the language of groups

“Street gangs, sports clubs, political parties, families, people who for all kinds of reasons are regularly together, naturally develop a vernacular as a kind of bonding and those who want to join must learn it. Ideologues speak in language best understood by ideologues of like mind: it is called ‘preaching to the converted’; and it is probably a species of narcissism, like a budgerigar talking to itself in a mirror.”

Don Watson, “Death Sentence”, p.10

Watson’s writing made me think of the language that academics choose to use when discussing ideas. It is a language that tends to exclude and make understanding more difficult, although I suspect few of us would like to admit this.

reading

In reality, every reader is, while he is reading, the reader of his own self. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument which he offers to the reader to enable him to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have experienced in himself. And the recognition by the reader in his own self of what the book says is the proof of its veracity.

Marcel Proust

reading

"In reality, every reader is, while he is reading, the reader of his own self. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument which he offers to the reader to enable him to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have experienced in himself. And the recognition by the reader in his own self of what the book says is the proof of its veracity."

Marcel Proust

think tank

Last Thursday (11 Dec 08), I had the pleasure of attending a 'think tank' run by dancer/choreographers Natalie Cursio and Shannon Bott. They are currently in the early stages of a creative development and as part of the development they asked (and paid) six artists (from various disciplines, but mostly involved in performance of some kind) to bring materials in, to discuss, to think, and to generate a range of provocations for the project. The idea is based on think tanks used by Melbourne performance group NYID for specific script and idea development. In this case, however, Natalie and Shannon were less focused in their approach, and more interested in casting the net wide.

It was a fascinating day – following leads, open discussion, sharing. It will be interesting to see how the day informs the development of the new project.

quantity

I’ve been working a lot with director/choreographer Bagryana Popov.

In the improvisations that form the central part of our work ‘on the floor’, it has occurred to me that the working environment that Bagryana creates invites the generation of many many ideas (or “offers”) within the work. I am given license to trial, to include the obvious with the uncertain, the ‘naff’ with the more sophisticated. It’s more complex than “anything goes” – certainly we are still being critical – but at the same time the emphasis is on placing as many ideas into the working environment as we can. To keep asking (both in the body, and conceptually) what the possibilities are.

In this way we are able to keep our thinking expansive, and in doing this we create an invaluable context (and broad framework) for making decisions further down the track.