grand reunion remix
re-writing grand reunion's project statement
earlier this year i was involved with a couple of online international arts events hosted by Grand re Union (Tender Hotel and Disrupting Discomfort). as part of the organiser's year-long activities, they invite people to remix their original 'project statement'. for May's event i decided to have a go at re-writing it and am rather proud of what emerged.
at the event in May, some of the group i was working with read my words aloud with me. it was one of the most remarkable things i have ever experienced - other people's voices speaking my words brings them to life in an entirely new way. that had never happened for me before (although i have been told similar by others when i was voicing their words for the-phone-book all those years ago). it gave me goosebumps.
so much love and gratitude for the GU team, everyone involved in TH & DD who have brought so very much brave expansion my way this year, and especially to Rivca Rubin, Lou Drago, and Charles Lauder for generously sharing their voices.
staring wide-eyed at faces which are blind to us, we pull back the curtain of conditioning to truly see ourselves, and what we have become. change is everywhere… if we dare to accept the challenge of changing ourselves, first.
how can we be together with others when we are not yet truly together in our own selves, where the crime of otherness is outlawed by those who hold our reigns? is this a newly-emergent awareness, only illuminated because of a global pandemic? surely not. we have been connected through stardust, mycelium, blood, infrastructure and ethernets for decades, millennia, aeons. and yet, we still won’t hear our neighbours crying.
what is common to any of us when we deny our own realities, our natural beings, our instinctual selves, in favour of the tiny box marked “convenience”? is it convenient to conform, when conformity suffocates the air from our lungs, one tree at a time? when Common Land was Crowned, we complied with the enclosure of far more than fields.
nevertheless, she persisted; this grand old dame, Ma Earth. something had to. she continues to spin and weave and adorn us with gifts we never asked for and increasingly prove we never deserved. where we all once gathered in mass-ritual to sing and dance our connections with Country, most now struggle to remember her song.
prone in stasis, our bones degenerate in isolation from her, each other, us, i. the desire, the human need for connection, meaning, expression, celebration has never died, merely become quieter – only audible to those who choose to excavate the system’s earplugs and drown in the revealed cacophony until a new zero decibel is arrived at. those whose bones have turned to rust from restricted movement may require the pain of physiotherapy in order to walk freely again. for others, healing only comes once bones are rebroken and reset anew.
for those where only the absence of voice, movement and connection have framed their lens, the medicine can feel more deadly than the illness. to strive to pause, to connect meaningfully no matter what device enables it, can seem an imposition to those who have fought so hard to breathe their allocated air through their allocated tube dripping down from their allocated ceiling. there is discomfort in disruption of these realities. can we be reborn stronger through communal intention? or is it time for us to say, “enough”, and sacrifice that which we believe we’d earned, now knowing it grew from soils we made toxic?
if we decide to join together… how? we all speak different languages, of truth, of desire, of meaning, of need, of entitlement. putting us all in one place may only bring the world further off-balance. we may topple old Ma over, affecting tectonic plates and tides, and never reach the consensus we seek. and yet… perhaps it isn’t consensus we require. perhaps we simply want to be seen and heard as an “i” within a cluster of interdependent i’s. perhaps it’s all this talk of a single solitary “we” which got us into trouble in the first place.
when “i” dance, it is under the union of mindbody and music, not for the gaze of another. when “i” dance for an audience, i am no longer mine. when “i” observe another’s dance, my own becomes influenced even without my consent. when “i” am invited by another to dance with them, a choreographed relational anarchy of flowing bodies may ensue. or perhaps simply a knot of uncertain limbs entangled in the confusion of their own bruised unknowings. collaboration can bring out unique new forms, and it can result in the same same, again again. maybe we get to decide how that pans out, if we’ve learned how to decide anything for ourselves, yet. some maps are too well-trodden to unlearn. some maps are only danced by the bees. and some bees won’t waggle for anyone but their queen.
so we decide, if we can. and we swap the discomfort of conditioning for the disruption of changing ourselves, painstakingly, painfully, debriding the skins of what we were told we were, re-breaking bones set to paralyse us. and we open our mouths to release the scream of torment, chorusing what was stolen from us all. and then – and only then – will we remember how to dance with Country once more, and sing our true song of connection to i, we, earth.