Saturday, 5 July 2008

a ramble

Holy hiatus ramble

A ramble through Holy Hiatus/Liminal

thoughts from the symposium and the performances

The linear splits and changes

Suspending every day norms including status changes the encounter with the other (any lasting effect?) An I/thou culture; such a shame that the use of thou has gone in English and it is now seen as old fashioned and formal whereas it is The Informal and the method of address to peers children and animals….and god. Therefore if one sees that of god in everyone then everyone needs to be addressed as thou. And if one believes all are equal under god, again one needs to address all in the informal/intimate – and all titles thus vanish. In welsh as in French there is still the thou form. I personally would address all as thou and/or with their given names.

Equality can’t exist in hierarchies. Categorisation is a useful construct, it enables us to understand what we are talking about and maybe suggests peoples’ roles, but there is no need to stack these categories up and create a hierarchy. The cleaner is as vital as the managing director. The baby sitter that comes to look after the children of the highly paid therapist’s children should be paid more – the low wage allows the other the opportunity to earn more….Politics and “religion”.

How can a liminal state a ritual break down this, meld it into something more; how can the experience transform and allow a change? Some ritual highlights difference, some gives brief respite. There are lords of misrule rituals still occurring through Europe and crazy anarchic folk traditions that do resist being taken over by health and safety and “authority” and long may they dangerously live! But some rituals perpetuate hierarchy.

How could you ever go back to lord and serf in the heart after facing each as an equal? You can return to your work – the lord serving the serf as the serf serves the lord – with full appreciation of each others contribution/role. possibility ambiguity separation cessation liberation betwixt and between twilight anti structure playfulness

Theatre: some theatre is still sacred. A visit to the theatre is a wonderful knowing suspension of belief, and entry into a fiction that becomes real. Make a safe comfortable space to get unsafe in.
Gilding the lily: Consider the lily of the fields

Experience/religious experience/the ecstaticMiester Ekhart wrote of the nothingness of god; also he and Buddhists talk of non-attachment; there is a sense in which one should not be striving for something, even the “perfect” meditation or prayer, yet we are told “seek and ye shall find”. How to find the no-thing… Is the religious experience (exstatic/vertical) really useful? Once experienced is there a striving to re-enter this state thereby ignoring the now, the mundane, the being here, being present. Movement used to reach an ecstatic state such as in groups who pray with calling out waving of hands clapping swaying. How does this compare to the whirling of the dervish? Is that less group euphoria? How about a more individual intuitive approach to movement and prayer? Is the nightclub (even without the alcohol and drugs) a group, sound enhanced, ritual getting out of it space (sound, loud sound annihilates inhibitions as much as alcohol; many people seem scared of silence/quietness). Should we get out of it? I know some people’s thinking on meditation is that it is an escape, it is a chill out. But meditation is surely about being in the now with whatever, being fully aware of pain, of happiness, anger, grief – all feeling and sensation but allowing it to pass (or accepting it sticking around). The full experience, but without attachment.

Get into it, not out of it. More horizontal than vertical in experience, more ordinary than extra ordinary. Make washing up the prayer…..Immigrants, incomers, loss of identity – or sometimes the immigrant/incomer sticks rigidly to Their Culture, maybe becoming very conservative and unchanging compared to those “back home”. The safety, the protectiveness of sticking with tradition…but not the confidence to let it grow and evolve as it would do in a “safe “place. Is that what has happened to culture in the south of Wales, where the language and way of life is do threatened – much less so in the north where there is the feisty and contemporary also. It is my experience that even those people who speak the language fluently and take part in the culture, but come from an English family can still be despised and not wanted, as they are still not “ethnically” Welsh.

Was not my work welsh culture, of cymru, and if it wasn't what was it? Is it then actually subversive, or as colonisers can we by definition never be subversive???? Can I just say it is welsh but also have to accept that others would deny that? Would that get me anywhere satisfactory?

Recognition of alienation
Bring it back to mortality
I would just like to feel at home.
I have had it with being the other, being singled out for the sideline, being seen as a reactionary/trouble maker just because I sometimes see things differently; have different opinions to the group. I wouldn’t want to be a member of a group that was all cosy and agreeing. There’d never be any growth and prejudice and “fear” of The Other would merely be fostered. But of course I am not going to mute my views and I have never learnt to keep my mouth shut even though I have known since childhood that it wouldn’t lead to security in a group…. I so much want to hear from The Other.

Hurt hurt pain. Grief and anger tumble in a furious tail chasing whirl. Tears tears impossible to talk, the only way to get words out is to feel the anger. A public place – thankful for slight building site remains and huddle round a corner, by the fire escape door.

Loss of a culture, not fitting, not belonging, anger at miss readings. Economics, money. Where does the individual stand? What say do they have if they have no economic clout? I go through therapy I do my positive thinking then horror of horrors I find I am restrained from the outside, for real. What do I do now? How do I feel? Betrayed by the new age thought police. Oh the terrible terrible gap between rich and poor.

Culture: one of my great griefs, sense of loss that was happening on Saturday, was the loss of my culture. I think it is an issue at the moment as I am still dealing with the loss of the Place that represented it to me most, that had still been available to me until it was disappeared by people with money that wanted some hideous tidy idyll and could have it because they had money and could afford the place and the lawyers. So the anger isn't just at loss but injustice. Also how money does win over all and it stinks - let them try and eat money, but they can still buy food they don’t yet need to eat money. Of course also bound up with childhood and the close relationship with my grandparents and the land that I lost when I moved to west Wales aged 9....where I then wasn't wanted...and sometimes still feel I don't belong. Loss of my culture means I don't feel much in common sometimes with my peers, not that I think I always should and I love to hear and feel other experiences of the world. I guess I also get bugged by mistaken identity. Also loss of a rural culture means we are all losing touch with the land, though many do rediscover it. But sometimes new fangled how to look after the woods etc misses something deep and ordinary. And sometimes what annoys is that there isn't only one way to lay a hedge. Trivial I know, but perhaps loss of cultural diversity is like loss of diversity in flora and fauna - just not as bad. And people forget that dinner comes originally with its feathers/fur ON.

Homogenous boring safe is what seems to be happening – even with all the excitement & fun….Is there a tendency to feelings of alienation? P.A.N mentioned a common (as in often, not for all) feeling of not belonging. When I was young, before I moved here, I didn't belong with my peers and spent a lot of time alone and knew it and didn't mind, was very philosophical about it...or more had the feeling of being there. Though I am just reading an article that says as children we don't have self reflection - phooey I say, or maybe some of us just had too much quiet time on our hands so came to it earlier.

oh and preservation does indeed fix things so very much

um yes - the functioning hedge is the thing that matters. I think my dad finds it awkward seeing hedges that belong in another part of Britain - perhaps the styles grew from the type of trees and stock in them, who knows..... Some hedgers don't believe in trees being left in them.... trees is for woods. No, at the symposium it wasn't a romantic or real look at rural past, can't put finger on it. Seen as history/gone/other; too much symbolised? RS Thomas and Ted Hughes put some things into poetry that speak of the hard rural past without too much fuss, romanticism or extreme “this was woeful...”. Perhaps there was too much categorising going on, and reading symbols into the actual. And of course not seeing the dinner for the feathers, at least I could laugh by then.

All bull fighting can disappear without a trace as far as I'm concerned - as with fox hunting why should an animal suffer for our "liminal" or "raw" experience. Tradition, pride, experience, none of it counts against cruelty. Even at the risk of homogenous culture. We are surely thinking creatures with a sense of ethics as well as being instinctual. I know that I can think no other way. The people that go in with the bull as they did in the Cretan times are a different matter - body and body. More a celebration of both.

Send people out to kill their own food, after training, if they want a bit of death. Sit with people dying who have no-one else to sit with them.

Sudden realisation: I find it annoying when writers/philosophers/anthropologists etc use WE, sometimes I don't feel part of that particular we. Reading, struggling to read, as I kept getting cross, The Spell of the Sensuous (because it seems a popular texts with artists working in some areas that I do) I realised he was talking of a we that was NOT my experience - much prefer Coming to Our Senses.....

Prayer comes up in relation to my performance with L; she notes a quotation from me in a book…. The sense of gladness I have about prayer, which I feel keeps the world turning; metaphorically, spiritually, (actually?) for people. A prayer for us all. But not sure if I've expressed it right. I once told a catholic father, at a Cistercian monastery that I was glad there were people praying, monks and nuns of all religions; he was surprised and said many Catholics don’t think like that, they believe monks and nuns should be out there Doing Stuff. During a reiki session, I was told that I was previously a nun (the day after a strange hallucination [internal vision, touch and smell] whilst distraught of wearing a damp woollen habit, which was unknown to the reiki healer); that my problem with this life was how to serve god in a “secular” setting. I only believe in this one precious life, but it made sense.

Ritual: ritual can be everyday. Ritual can be meaningless, merely habit. But even meaningless ritual can suddenly give insight, inspiration. Ritual can become superstition, can be used to control, can be mindless, can be political and can uphold rigid, judgemental ways of being. When does ritual cross the line to obsessive compulsive behaviour? When in the depths of depression an attempt at /sense of ritual, that is being methodical and ordered about getting up making tea eating breakfast…. can hold me together, and lead to me recovering myself enough to move forth. Ritual can give meaning to daily life, draw attention to the ordinary and essential, can bring mindfulness. Perhaps one day it becomes all ritual thereby flipping to no ritual all mindfulness. “Do everything as if for god*”. As if…such a relief that I am not always doing everything for god, because I don’t, can’t yet, and anyway is there a god to do it for? But I can do it “as if”….here the ritual comes in handy! And one day I may find that I am all mindfulness: doing everything for god….. but mostly probably existing in the "as if" state with occasional breaks through thresholds....

Washing up is the prayer, the meditation; not the thing to escape from with prayer/meditation

* my definition of god is actually undefined and still under investigation, it maybe that I discover absolutely no god, or the absolute nothingness of god.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Untitled at Holy Hiatus, an introduction


Maura Hazelden & Louise Laurens

Small World Theatre
Thursday 22nd May 4 – 6.45pm 7.15 – 10.30pm

At any one time there will only be six audience members. The amount of time spent experiencing the work is up to the individual. There is a place to wait comfortably!

There is no aim to over push the body; the endurance is more of mind and spirit, a journey to feel what happens. The possibility of transformation, boredom or despair… It could easily be considered a prayer.
Maura has created a phrase over time; there will be repetition and stillness but no inconsistency. There is allowance to work on the floor, to sit.

Lou explores singing as an act that changes (and is changed by) the body, the space, the material and the immaterial world; boundaries; the act of singing as meditation, prayer, as a form of listening and receiving, as well as sounding and giving.
This work incorporates a minimal form of improvisation, allowing small changes to occur within the repetition of one song over a period of hours.

A new building that has space to be sung and moved into, creating new space within the space.
When will it become ritual? How will the physical (s)p(l)ace be affected?

“There is no path; we make the path by walking.”
Antonio Machado
Maura Hazelden on Holy Hiatus

Some of my durational performances lead to or start from a point of potential for a liminal (s)p(l)ace. Unrehearsed durational performance is a risk, stepping into a space to seek/find/wait for the unknown, the desire or threat of the other, the possibility of transformation. My themes have included sublimation and dreams, sensuality, the feminine, sleep – this culminated during a two week ointment residency in Quebec, I went out each day, in the February cold, to find a place to sleep – or not. How do I make myself sleep in snow in a strange place?

There has been a strong theme of transformation – Blodeuwedd: a woman made from flowers then turned into an owl, my current investigation of red riding wolf: girl to woman, to sexual being, to beast, to what with whom? Where and how is the shamanic (s)p(l)ace that allows the change?

I seek to capture evanescent nature of veils and flickering reflections, shadows, net curtains.
My work in varying degrees by its content/subject and or execution has a strong theme of the liminal, of thresholds breached or about to be, of transformation.

Through the work for Holy Hiatus I would like to explore the very physical that can change consciousness. The sense of a ritual or spiritual experience that can be created through continual movement in the form (probably) of repetitive movement. Or the boredom and despair. How to devise the phrase that will be repeated. How much conscious will must be used to keep it continuing. Will it change? Or rather how, as inevitably it will.

How do I make it ritual? When does it become ritual? How will the physical (s)p(l)ace be affected?
What happens when my work is combined with Louise Laurens exploring similar issues, in close proximity, but through the voice?

Miester Ekhart wrote of the nothingness of god; also he and Buddhists talk of non-attachment; there is a sense in which one should not be striving for something, even the “perfect” meditation or prayer, yet we are told “seek and ye shall find”. How to find the no-thing.