16. December 2023 at 17:25 #5521IsabelParticipant
¡Hola! Hey you! Nice to have you here. I hope this reading will feel like a smooth conversation, rather than one more text navigating on the virtual Web and perhaps we could see this “causality” more as a confluence. As Nego Bispo says: there is no coincidence but confluence, this happens when two rivers find each other and become one big river towards the ocean.
I’ll propose that whatever you think during this exchange and want to share with me, with us, don’t hesitate to leave me a message. I will try to be attentive and continue this conversation.
Everytime I go to a performance, I take it as an opportunity to get to know myself and others, to reflect on the art market, to reflect on content and of course to enjoy it. Being an audience is a big role of a performance show, without people there is no exchange and if we don’t exchange, then magic doesn’t happen. It is also important to have in mind that each event, there is a context in which it is involved. Being an audience, practicing it, starts already at the moment we arrive in the entrance hall. The whole situation is full of excitement, as we as humans are – we enjoy celebrating other people and the idea of gathering brings also some sense of being in community. So it is a time where we play roles and if we are conscious about that, it is also our choice to engage on the level we wish. It is an empowered time where we can feedback the workpiece. So let’s say, even before we buy the ticket, when we read the description of the performance, we are entering the imagination around this role and what is also expected from us (we can always question what is being asked from us, but it is important to reflect why we wish that). We can start looking around… Who are the people/community coming to see this show tonight? Are they familiar? So far people you have seen often in performances? How diverse is the audience? The puzzle of Diversity can also be solved by looking at how much the event cost… How much is the Program available for the audience? What led you to being here? A wish to enjoy? To be updated? Is there someone special you came to see? Did you get to know the performance because of the name of the choreographer? Is there a friend showing up tonight? Let’s check in the program. Is there the name of the artists involved in the production? Every section is important. I often try to consider where the piece is being shown, how accessible it was for me, for people to reach it and which people are coming to join this event. If we understand the power that is given to us in this event, we can take it to nourish our narratives.
*FUN FACT*: I have worked for 8 months selling tickets and welcoming the public in a big event place for concerts in cologne. I got used to seeing many of “the same people”, meaning more or less the same social/economical section of the public. The nights I have seen different faces there happened, when the artists and what was being played that night as well as the entrance price were different. I know that none of this sounds new, but sometimes we need to remember the obvious. Of course, these questions also have to do with me personally, because it’s something from my reality that I’m sharing with you, my cosmologies.
NOW LET’S GO, we already crossed the Hall. Let’s enter to see the performance. We get inside, people find their seats, there is tension in the air, we look around and see faces, some of them very unknown. We look once more or twice to see if there is someone we do recognize. We feel the excitement of being inside in this room, where the energy is very hiped, sparkling, curious. We never know where this will lead us but one thing we know, things can happen. At this point we can already take this as an act of generosity, we open up to the tide on the open sea. Even on the high seas, our little boat can benefit from wind currents to guide us. Let’s use the metaphor of the wind for our thoughts and feelings, whether physical or emotional/psychological. Let’s start scanning the sea and our surroundings, simply observing how the stage is being settled. How are you displayed in the room? Is tonight a traditional Proscenium stage where you/we are in? Or is it more like a Thrust stage where the audience is splitted in 3, one at the front and two at the side of the stage? It is a black box, flexible theater where the audience is all around the stage? Or maybe more like an installation? How big is the room? The color? How are people placed around the room? Is the audience spatially clearly separated from the performer?
All those formats are affecting how information arrives to us, how three-dimensionality is played on the visual work, for us and also for the performers. If the gaze of the audience comes from all around, then visually different will be the hierarchy of choreography embodied from the performers. Maybe at this point you, me, us can already sense how we feel in our bodies right now in this specific setting.
Are you feeling active? Passive? Far away? Close by? In intimacy? Exposed? No conclusions… Some of them make me perhaps more excited and impressed, while others are closer to the performers, more soft and silent. We can just observe that. Is still very early for me to make big statements on how I, you, we do feel. But It’s also important to perceive this, the way things are presented, also speaks a lot by itself and about the content.
Now, let’s go to what many of us get really catched by…….(suspension song)…“TAN TAN RAM RAM”………The performers themselves!
Here we can tune our bodies with the performers. See the tensions, similarities, empathy, resistances, curiosities. Perhaps, we feel intimidated – or they feel. Perhaps there is a tension in the air, as an event of meeting. Tension does not mean negative, if we consider that the world is interacted from tension/attraction, repulsion or aggregation. So, now senses began to navigate a little in the deep waters. It can be that actually there is a clear feeling arriving, so we can easily check: Do I feel comfortable? Uneasy? Is my focus completely here? Or slowly I get unfocused? In the first time-frame, the inputs probably will be related to our visual aesthetic taste. We pay attention in what we like or in what we really don’t like. For example, If we love Impressionism from afar we see it and we like it, while cubism is maybe challenging for our eyes. These are some ideas that come to my mind right now. But I would say to keep attention if the feeling of being uncomfortable is more coming from our sides, I mean from you (I’m using ‘we’ because we are in this boat together) or from the performers and what they bring as content. We are often facing our resistance to things we don’t like but this is very different from what doesn’t feel right. Well what doesn’t feel right? What does that do?
We see now, being an audience is a very political act. If we understand this, we know the power audience has to transform the art scene, either to enlarge or to make it exclusive. Well… let’s go back to when we meet the performers.
Let’s look a bit at costumes. Personally, I like costumes a lot. Let’s look at… is there a costume? Are they naked? Do you like what you see? What kind of costume is it? Is something neutral? Basic colors? Specific? Colorful? Transparency? Does the costume give a context of the story? Are they related to labor? Referring to sections of society? To class? To places? To tradition? Specific culture? Creatures, beings? Are the costumes differing from gender? Are the costumes interacting with the body? For example, as if the clothes are inspiring, influencing the ways they move, the ways performers behave. Does the costume facilitate seeing the movement behind or for embodying/becoming an specific character/quality? Maybe it feels only causality? How are these inputs in relation with/to the space?
We can expand our gaze to the scenography and sound. From the bodies, to costume, to scenography, to the sound. Where are these bodies displayed? Is there a relation between costume and the surroundings? Does the scenography nourish your imagination? Is it simple? What are the dimensions of the scenography? What are the colors? Are the performers connected somehow to the space? Are they in dialogue? Are there multiple situations? Are the performers independent from each other? Or together in the same imagetic world? Are there lights part of it? Who is being focused? blackout? Warm lights? Cosiness? Strong white lights? Aggressive? Outstanding? What is being highlighted? Is there sound? How loud? Are they interacting with the music? How? Is it perhaps one of the main subjects (feels like an important part of the performance)? Are they synchronized? No? Silence? Completely silent? Just talking? Making noises? Singing? Playing? Can you relate to that? Or feels so far away? All these serve, for me, as input to see why I like or not. For that I also need to be deep in the statements that I base my “moral” on, my ideas and my vision of life. If we come to see the people we come to see, maybe it is because we are, somehow, interested in the visions they can bring to us, in one, more or many perspectives. We still can be politically radical towards those inputs (I speak about politics, because I believe humans are political, if we consider the State is created for the civils. Anyway that does influence all communities, since civilization and globalization, and affects the planet). So far, we can try to collect all these reflections that might lead us to answers, answers that are connected to personal experience somehow. We can store them, they are gonna be useful to understand later why we like what we like.
Maybe it is also time to look, from human to human, how the relationship is being built up in this space. How much are they interacting with each other? With us? Perhaps, there is not an urgency from the performers to be in relation with the audience? Is something already settled? Some hierarchy for example? Or feels like building up together? Feels personal or impersonal? Maybe it is completely intimate? Are boundaries being challenged? Do you feel asked for something? To contribute something to the narrative? Or is it already given? How much does your body relate to the bodies on stage? Do you feel part of this narrative? Not at all? Let’s go deep into the content.
We don’t need to know what it is all about. But you already tried, right?
Look at the narrative, the context. How do you feel about it? Can you feel something? Is it too complex? Intense? Confusing? Clear? Just beauty? Challenges beauty, aesthetics? Very detailed? Big topic? Small reality? Parallel? Humor? Superficial? Deep? Daily? Ugly? Exotic?
We can see if all the elements together can change our preconceptions of things. Bring something new, unfold ideas or feelings. If there are any questions, let’s try to see why it is coming. As a suggestion: The questions that come up can be topics to work on.
Things I like to take in consideration everytime I go to these events: Who are those people that come to the stage? Is this affecting me directly? Why do I sometimes feel so awkward in some of the performances? Or why do I feel completely into it? Is it because of the content? What the house has bought as a cultural product? What kind of artist houses have preferences? Who gets founded? I for example also look at how many womens are on the stage, who are the choreographers from the house program. The same for BIPoC, people on the frame of “disabilities”, LGBTQIA+… Which houses do we go to? From state? Independent scene? Would we like to see more “other” artists? Less known? Local artist? International? Maybe it can be good to come back to the program and make an evaluation on the topic, on what it offers, and what it means “quality” for you? What does “quality” mean for the house? This is part of how we can be an active public, starting with me, you, us, when we are consuming culture. What is classified as art? Contemporary art? Modern? Classical? Folk? What is “educating” us?
I propose you take your own considerations and send them to me. I would be happy to hear more about you, your incessant questions, your ideas, visions…. So far, I hope we had a nice journey together.
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