(reverence)

Is this thing still on?

I haven’t forgotten how to type — I’ve been doing quite a bit of that recently. But this isn’t about that.

This is about the thing that I started earlier this year. A thing that I considered not finishing. The thing that took all of my energy and focus in some moments and couldn’t grab my attention for more than five minutes in others.

So why am I bringing it back up?

An update, if you will, or more appropriately a marking of my finishing it.

But it’s not really “finished”.

I’m finished with it. I ended up filming all of the videos before I left Brown at the end of the spring semester. I tried to finish my editing, get it out in one day so I could truly say that it was finished and put it out there so I could be “done”. But before I could finish it I realized I didn’t need to. It had already served its purpose before I opened the last few videos in iMovie, before I added the correct recordings to my versions, and before I tried to thing of sounds to overlap before submitting your version this internet thing.

But I was finished, I am very finished. I got the catharsis I needed. I went back through the things I needed to go through and I can let go if it now without feeling like I left loose ends.

I started this to tie up loose ends, and that’s exactly what it did.

So reverence? According to the internet thing, reverence is:

  1. (noun) deep respect for someone or something
  2. (verb) regard or treat with deep respect

There are other definitions out there, but I’m most interested in reverence as a practice. I’m thinking about the “reverence” that is pronounced with a slightly French accent. I’m referring to the ritual that anyone who has anything to do with ballet has either seen or done more times than they could begin to count.

The internet thing says that, “The ritual of the reverence in ballet is performed at the end of a dance sequence on stage before an audience and at the end of each class as a sign of gratitude towards the teacher and the pianist.” It’s the way you mark your end. If you’re on stage, it is how you part ways with your audience. You perform a sometimes elaborate port au bras (“carriage of the arms” for you literalists), you may bend forward, and you may arch your back. You may turn away from the audience in some moments or you might lunge towards them, opening your arms, signaling a more direct giving of your gift of gratitude to them. You perform a short dance after your dance. In the studio space, these after performance performances may not vary, although sometimes the instructor may switch it up. On stage, the reverence is choreographed — set so that every member of the piece knows how and where to thank the people for paying to see them. I wonder how long the longest reverence is. I wonder how many times people have forgotten to revere before running off stage. Whatever the case, the most important thing is that you bow. You stamp the envelope closed, you put a period on the end of your sentence, you make it clear that you’re leaving before the curtain gets to close.

In sum, it is how you say goodbye.

I had more thoughts on how to say my goodbyes (to this project and other things, not the wordpress though). I had many pretty words floating in my head to talk about the significance of what I found in these videos and which iteration of myself I feel that it commenced. But of course, as I start writing, these things escape me. Maybe they’re not that important. Maybe I’ll think of them later and edit this post and let you know. The main thing, though, is I had a lot of things that I wanted to say goodbye to. This video process was a long, slightly melodramatic, and very involved way to do so. But here I am, 25 videos deep in my thoughts and in my movement and in a process of learning more intimate things about myself and who I needed to be for myself than I care to share.

So a few things to note as I perform my reverence:

  1. The chairs are visible in this video. There is clearly no audience. There was never an audience.
  2. Sometimes in reverence, we bow or curtsey several times before we say goodbye. How many times can you try to leave without actually going anywhere? I spent 15 minutes trying to figure that out.
  3. Papers on the floor? Maybe some scattered musings. Hopefully, you can’t see the words.
  4. If there is any recurring theme throughout the videos, it’s falling. Or stumbling. Or tripping. Whichever shoe fits.
  5. Re: themes — this was improv, but there were conscious choices, at times, being made.
  6. There’s nothing wrong with your sound. If silence for 15 minutes is too much, pick a piece that you think fits with the movement. Dancer’s choice.

So if you stuck through this post, this process, and/or if you even remember what I’m talking about since I haven’t posted about it (or anything) for over two months, this is how I’m choosing to say goodbye.

 

 

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(hours) — Digging into…

…  your emotions is exhausting, in case you were wondering.

I started this project a while ago, for those of you that don’t know, in which I record myself reading old journal entries from a specific point in time then improvise to them then strip the audio and put the movement to something else that may or may not be “directly” related but are somehow linked.

I have about an hour of footage so far. This hour is a visual representation of the hours that I spent writing and struggling to process what I was feeling then. The hours after that it has taken to read back through those entries — which is an interesting process, to see where I was then versus where I am or think I am now — improvising, editing, and posting. This hour is pretty heavy, and dark, and draining.

But I’m learning, and I’m seeing why artists pull from what they feel are some of their darkest moments. Moments that they didn’t think they’d ever want to revisit while they were in them and moments that they want to stop revisiting once they start.

But this is the first time I’m doing a project of this type, so as much as I want to stop I plan on seeing this one through (and I only have 9 videos left to film/edit, and since I already have 16, I’m more than half way there).

So there are 16 videos in a playlist on the youtube, do with that what you will.

(but watch this one first)

(as with the note in this post, the video I’m intending for you to watch is “(hours)”, but given the nature of this playlist, I’ve had to put it first in the sequence in order for it to show up here, so if you’re watching this after I’ve put the videos back in the correct order then you’ll probably be looking at “(anticipatory)”)

(embodied memory) – Whatever This Body is Seeking to Communicate

I did a lot of filming yesterday. I posted another video about a month ago that I said was the first in a series that I’m planning on doing, and the video in this post is part of that project. Briefly, if you haven’t or don’t feel like looking back at the other post, this project is basically just me improvising to journal style entries that I wrote a while ago, as a way to revisit old emotions and express them and release them through movement.

So this question of “embodying memories”. Literal definitions of embody suggest that to “embody” something is to give a tangible expression of something, to contain something as a constituent part, or to form into a “body” of something. So by embodying my memories in these videos, I’m guessing I’m making them more tangible by throwing visible representations, as vague as they may be, out into the universe.

So then the question of what a body seeks to communicate. I obviously have more information on this than you do since I elide the words from all of these videos in the editing, but I think my body is trying to communicate very specific things that don’t really need words to explain — and here I’m abstracting the body from the self (the self being myself) and implying that it is saying things that I may or may not intend it to say. In the “featured” video in this post (which I will warn you is 13 minutes long — but has good content at least à mon avis), there are very clear movements that I’m repeating over and over. As I watched this video over and over as I worked on the editing, I had to wonder why those movements? What was I trying to say? How did what the body feel needed to be said relate to what was actually being said in my recording? I also filmed 3 other videos this day, which I’ll link here (linking for vanity purposes in the hopes that people will actually watch — but there’s also a playlist so you can navigate to each one from another once you’re in the youtube), in which I also repeat a lot of the same movement, some of which is explored in each video. So I have to ask why, and what my body wanted to say, to either complement what the self was saying or go beyond it.

Also as I keep going back to this project, I keep asking myself why I’m doing it in the first place, which you also may be wondering. Short answer: I don’t have a good answer, but I have a lot of answers. None of which I’ll actually go in depth with here, but art is a valuable way to explore aspects of yourself and your thoughts and a slew of other things, so in these videos I’m not really exploring or entering a dialogue (monologue?) with one thing, I’m revisiting a lot of things.

So now that I’ve said too much, if I can steal 13 minutes and some seconds more of your time:

 

(Just as an FYI, this is the 6th video — not 5th because it corresponds to the 6th day — but it’s first in the playlist right now because for some reason when linked here it was the first video which was not the one that I wanted. So in the event that I reorder this and you end up watching (anticipatory), if you feel so inclined you should click on (embodied memory) fro the playlist since that’s what I actually want you to watch. Yay wonky technology!!!)

(lethargy) – Improvisations From My Bed

A few things before you watch:

  1. This is the first video in a project that doesn’t have a title yet and I’m not sure it will have a title. This project has to do with a “writing series” (I guess you could call it — it was more like a series of Carrie Bradshaw style rantings/thoughts on life) that I started about a month and a half ago, put away for a while, and am now revisiting. Artists do this thing where they feel their pain, stash it away, and then make art from it once they’re ready to open that box back up and get rid of it for good so what you’re watching is me diving back into whatever I was feeling then. Specifics aren’t really important, but for the span of time that I was writing I wrote almost everyday. Some entries were long, others not, and in this project I will be improvising to recordings of me reading what I wrote (note that when I record, it is actually the first time I’ve read what I wrote, since I did a stream of consciousness style journal — word document — and literally have not opened it since I decided I was ready to stop writing).
  2. This recording was from the second day, so while it is the first that I’ve filmed, I’m going out of order. Again, specifics here aren’t important and me hiding what I was saying with the music edited over the video gives you the agency to decide what it means to you. I will say though, that on this particular day, I was finding it extremely hard to get out of bed. Not so much the “my bed is too comfortable and I don’t want to get up” kind of not wanting to get up but a really low point where I didn’t want to get up because that meant that I had to go into reality and I didn’t want to, nor did I feel like I was in a place to do that.
  3. I’m not sure about the parentheses in the title, it just seemed right.
  4. To answer the first question you’ll have when you watch this (“Why are you in your underwear?!”): Since this is an improv in my bed, it didn’t make sense for me to put on a leotard or something. I went back and forth a little bit about deciding whether or not to put on sweatpants or something but (1) this is more true to what I actually sleep in — messy bun and all and (2) I have bikini pictures posted online where I’m wearing less than I am in this video. I thought a lot about what is considered “appropriate” and many people probably feel that me rolling around in my bed in my underwear and calling it art is not. But I felt like I needed to stick to the mood of the words that I was moving too, so that meant underwear and loose long sleeve shirt it was. I could also say things about body image and presenting my thunderous thighs is a means to present my journey of becoming more comfortable with myself or broadcasting my workout progress, but I digress.

I said a lot more than I intended, but hopefully you’re still left with enough questions/ambiguity to find some meaning in this for yourself.

First Post!

(and first video)

Hi there! Here’s the commencement of my website/blog. In the future, I hope to write cohesive thoughts about performances and technology and anything else that pertains to my life. This is more than a journal, since I already have a journal I don’t really need an online one in addition. Recently I’ve had the desire to think more critically about things outside of my assignments as well as challenge myself to create more work (both in terms of writing and dance) and share these things online. So this is just my public archival, that I hope to extend beyond a website template that I’m using and hopefully write the code on my own.

Since I’m not particularly inspired to write an essay for this post, I figured I would share a video instead.

This was filmed in December of last year (on my laptop, hence the not super great quality). As the description of the video on youtube says, I wasn’t actually improvising to this music (“Song 2” by DJ Krush). It was edited on top later to hide my responses to questions that I was answering while improvising (with this edit, it ends in silence but I thought that was a nice touch). I think there’s value in knowing what I was saying but I also am not willing to share my inner self with whoever stumbles upon this post. I will, however, be posting more videos like this (most likely that will be dubbed with music as well) as part of a series of work that I plan to start as soon as possible, probably tomorrow. More about that will come with the first post of that, but this is sort of a preview for the types of things that may come up.