December 3, 2015
I’m feeling my way back in to the Nijinsky poems today; reaching out my hands with my eyes closed for the relative quietness this project offers me.
I’ve been in a cave-like space, crouching in the dark. For my collaborator Andrew Darling and I have publically performed our improvised performance artwork twice in the past two weeks, and for me to perform publically requires an opening-up that is difficult, and in truth, painful.
Perhaps like many other performers, I need to make myself very raw and vulnerable in order to bring out what’s at the heart and guts. It’s my intention to be in full authenticity in my writing, as in life, and in this project particularly, I want to tease out these states: states of authentic art and living; states of vulnerability.
And so, since the second performance which took place this Sunday night just gone, I have been doing it hard emotionally, having a sense of skinlessness, and I’ve dived deep into the cave-like place that is my extreme sensitivity.
It has been beautiful to observe Andrew in a celebratory, excited space, creating a video of footage of the performance, enjoying the process of looking at the footage and seeing the potential of the work… while I have remained in my post-performance cave for the time being, processing some quite excruciating emotions.
Because Illuminous is improvised performance art, it is different every time we practise or perform it. From the very first session, which took place at Cement Creek, in the forest near Warburton, there was a powerful sense of authentic expression present which took us both by surprise. What is written and played by us varies every time. It emerges in the moment, note by note, word by word, silence and space by silence and space.
This is an image of us, taken by Kate Baker, at work in the Redwoods forest near our homes in Warburton. Here, I know I was in full submission to the improvisation.
I rarely remember much of what I have written, by the end of the performance or practice session. It’s like trying to remember a dream. I also don’t recall much of Andrew’s playing, but I hold the shapes and weights of it inside, and it seems both familiar and strange if I listen afterwards to a recording.
We are sharing the video of the most recent performance, which took place at the Hawthorn Town Hall. Vulnerability is very much part of the work indeed and part of its power. And it’s with intense vulnerability that I commit to sharing the footage. Aesthetically, it’s not perfect to me. I would like the projected text to be more deeply infused in the performance space, washing over us like a phosphorescent wave, rather than suspended above us. I would like to have surrendered to full authenticity of the heart and body in my writing: in this performance I was distracted by an awareness of the nature of the event and audience and so I self-censored a little, avoiding very dark themes and imagery and sexually explicit material. I don’t want to do that in future performances. I am dedicated to being in exquisite authenticity and letting what is of the moment be present, no matter how uncomfortable or discomforting.
You can watch the video here, or else visit the Illuminous page and view it from there.