Please note: A talk about art is not art. Neither is it dramaturgy. It is a talk. In this case an e-talk held on the 20th of June between 7:00 pm and 8:30 pm.
We will read this talk now. Please lay down and listen. After we have finished reading, you have three minutes to get up again. And another three minutes to make a comment to the talk.
AK:The elephant, the huge old beast, is slow to mate; he finds a female, they show no haste they wait for the sympathy in their vast shy hearts slowly, slowly to rouse as they loiter along the river-beds and drink and browse and dash in panic through the brake of forest with the herd, and sleep in massive silence, and wake together, without a word. So slowly the great hot elephant hearts grow full of desire, and the great beasts mate in secret at last, hiding their fire. Oldest they are and the wisest of beasts so they know at last how to wait for the loneliest of feasts for the full repast. They do not snatch, they do not tear; their massive blood moves as the moon-tides, near, more near till they touch in flood. D. H. Lawrence
Sorry to use a heterosexual poem to begin our e-talk with. I just like the slow elephants. I want to use the image to ask you, what kind of qualities in artistic practice are connected to slowness for you?
SMcG: Well that was one of the first motivations to come to this slow practice in the studio as a way to slow down, but that notion became more complex through the process. Its more easier for me to say what I would desire, which would be slow watching, slow talking, slow touching, slow wrestling, maybe another connection to the slow is anti work in artistic practice
AK:You speak about „artistic practice“ as staging, right?
SMcG: I am thinking about it in terms of what I am practicing right now, what I spend my time with, what formulates or gives structure to my doing.
AK:Do you mean anti work more like no results or like non-dance? Means to inverse the notion of work and include recreation time as part of work?
SMcG:I guess with anti work, yes: no results, or more like a distracted form of a result.. a slow getting there.
AK: Slowing down is almost a cliché connected with contemporary life ever since modernity. What does slowing down mean for you? Is it a critique of contemporary culture? Or is it a psychological experiment or a muscular one?
SMcG: It could be seen as a critique on contemporary culture, yet what I am most interested in is expanding the construction of an image or getting into an idea or trajectory over time. I wanted to get out of this youtube time: 3 mins this and 3mins that, and in a way take that video and play it over an hour. On another level it is also connect to my desire to come back to the body in my work, and also ask what dance can do. What I have been thinking about through this is process is how to do we spend time with art? With the slow practice it allows me to create a space that is not about the climatic spectacle, or constructing in a frame work of 50mins, rather I wanted to address a constant in the work through the durational and also to open up different ways of spending time in the theatre.
AK: As far as I understood the concept of time by Augustinus, time flows through us from the future to the past. The moment, when it meets us, is the present. In this sense, there would be no stretching of time. Does this make sense?
SMcG: Funny, while articulating what this slowness is to the performers, I often say its about a continuous moving forward into and through the material or trajectory. In that way we would be continually moving toward the future. I also think about the ‘living present’ (Rachel Loewen Walker) and how the living present is never a static now but a stretching between past and future.. and with this stretching time I am relating it to the image.. that we see the construction of it.. a visual cinematic landscape appearing through a non linear time..
AK: You mean movement as an image, so say laying down as an image, that, only through slowing down, we are able to recognize as an image?
(Because otherwise we are only concentrated in the result of a move. If somebody brought us the coffee or not…)
SMcG: In the slowness that we practice, I would say that is in the multiple images that appear in the lying down, so not only in the lying down itself but also in the between space to get there, how the slow movement can create various meanings on one action or trajectory.. i guess that is what I was trying to say with opening up the image.. that there is space and focus on detail and ambiguity
AK: You were speaking in another talk about queering the time. I tried hard to get an image of this. Time has no gender. So does it have to do with the fact, that you use other time modes than expected? So you meet with a colleague to have a coffee, you go to the loo, you start reading there and come back two hours later? Or is this just stretching and not queering?
SMcG: I don't directly relate queering to a question of identity so in this case time would not have a gender indeed. Im rather interested in what it can do as a quality or as a potential to think how to queer time and yes indeed how would this look.. I think a lot about what Jack Halberstam writes on queer time in opposition to the institution of the family, reproduction, how these are all markers for hetero time.. and “if we can think about queerness as outcome of strange temporalities, imaginative life schedules and eccentric practices we detach queerness from a sexual identity..” and in terms of working with this artistically I have been thinking about this through ruptures how certain actions, embodiments, materials, set-ups can make us experience time differently.. Like when we did BOUNTY in tanznacht people fell asleep, others were on the phone, some came in / out, maybe this could be one manifestation of this from the audience perspective. But in terms of my own practice it is very much connected to ideas of embodiment that can point to different experiences of time.. What would a gendered time look like for you?
AK: Thinking about the time when you fall in love with somebody and this love or admiration or affection is not outspoken and but developing into being outspoken, then time seems to get a gender to me. This kind of stretching and acceleration of time does not happen if you are not entangled with somebody of your sexual preference. Or is this very stupid now? Can we disconnect those moves from the concept of time?