“You play you win, you play you lose, you play”

It’s been an intense and productive last few weeks here, not only working out ideas for my solo show at Motorcade / FlashParade (more on that story later…), but largely consumed by planning a project for the late spring and putting together a funding bid for it. It’s a good few years since I last did one, and I obviously underestimated the time and work it would take! It’s good work, mind, the processes of thinking through how a project might best come together, how partner organisations (in this case Arnolfini and Knowle West Media Centre) can pool resources, how audiences and artists can be engaged by practice, and what different skills and experience individual collaborators will bring to the table. It’s both encouraging and humbling, as are the ongoing conversations it’s sparked with individuals and organisations. I’m looking to develop, with the exceptional Dane Watkins, new interactive performance documentation software, based on a prototype with which we experimented as part of Whose Data at KWMC last year. I’m planning to explore this through experiments in collective durational performance art with a number of artists from Bristol, Bath, Gloucestershire and Somerset, informed by research visits and experiments to/with the lovely folk at ] Performance Space [, Oui Performance, and Bbeyond. It’s very exciting, and feels quite timely.

Becoming-goat 2006

As part of the project, I’ve been invited to curate a something at Performance Exchange, SITE Festival, Stroud. It’ll be a collective durational performance involving members of a number of artists groups (]PS[, OUI, tactileBOSCH, CAZ project space, Tertulia), who will also be presenting performances and artists of their own throughout the weekend. It struck me yesterday that not only do I know all of these groups (chosen by the curator of the Performance Exchange) and respect their work, I have a deep sense of love towards them. This new(ish) decade that we’re in seems to have brought with it a different sense of community (amongst artists as in wider social movements), of generosity between artists, and a desire to build a strong grassroots network for performance and action art in the UK that is vital and resilient. In spite of – or perhaps because of – the recession, government cuts, and the common sense of disillusionment with capitalism and politics, it seems like different strategies, different values and different forces come to the fore. In writing this I recall a response I wrote some two years ago, to Live Art UK’s publication In Time. One excerpt seems particularly relevant, a quote from a former professor of mine, the feminist philosophy powerhouse that is Rosi Braidotti:

“Crucial to the ethics of sustainability: the transformation of negative into positive passion and through that a non-normative concept of limit. Affectivity in fact is that which activates an embodied subject, empowering him/her to interact with others. This acceleration of one’s existential speed, or increase of one’s affective temperature, is the dynamic process of becoming.[…] The subject-in-becoming is the one for whom “what’s the point?” is an all-important question. A high-intensity subject is also animated by unparalleled levels of vulnerability. With nomadic patterns comes also a fundamental fragility. Processes without foundations need to be handled with care; potentia requires great levels of containment in the mode of framing. Sustainability assumes the idea of continuity – it does assume faith in a future, and also a sense of responsibility for ‘passing on’ to future generations a world that is liveable and worth living in. A present that endures is a sustainable model of the future. “You play you win you play you lose, you play.” [J. Winterson]” (Braidotti, R. ‘Between the no longer and the not yet: nomadic variations on the body’). And it really feels like a joy, an honour and a responsibility to play, and to do so with such wonderful colleagues.

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