Statement about MA research enquiry at MMU

April 28, 2012

With thanks to Dr Jane Linden, Bev Stevens, Dr Rachel Duerden, Dr Peter Petralia, Dr Julian Waite, Dr Ken Barratt, Dr Carola Boehm, Jacky Lansley and Dance Research Studio London, Wendy Cook, Melanie Malherbe, Technical Team Axis Arts Centre – Crewe Green Campus, Dawn Richmond, Nina Durant, Kirstie Brookes, fellow MA students, Andrew Hammerson, Aidan Shingler and Esther Huss – – –

Screen shot: Tricia Durdey and Tim Taylor

 MA Contemporary Arts

 Arts Praxis 1

 Tim Taylor                                

 Inside Us

Why am I here you might ask – certainly a legitimate question! In response, I say: your presence helps me become myself!My research enquiry is concerned with who I am, what it is that I choose to show, what will show itself without my choosing, and how I will show it. Further, I consider the parts played by others, and the means by which they help me to know and understand myself better.

Enter: praxis – the forming and reforming shift from action-to-reflection-to action – that opens up the opportunity to learn from other people. And the learning happens – it seems to me – as much as a result of the slight smiles and nods of others, their barely expressed acknowledgements of doubt or approval, as happens as a consequence of the grand gesture, the bold affirmation or admonition.

The six contributing participants, whose creative interventions are documented here in the Open Space, were influenced – in the first instance – by what they saw, heard, felt and thought in relation to the viewing of particular film footage of rehearsal material. Subsequently, their contributions to our study were shaped as a result of what emerged during the live encounter of a workshop setting. Each involvement has brought new meaning to the notion of the collaborative – at turns challenging, pushing, enduring, sensing, understanding…

Each intervention has had its own characteristics. As you will see from the short films, the artists, researchers and performers who’ve observed and responded to our process have helped it, in turn, to become an experience of praxis – so that the work towards performance starts to become an enquiry, little by little, about what it is that we would show and what that means.

Furthermore, questions around authenticity emerge. Which element of the event of showing is definitive… which the conclusive reading? Is it the live-work rendered from a process of selection of particular materials drawn from improvisation, rehearsal and participative workshop intervention?  Alternatively, perhaps it’s the films? Responding to the bank of workshop footage collated, yet another contributor to the process – film maker and editor, Melanie Malherbe – in concert with Tricia and I – has also made her mark. Working with the filmed documents of encounter, using them to craft a set of impressions – and being motivated by an intention to do justice to the essence of each workshop encounter…to the specifics of what actually took place – she has also become enmeshed within a larger enquiry, an enquiry that seeks an answer to the question of what will best represent the matter of what it is that is inside us – a matter that, it must be said, is imbued with the complicating intangibility of abstraction.

Of course, in considering such matters, there is also you – as witness to the event of enquiry!  Is it you, finally, who embodies the answer?

Showing in the Axis Studio at 3.30pm, the dance theatre duet Inside Us is an example of an enquiry that seeks, through the practice of exchange – through a dialogical encounter between self and other – to research the question of who we are, and correspondingly, how performance may be an attempt to capture and define moments of discovery. The act of our showing is also an attempt to find a representation of the self in relation to other that fits. It is a testament to the lure of the collaborative.

With the collaborative, one makes a mark, the second finds a word, the third shapes a gesture seeking to connect with the fourth, and so on. Patterns form – patterns that for the longest while may seem incoherent, incomplete and without purpose. Yet trust in the enquiry continues.

The result – what is aimed for – is that the exemplifications made can better portray what it is that I, that we, believe to be significant, at this moment, to have value and to be worth showing.

 

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