Monday, August 3, 2009

Pics of day III

1 comment:

  1. Ah that brought it all back. I wrote a report for Sydney University Performance Studies. I leave it the section dealing with Shifts here:

    The highlight of the conference, for me, was the Shifts, or rather, the Shift I attended. There were three convenors, from Canada, Brazil and the USA respectively. They were devotees of William James, 1842-1910, whose work influenced Husserl and others. There were about 14 of us in total, and the exercises we did were familiar to me from acting and social work training – but with the idea of phenomenology behind them, they took on a different hue. So we did exercises in a tiny little dance studio, to ‘warm us up’ and to get us to operate as a group – some of which I have noted down for use later. Then we would go into different areas of the city, and ‘explore’ it within certain terms. We would remove one sense, for instance: putting earplugs in during a walk from one square to another (the sense of smell increased dramatically). We would move only when the group created some form of ‘bridge’ from one place to another. We would attempt to be inconspicuous in a public place, but without moving at all for ten minutes. We explored the main square of the city in terms of lines, rhythms, and flows, and were asked to find them, then break them. I ended up using the arrival and exit of the trams as my major line and rhythm, and then ‘broke’ it with shaking arms and hands. After 20 minutes of concentration, you lose sight of how lunatic you appear, chasing the trams with hands loose and floating. Later, one of the Croatian participants told me that given this was the Croatian National Day, there was a danger that we were trampling on some sense of National Pride, but she’d been keeping her eye out for trouble.

    The interesting thing was that when I went back to the square the next day, I knew it. I knew it in my body: I had a kind of 360 degree understanding of that square – or of my experience of that square. The exercises had actually embodied some part of an understanding of a phenomenological exploration of place. (SLIDES 3, 4 from ppt.)
    The other thing the Shifts achieved was a community, and a cross-departmental one. We learnt, we experienced, and we kind of partied through the shifts. (SLIDE 5) So I was disappointed when, at the close of the conference, the PSi rep from Canada, asked if they would keep the Shifts, said they might incorporate them into panels. A 20 minute version of the Shift cannot work.

    The final night was a Ganga Party. Ganga is, and I quote, a type of vocal polyphony based on the major second interval and the singers breath. In this case, the singers faced each other in couples and kind of did a cal-and-answer performance. (SOME GANGA FROM GANGAWORK CD). A wooden bucket of wine got handed around the audience who were all round the singers, and I drank and did not get sick. Then the remix-versions came on. The party spilled out onto the streets. There was a near feeling of bacchanalia that I suspect is uncommon at these events. And then the wine ran out.

    Back at the Movie Hotel the next morning, I noticed a photo of Rose Byrne on the pillar by the table where I had breakfast. I worked with Rose once, in Lightening Ridge. Life, Mereau-Ponty says, is full of temporal intentionality. You get a sense, from that, of a linear progression. I think it’s pretty zig zaggy, myself.