drawing to perform
D2P (Draw to Perform) is a bi-annual residency that is held in Bristol (UK) and one that I am seriously considering participating in this year. It explores the relationship between drawing and live art. UNTITLED studios in Cape Town (SA) saw myself and musician Gustavo Fasani (Argentina) doing a live drawing / sound performance last night. Having collaborated before in #UNFINISHEDvol7 we had good synergy as we responded to one another during our live performance.
For this collaboration we worked within the framework of 'admin' and for me this sparked ideas relating to rigidity, inflexibility, monotonous / mindless movements and particularly constraint. Deciding to work particularly with constraint as the main concept, I designed a strapping which would limit and constrain my drawing movements.Taking inspiration from one of my art mentors, Rebecca Horn, I looked towards her dance performance Body Harp (1978) where, through fabric and string, she was able to limit the bodily movements of ballet dancers. With the help of a designer friend, we were able to create a constraining device that would severely limit my ability to draw during the live performance. It was very much a cognitive decision..
But here's the interesting thing! Shortly into the drawing performance I started experiencing what a person doing admin might possibly feel: I was getting agitated, frustrated and irritable as I was limited within the enfolding structure. These feelings were echoed into Gustavo's music as he live-fed my drawing sounds into his sound mixer. Having inserted a ZOOM recorder into the old school desk I was drawing on, meant that he had to deal with me eventually banging on the desk with the back side of my pencils and sharpening them as loudly as I could in the old 1950 Boston pencil sharpener as I expressed myself.
Or perhaps it was more that I was starting to feel what an admin person might feel: I was stepping into their shoes and feeling their possible position. I was experiencing empathy. The moment this dawned on me I could allow myself to be immersed in the live drawing performance. I knew that the experience mattered, that it had deeper meaning for me personally and that I could allow it to lead to more unfolding.