Women's March Revisited

we marched

in a small town in rural Germany

we marched

 

we mazed 

our bodies through the labyrinthine remains of an old cement factory

four of us, together

venting fury and despair

throwing rocks

breaking glass

kicking formless metal objects

burning wood

cracking concrete

dancing atop rubble

 

protest music on a portable speaker

 

 

we came together to mourn

(the sadness in my bones wreaks them of strength as I collapse on the floor to stare blankly out the window into the grey-white winter sky

stay

stare)

 

 

we came together to fight

(terror spasms through me as I watch the Inauguration, certain that I hear him announce the end of democracy and the start of authoritarian rule with him as the big, red -faced rule-maker / rule-breaker)

 

 

we came together to do something

a symbolic gesture perhaps

done for our own sense of self-satisfaction

 

but what better reason is there than this, a sense of satisfaction in ourselves

that

 

we can come together

and we can do

anything

 

and everything

that has been done 

so that I can believe that 

is why I march

today

snowfall in stolpe

It's been about two months since I recorded this snowfall. In the background is music by Suzanne Ciani - it's called "Concert at Phil Niblock's Loft NYC 1975" and it is SPECTACULAR. I imagine this film being screened in a large dance studio somewhere as dancers improvise in front of it. It's best when only 8% of your attention is on the video, 13% of your attention is on the song, and the other 79% of your attention is wandering.

Lots has been going on around here lately - I taught dance class in Berlin, launched a letter-writing campaign, interviewed for a dance job, and spent the night alone at betOnest for the first time (which was terrifying, but I made it through). I hope to post updates about these things soon, but in the meantime I thought I'd drop some photos here. I took these on two separate days at betOnest. Enjoy! (and please ask permission before using them).

marching

Last Saturday, along with millions of other people around the world, I marched. The posse here - four strong - mazed our bodies, voices, and signs through the labyrinth of betOnest in order to march in solidarity with millions of other people around the globe in protest of Donald Trump. It felt important and inspiring - to show up from so far away in the company of friends; to shout "Jeden Tag! Fuck Trump! Ganzen Tag! Fuck Trump!" (Every day! Fuck Trump! All day! Fuck Trump!); to vent our fury by taking abandoned wooden structures littered around the property and breaking them over steel and concrete; to throw things, kick things, and dance on things to the driving beat of protest music humming on a portable speaker; and to build a fire and in it burn planks of wood on which we first wrote, "Trump," "The Patriarchy," "White Supremacy," and "Prison Industrial Complex." Marching, yelling, laughing, and being together in sadness defined our time, and it was good.

arrival

I arrived today at betOnest, a "new art space located in a former cement factory on the edge of Germany. It is rural, raw, and epic. A pre-post apocalypse heaven for aspiring artists" (from the website). I came here once before, last summer, and I fell in love with it immediately. beTonest is a sprawling vestige of old East Germany, a decrepit (but functional) amalgam of huge mostly-empty buildings, defunct machinery, and oddly shaped concrete structures numbering in the thousands. After lunch and a tour of the old on-site office building in which I will live for the next month, I ventured out into the snow and ice to explore beTonest on my own.

Thirty minutes and many photographs later, I found what I had been unconsciously looking for: a good standing spot.

Several weeks ago, as I thought about what I might do here during my month-long residency, so many ideas came to mind: make dance films! sew costumes! do art installations! Also, learn German! Make friends with locals! Envision my future and start making it happen! In the middle of this whirlwind of ambition, a little voice inside me spoke: What if you just stand still?

BUT THAT'S NOT ART, I yelled back, exasperated at the voice and annoyed by the idea. I AM AN ARTIST!!!!!! (see this video for proof). Instead of yelling back, the voice just repeated, evenly and unapologetically, But what if you just stand still? Despite my resistance, I felt I could trust this small but mighty voice; instead of demanding that I do something active with my body, it simply extended an invitation to do an unfamiliar, extremely un-ambitious and extremely accessible, thing: stand still.

So I tried it. I wasn't intending to start today, but in my wandering there came a spot at which I thought, Why not? 

For somewhere between 40 and 100 breaths (I lost count), I stood mostly still. My eyes opened and closed, my ears only opened, my feet got numb, and, to my surprise, I was never bored. In the moments I did look around, I noticed shape and light more than I had before my stillness. I spotted a mouse running from concrete hole to concrete hole. And after only ten breaths, I sensed a depth of peace that I haven't felt in awhile. I stayed until I was ready to leave, and then I left, slowly winding my way back to the office building I temporarily call home.

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When this idea was hatched, I was operating on the assumption that:

Standing Still = Doing Nothing = Not Being Productive = Wasting Time = Fucking Up

If that is the case, than I spent between 40 and 100 breaths Fucking Up today. After my practice today, however, I am wondering if this:

Standing Still = Not Forcing Myself to Do Something (anything) = Quieting My Body = Perceiving and Receiving the World Better = Having a Totally Awesome Experience of Being Alive

might also be the case. If so, then I spent between 40 and 100 breaths Having a Totally Awesome Experience of Being Alive today. 

Maybe they're both true. Today, standing still made me feel pretty great. Tomorrow? Who knows . . .

STAY TUNED FOR MORE EXCITING ADVENTURES IN STANDING STILL!