Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Guild Street graffiti

I waited in the studio today knowing that the rain shouldn't be an impediment to my wanting to move around outside but I didn't want to get my trainers wet and besides I was on a physical roll in the studio, making material that was expansive and energetic. Of course I couldn't pull that off on the uneven tarmac of Guild street's triangle of space. Instead I went back to the Shanghai material, developed a little, but sufficiently ground-bound to make it possible for me to negotiate the terrain.

I worried yesterday about not being up to the brightness of the graffiti but a little rain toned all that down to make an environment that was more familiar to my way of being. I rolled around on the ground avoiding the nails and broken glass and the attention that requires has an impact on the choreographed material, but it's exactly that encounter between what I'd prepared - what's in my body - and what the environment presents that I want to examine. I want to be strong enough from the preparation to be able to be open to whatever the environment offers.

People watched from their windows and front doors and in this second version you can see some walk past ingnoring me. The hoodie cuts me off a little but it also helps me fit in to the way people dress around the area. The challenge for me is to engage directly with people. My instinct is to keep doing wat I do and to let people choose to engage if they want. We'll see if that works out.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Docklands Tagging

I reminded myself today that while it's great to have time in the DanceHouse studios, the point of this research has always been to place my choreographed movement in the urban space in Docklands.

'Urban space' is a vague and general term since I'm not sure where I should turn up and pass through. I saw this corner today near the Spencer Dock development. The advertising hoardings around the development have been tagged by some graffiti artist and the boulders that protect the scruffy triangle of tarmac reimagined as televisions, radios and a more glamorous rock.

It feels like it could be a place for me to fetch up for a little while as the cars speed past - it's already a little oasis of someone else's creativity, and I wonder how my melancholy movement will absorb the cartoon sunniness of the graffiti.

Monday, 28 May 2007

Shanghai in April

Eventhough this work on Bodies and Buildings is focused on Dublin, I can't help but relate the way that Ireland's new wealth has been expressed in construction to the way China's renewed power is similarly expressed. The Olympics in Beijing has been an excuse for huge building projects but Shanghai too is a city rushing to embrace its future with buildings that glitter, flicker and shine into the sky.

Of course this construction depends on destruction: the old hutong are demolished to make way for new high rise apartments. Do our bodies remember the old paths? What must they forget to negotiate the new way? Pete, my partner, and I found this part of Shanghai near the railway station in the south of the city when we were looking for the Botanical Gardens. As you'll see there's not much botanical about the demolished buildings. I felt a little strange dancing in what remained of people's homes but the few locals who came up to check out what I was up to were tolerant of my strange activity, though given my limited Mandarin I'm not sure I communicated what that activity was.

I was in Shanghai in April to spend some time with artists from the Zu He Niao collective but I also did some work on my own - in my hotel room in the example below just after I'd spent a day being ill and expelling every single morsel of Chinese food I'd eaten the previous few days. Clearly my body wasn't entirely at ease with the city. But it did give me a strong sense of what it might be like to feel fragile in the metropolis.