Feelings Fuck (written fall 2016, revisited right meow)
Desire Lines… Most commonly refers to foot paths created by repeated travel off of or between formal paths, such as sidewalks. Traces of use or wear that indicate preferred methods of interaction with an object or environment.
Listen: Bull in the Heather, Sonic Youth
At first, the room seems “empty”. I put my things down against the wall and unpack my iPod, sketchbook, and a mechanical pencil. With these items, I walk past a wooden net that hangs from ceiling to floor- it is messy and seems in motion. The sound system, which both works and does not work, defaults to the radio, which is frequently tuned between the stations- transmitting a loud static that is oddly ambient. At times I prefer the static over song and static over silence. The heat has been on full sweltering blast, which I also prefer, but I pull one of the three working windows up to let in air. The air moves through the room, it is abstractly sentimental- neither conjuring past moments nor people, but nonetheless bringing past into the present.
I am ten years younger than my mom’s death.
I walk through the room. I try to arrive or whatever that means. Arrive means different things on different days, and rarely does it refer to something simple and clean… or consistent. During a past moment, “arrive” was explained to me as allowing neutrality to enter as a point of departure and/or framing the present events. Neutral Body. What the fuck is a neutral body? Neutral face. Neutral expectation. Neutral knees. I bend my joints- stretching Adidas (please sponsor me) material and skin around my curves and angles. I might think of a scuba suit and submerge myself in the depths of imagined water- remembering that I love the romance of currents pushing against and surrounding my body, tumbling—metaphorically drowning. I bend more. Ironically, I am overwhelmed by holding my breath. I stretch more. I scrub my feet to the floor as if there was stuck gum and I wait for the heat caused by the friction between my feet and floor. I imagine this heat flooding my body from the ground up and I move accordingly through tiny circles, spirals, and sequential articulations, getting them larger, stoking the kindling throughout my insides, while the weight of vast water fills everywhere and everything else.
I might enter through this semester’s recent ritual: complete my PT, give myself a section of my class, create a new paint for a future class, improvise under the influence of a specific idea, draw, improvise again, perform the growing solo, and eventually generate/rearrange/modify the solo. I return to desire lines in hopes that they can move me towards the world- through movement and space. That the desire lines might serve as paths to recall or discover value, or maybe they can reveal patterns trodden by injury, habit, and/or preference. I try to put movements in order without curating them. Often improvising the order and attempting to recall. What has come to make sense is a product of my experience which has a precarious relationship with my intuition. Unlearn. Can unlearning happen? Unknowing. Can I un-know?
I find the way memory works is slippery, especially in movement- lists, rhythms, tones, timbres, kinesthetic. There are certain cadences of movement that facilitate my memory; perhaps those cadences align with those I have trained through. At times my memory of a movement muddles my understanding of the movement itself. Memory filters, recreates, and reconstructs movement and meaning. Yet with desire in the mix, memory shifts. The desire to feel the material the way it is remembered is not necessarily the same as what the material is/was. Desire lies.
Listen: Or, Sonic Youth
Being warm, I take off my jacket and place it near the sound system, which means it is sometimes on a chair, the floor, or a stool. On darker days, I turn a couple lights on, though it takes me a few attempts to reach the lighting that pleases my aesthetic du jour. Sometimes the light cuts through the wooden netting system that drapes two of the walls and leaves the dancing space riddled with stark checkered shadows. I grab the broom and do a quick once-over of the space, dumping the wad of hair, dust, and tape in the tiny rusted trash can near a door that I always forget is there. In August, I swept up a bird carcass wrapped in dust bunnies and tiny trash pieces.
By now, I’ve played music louder and louder. I repeat a song too many times. I get embarrassed by the quantity of my repeat listening and dramatic setup. The room is full: textures, rituals, heat, timbres, and a gong-like emotionality reverberates through the room. Outside this room, the sky has been slowly fading, and there has been a gentle scratching of branches against the roof. There have been footsteps and doors shutting. I’m not sure if the gong is me or the room. Everything outside continues on, unfazed.
Compartmentalized. Parts. Pieces. I began with material I previously relegated to certain versions of myself: teacher, dancer with this person, dancer with that person, “my” work. But these versions are more nuanced. Sometimes, I am the version of me who makes someone laugh, does what they want, wants to giggle, wants to be weightless, or wants to disappear. Sometimes, I desire “big legs”, something luscious and momentous, boney-ness, or the vast horizon. My teaching self seems to be better at remembering material. My dancer seems better at making bold choices. My making self gets overwhelmed with details and context… and and and….
MAKE. I’d look for nuance and try to distill it and simplify its engines. I tried constantly shifting the orders, and making lists of the movement as if each movehad a codified title, such as smack in down, yup!I made new meaning out of these lists, more material out these meanings, attempted to flatten it all again. Feedback keeps treading on my personage more than my product- and I find that confusing and discouraging. Neutral body, move away from yourself. Too much. Too little. Too complex. Be yourself, but not like that.I have questions about vulnerability.
Start Over… Listen: Or, Sonic Youth
The more I come to know the material, the more the details surface. Much like the objects in the room- with time I have come to seethem better. I spend time with the material and know there is something on the other side of being too familiar with the movement. Something on the other side of the disheartened confusion that quakes my insides. Something on the other side of talking about what am I doing and not doing. Something that is focused on the doingand the experiments that cannot be fruitful all the time. I need to remember this- or forget to reconsider…. Go through the work, do the thing… listen to what the work and the thing before closing the valve.