I watch: the work of: Matt Claderwood and others at CocA in their current exhibition there.
I photograph: Pecarious balancing on the walk home along St Asaph street. And later that day
see it again at the Isaac Theater, watching Royal New Zealand Ballet perform In the Middle
Somewhat Elevated by William Forsythe.
I feel: Precariously balanced in my new heels with carry on at Wellington Airport and between
memories of living here, and not recognizing it all. Especially in the sun! Sitting out looking over
Breaker Bay to all the blue I’ve ever seen in one place, at one time. I’m surprised: I can say it’s 25 years since I was a student at the New Zealand School of Dance.
Since then it has a new name, new premises and a new breed of articulate and hungry dancers.
I’m invited to teach, and share some of my own interest in creative practice and the exchange
based research I set up in Switzerland, called WORKING SESSIONS.
It’s an appropriate time to be there as they are half way through preparing a choreographic
season of their own.
I find myself saying: I believe in nurturing creative process to sustain the longevity and quality of
an artist’s creative output. I believe there might be a way of looking, engaging with and
perceiving the world - that enables an approach to creating, maybe even living - that stands
apart from the idea of production, but is interested in producing for the sake of producing, and
values experimentation and has everything to do with your desire, your interest, your joy.
Although I wonder if: It is just luck that still has me here, still doing this thing. And I’m asking
myself for how much longer might I be able to keep at it?
Somehow I think about: Commerce meeting Art, and the pervasiveness of business language to
talk about art. Perhaps the pervasiveness of ‘the corporate’ in general. That word ‘pitch’ and the
fascinating meeting of ambition, opportunity and power that rub shoulders at an Arts Market. I
think about how convincingly the artists I met at PAANZ could engage with a particular language
to sell themselves, sell their work. How this demand is no different at similar platforms I’ve been
to in Europe.
Who said: Its no wonder with a business man running the country?
Who else said: Business men and women run the world?
I champion: Wendy Houstoun’s vocal protest on Facebook about the effects this language, this
treatment might have on art, and on artists themselves.
I read: Bojana Kunst’s Artist at Work. Proximity of Art and Capitalism.
I meet: A great group of kids at Hagley High and teach them some Ballet. Makes me think I’d like
to do some more teaching somewhere similar in Switzerland.
Julieanne Eason comes to visit Pigeon Bay Hall.
We met at PAANZ in Wellington and saw the indomitable Jo Randerson together at Bats Theater.
So f****** pleased to finally see this woman perform!
Julianne and I discuss some ideas for the space at Sawtooth and my presentation there on the 7th April. She agrees to lend a hand, or an eye in between lunch and some sheep mustering.
See what she’s most recently been up to in Auckland last week.
Instead of presents this year: I asked friends and family to gift me a wish for my 42nd birthday. I
was hoping for a wish a day during my time in New Zealand. People interpreted my request
pretty differently. For some, it was a kind of exercise in voracious wish fulfillment - for other’s, a
case of imagining what I might need/want at this time, in this place. I put it to them, if they were
me, here in New Zealand for 2 months, what would they do?
I’m calling it: A Wishful Thinking Project, though maybe it’s more of A Stab in the Dark, or Mid
Life Crisis kind of thing.
So far I’ve: Kissed someone’s mother for them, taken a photo of the sea everyday, listened to a
new piece of music everyday, been wild, written everyday, opened an Instagram account,
screamed from a high lonely place; PLEASE PEACE LOVE RESPECT, eaten a mince pie and
walked out to the Heads and back (5 hours). Everybody should walk out to the Heads and back!
So far I have not: Stolen and bagged mens underwear from a rugby club, gone to Fielding, or read Henri Bergson "Materie and Gedächtins" - the book about human feeling on time, with a red neck on the back seat of a car. I haven’t yet made a checklist of the past or used it for the future, or replicated that moment from Stijn Celis’s ballet Dangerous Liaisons to Mahler music.
I so am: Going to realise the wish of a friend mine in Amsterdam living with ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). His name is Anil. We danced together in Bern, at the Stadt Theater. His condition is so serious , on a good day he’s on the couch. On a bad day, he’s in bed, unable to walk, sit up, see
people, or have anyone talk to him, let alone touch him.
He recently pulled off a miraculous event, organising the screening of a documentary about the disease with a reputable doctor as key note speaker, all from his bed.
Both these sources describe the illness pretty well.
He wished: I draw awareness to his condition, and in particular the current controversy around
research and testing for the disease, by staging a performance and then nominating others to
do the same.
I will: Make a performance for Anil together with Christchurch based collaborative artists,
Edwards and Johann who work across a board spectrum of disciplines to RE -search the world
we live in.
Watch this: Space for more details.
Before I even got here: Mum organized the Pigeon Bay School Hall on the Peninsula for me to
work in, in preparation for the classes, performance and presentation of research Julia has set up
for me through MAP.
Switzerland, you should see this place!
I’m starting off: With my daughter’s plaits this morning, strong coffee, and the promise of rain.
So far today I have: Gone for a run down to the wharf, encountered some kind of sea bird down
there which I didn’t feel like disturbing, done 20 minutes of automatic writing, had a mini van of
American tourists drop in looking for a toilet, and discovered a cupboard of old books with
great titles like;
TEXTURES OF LIFE
THE SAINTS OF THEATER
THE MAMMON OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
THE SCARLET TANAGER
VERA OF THE STRONG HEART
A CASTLE TO LET
MR SPONGES SPORTING TOUR
THE FOOL AND HIS MONEY
THE DAUGHTER OF VIKINGS.
So far I have not: Managed to get WIFI or find a light switch or come up with a good enough
idea for the books or their titles. Or an appropriate response to; ‘Well, doesn't it look cosy in
I’m thinking a lot about: Death, public grieving on Facebook, my beautiful friend Eugene, the
appropriate tribute, making an ‘old school dance’, Beyonce, and the conversation I had at
PANNZ with someone, about Christchurch. The words reference point were said. The landmarks
that people once orientated themselves by, now missing - long since gone.
I’m asking myself: How this might be similar to a death, and what impact this has on the
identities of people that continue to live here. Who are we, without the people or the places we
identify ourselves by?
I’m listening to: Halo by Beyonce.
I’m worrying I’m: Spending too much time on this Blog and not enough time moving. And if I’m
setting up enough of a robust practice? If my running should be longer? My writing be more
voracious, the stretching more painful? I’m wondering if this daily practice, which is not quite as
daily as it wants to be, should be this pleasurable?
I am not sure, but I think: there’s a thing shaping up in my head, if not my body, that might turn
out to be an ‘old school’ dance, of the variety I’ve not made or danced in a long long time. To
music, even? I’m wondering how easy that will be? The last two years I’ve been most busy with
the ‘how of the what’ - an exchange based research platform I set up with Swiss based
choreographers and performance makers looking into process and collaboration.
I’m contemplating how my: (body) memory might piece together a collection of all the dances
I’ve danced. Fragments, steps, moments from a long long line of dancing reaching back perhaps
to my earliest memories of dancing. I’m asking myself if that dance with a bee and a stain glass
window aged about 4 would count as the first? Curious hands reaching for something I didn’t
know, I’d never seen before.
I’ve tried: Putting on heels and moving like he moved.
I’m always: Doing the thing where I turn out one of my feet and join the other one to it but at a
new angle so it becomes a parallel position facing a new front, and going on like this for a while
before realizing it’s the thing I’m always doing. And then I stop doing it.
This is new for me but I want: To stop questioning Why? I’ve decided a more helpful question,
when pursuing creative practice, might be What? - ‘What am I doing?’
I’ve got the American choreographer and performance maker, Jeanine Durning in my head
when she says; ‘The idea is not the thing!’, ‘The doing of the thing, is the thing!’
I’m looking for: Youtube versions of songs I made dances to, between the ages of 10 and 15,
when I still lived here in Christchurch. I reckon this song, used in an end of year school concert
from 1985 might be the pick of the bunch. I wore a royal blue leotard.
I’m busy with the question: Carole Ann Duffy poses in her book; The Bees: ’What will you do
now with the gift of your life left?’ I can’t help thinking this place, Pigeon Bay, a better place than
most to think about it. I feel lucky to be here.
MAP invites independent artists to share their practice with written and video blogs.