Becka McFadden

So this blog is about performance and perhaps this is a semi-hijack. Though perhaps not. Once, not so very long ago, I did a PhD grounded in the sociology of theatre and performance. The fundamental premise of this school of thought - unsurprisingly - is that what we do on stage is not distinct from what is happening in the world. Making art, we both respond to and co-create the social world in which we continue to live, love, vote, pay taxes and make more art.

A brief anecdote by way of illustration. During the dark days (though how comparatively luminous they seem in retrospect!) of George W. Bush's run for re-election, I was doing my MA in Theatre. Our programme was organised such that you could hold an almost fulltime-time job and still do it, as a result of which our classes started around 4:30 and rehearsals often continued past midnight. The night of the election coincided with a significant rehearsal of a political twentieth century European play that dea…

The I-Ching and the aesthetics of shimmer

Because sometimes you find yourself sitting in a cafe with a copy of the I-Ching to your left and it’s in Polish. But you’ve seen it here before - not in this cafe, but in this city. In English, the last time, at a significant moment, even if proffered by an untrustworthy individual. It came, that time, at a moment of needing to trust. It came back the summer before last, in the wake of a decision that was in some ways good and an in others bad. A gently insistent reminder to attune to The End in Sight. 
I ask myself what hexagram is that? I can’t remember. Can I find it? Will I recognise it in Polish? 64. Przed Spe┼énianiem. Koniec Przed Spe┼énianiem. 
When things flow, there’s a sense of continuity and overlap - coexistence of time/space. I feel forward and back, accumulated experiences shimmer. I’m attracted to this aesthetic of shimmering lately. I see it in my head as a collection of loosely woven baskets, which sit inside of one another. Their weavings cross and contradict one anoth…

BackStories - When, or is it Where, or is it What?

by Mary Ann Hushlak Backstory – where to begin?  Behind us, most certainly. Yet in terms of when, when to start from? Yesterday, last week, a month ago, a year ago, several years ago, most of a life?  Or from a particular event?  A particular something?  Or a very specific place? Even as we say the word, our heads raise and tilt ever so slightly backwards. In fiction, backstory is about how a character gets to be like that, or does that, whatever the that of the story is. In real life, it’s more how each of us can be fathomed, can be understood, can be contextualized, can be tracked, how our bodily reactions and inner thoughts penetrate our actions, our gestures, our tone -  right now, in this moment.    Backstory is of course about time, time past, what is behind us and what we carry with us. Remnants, vestiges of habits, rituals, mementos as much as memories, crucial moments, scars, wounds, phobias and history. All of the remnants, through time and, also, through space. Like a terri…