It is interesting that as we move deeper into the year, towards the bottom, towards the turning, I am more alert to the quality of light. The sun is clear intensity and the naked trees give way to bigger expanse of sky. It is true that when it is dark, or stormy, I find myself curling inwards; however, when the day is clear, when the sun is up, I feel my mind can move with such surge and outstretch. I witness my imagination flashing forward for an instance, and I catch glimpses of the season to come. There is excitement and joy afoot. November was different though. It was Scorpion and ragged. But now, but so, December is holy. It is time to acknowledge gifts and treasures from the past year, and to connect to the people we love.
I am building a performance with a female partner (Nest). It is about our search for home and how to process our disconnection from nature. Nature that is larger than us, and also the nature that is within us, our own nature. I am working with the material of the heart. I sculpt white plasticine with a knife, peeling away layers. The heart that is white, without blood. And then, conversely, the bloody heart that is so wet that it fills my hands with slippery red, overspill. I weave strings around my left fingers and then through a binding around my left breast, exploring the feeling of tension and release, and how this can be made (perhaps) lyrical. We are working with the substance of the heart, our experience through life as we search for home and for love. The performance will be durational, happening over a number of days (in Wales, March 2019). Over time we will sculp each other’s ribcages by moulding parchment and plaster to skin, then we will sew these ribcage moulds together to build a nest. Inside compartments of the nest there will be hearts we have shaped, and inside the nest there will be sound: the hum of yearning.
I am also editing a video work called Moon River. In this solo performance I dance with moon blood, small sacks the size of clementine oranges weave through my fingers, my wrists turn and they communicate songs; the journey of mourning, the struggle to let go and die, the awe inspiring richness of change. The persona of this work leads me, she is not someone I fully know. She is powerful and she is alone, perhaps she is haunted. She knows something that I do not. At one site she lies with the long smooth stones next to the river, she wets her feet in pools of water. Alternately (at another site), she pours red liquid cup to cup in the brutalist landscape of lead works. I am searching in the spaces between what flows and what is hard and fixed, I soften my body into the curves between, I dance with opposition for a dignified transformation. In Butoh dance there are two flowers, they inhabit the power centre, inside the heart of the pelvis. The flower of youth dissolves into the flower of experience.
As we sink deeper into this holy season let us reflect upon and remember what we love the most. This is the jewel at the centre. This season is holy because we are brought deeper and deeper into the darkness, and maybe we learn to practice faith. There was a time, and there are times, when people did not know that anything would come after the end, after the darkest hour. But, the sun, in all its glory, rises again. Blessed be the new breath, the new moment. And so, what is your sun? What is the thing that guides you into the new day?
Banner image by Robert Mapplethorpe.