Friday 10 October 2014
Guest Contributor: Kate Marsh, Coventry University
What did I expect to see when I entered the creative space shared by Dan Daw and Martin Forsberg? What do any of us expect from our observations and viewings of or participation in the ‘making’ process? Maybe to sit quietly in a corner, shoes off, smiling, making our faces and bodies seem open, non-intruding, approving? Or maybe to hover, notebook at hand, seeking to understand the process and thoughts of the artists.
On entering the space on Friday it was immediately apparent that my pre-conceived ideas of viewing process would be shifted. On one of the four walls there are words, phrases, quotes and comments adorning the entire surface, they vary from philosophical ideas to descriptions of “breast feeding an eel” (or is it a breast feeding eel, I forget and doubt it matters.) Dan is writing on the wall and Martin is observing the impact of the process of reaching and writing on Dan’s body. Already I sense a kind of fluidity between the moving and the thinking and the movement and the writing.The artists sit me down (hang on a minute!) and ask me to answer some questions. Ok this is sort of familiar (ish) I’ll probably have some stock answers to these questions, I’m a seasoned “observer” after all.
Question one, “ What do you want Dan’s solo to look like?” Erm? This and the subsequent questions are hard. Dan and Martin are inviting me (forcing me) to consider my expectations of this work and in turn my expectations of dance work generally. Thrown slightly, I bumble my way through the questions, my responses seem to be inarticulate and affected at the same time, I suspect the pair predicted this, it is not my answers that are valuable, but the debate concerning what we want or expect to see in performance and how we as viewers have a role in this exchange. I have taken from this first ‘sitting in’ with Dan and Martin, the (I think) massive and exciting idea that we (the viewer, the audience) can change the work through our “looking” at and experiencing it. I am charmed by Martin’s recounting of his visit to the Ballet with his ipod, headphones and slated glasses, to explore how he might perceive the work ‘differently.’ I like this idea that rather than grumpily complaining that we actually take ownership of our viewing. I leave the rehearsal with the strong sense that Daw’s solo will not leave room for complacent viewings from any of us.