Bebe and a practice with Meg Stuart scores

art by john pounds, photo by bebe miller
photo by bebe: us, reflected in a work by artist john pounds

More conversation has taken us on since then.
And right now I think of time as the substance by which action can be perceived. Because Time feels to me like:
the carved vessel / the act of its sculpting
as well as
the volume of space / the vibration therein.

Twin Body – Different people form the line of my practice with this score. What has emerged as meaningful to me is the time of touch. What I mean is how I feel time differently in the places of me that are in contact with an other – with the floor or any material, really. As in the ‘slo crawl’ score from my work in which I merge and unmerge the Earth with my body, belly to the floor. I imagine I’m part of the cement structure of the building, and the water flowing underneath. Cells, one by one pull from their connection to the floor while bringing it along andI narrow the scope to further constrict as durational… but that is with the floor. This is quite a different attention: to the change of perception while in connection with moving, choosing, flesh of human.

It is freeing for me.
In contact with another.
I can let go of my hold on the Earth.
I have an anchor.
I am here. Felt. In time. Real.
And, Oh! How I love to play!
Slide, roll, weight, go.
Sly, droll, wait, goe.

I love the confusion of systems and senses and the dirty play of trying. A moment can have such clarity here! I am with my working group (base cast, includes Kim Wilczak, Justin Fitch, Amy Kieds-Budzinsky, Mel Mark, Anna Womacka, Jovita Purqueras). I ask them to tell me about the time. How is it felt? Where is it different? I add this layer to our exploration.

It is difficult for people to speak about felt difference in time while maintaining the complex movement tasks I keep layering onto the original Stuart score. Regarding contact I ask them to move their bodies into connection at places where they are not usually aware (like the inside of the elbow to the back of the thigh), and those too of which they are hyper-aware (maybe because of tension in the chest, jaw or neck), then to play the field of yield and resist into one another. Now locomotor, now talk out loud about what you are feeling – with each other or your self – specifically if/how time is felt differently in the places of contact than the rest of your body.

They try for a time. Soon all six fall silent as they submerge themselves in physical awareness. It is impossible (at this moment) for them to work the movement score and my added layers of direction while simultaneously verbalising what they experience in regard to places of contact as a felt difference in perception of time.

I don’t know what I’m hunting except to say that when I draw attention to something, it is there. We reflect and I’m curious to hear their experience of felt difference in multiple parts of the body during time of connection. One replies “it’s hard to verbalize it, because I have only one mouth”.

I’m not there – She wanted to play in class. “Okay” I say. I look away. I notice as I look away I can watch her do the same. I can still see her, even as I look away. It is an odd feeling to resonate with the sight of where I do not look. This disconnect tightens the connection with the pull. We find ourselves tied to what we resist.. Today the more we intend to send our eyes ‘opposite’ our action which is toward one another, the more energy in the connection. Me doing this score on that day felt forced somehow. Strained, yet not unnatural. It certainly did not feel ‘absent’. More like being present against some form of training – the training of our sight to see. To look where we are going. How interesting to say.

I practice this score with members of my cast. It is very different with each person, with each day, and intention. What remains is breath. The tendency to use my breath as a rhythm or held bait, inside (or during) which my eyes can change time. For example, segmenting the time of my exhale by uneven glances around, or sustaining a strange float in-away-gaze over three breaths or four.

My breath is the ground for my choice-making.
Subvert some and keep playing.

The layers abstract themselves in front of me.
I look away, so can’t help but see.

Change! – I practiced this score with two children. Sitting for the family Gore as they have opened the family pizza shop – go to Goremade Pizza! Orion is 5 and Aries, 3. Here, time relinquishes to energy. The kids want to play. They need to play. Instead of hurting each other boys, and crying over toys, I will facilitate a game for us. Are you ready? This score is perfect for monsters. Change!

The time slices here are small. Their centers are a pile of heart colors, edges carefully crafted. It is a different work for the ‘development’ of fits and starts when collaborators are two brothers past their bedtime. We trade roles over a quick-changing landscape, time evenly burning so fairness is there. They are thoughtful but not as full of movement as me. Come on then, keep up! Change! I am fuller of body and variation but their persistence is greater. After an hour I’m ready to rest. Change! It is so loud in here. They aren’t quite changed enough to stop so we do a few more rounds. Then we remain. Reflect silently on our experience, each with our own water and Goremade pizza. Cheese. Pepperoni. Brussel sprouts and garlic.

Alongside this practice of play and in the reflection of what you said (Bebe) after observing my rehearsal – how does change bring forth what is? – how can what happens not help but be? This is different than Change! Less abruptly wrapped in direction. This new point of departure brings duration to change. My work needs this in order to do what I want it to do. So hey, B, thank you!


Submitted for Improvisation course with Bebe Miller at The Ohio State University. Here, she asked the class to have a look into Meg Stuart’s book “Are we here yet?”, choose a few movement improvisation scores to take into our personal practice, then reflect and respond in light of our current work.
Her explication of the assignment was far more poetic and conjuring in the ask.

Sometimes I talk with Bebe about time.
I talk about it with most people in my life.

She asked me once if I thought of time as “dynamic action”.
[time in months]
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