Remix Festival Reflection
We were the only ones working as a pair. Everyone else who was remixing was remixing alone. They were the lone director; their task was not collaborative. In this way it made sense for them to follow the thing that Susan Rethorst had said. She talked about remixing as wrecking. As taking the thing the other person had made as raw material and doing with it whatever you wanted. The goal was for the “remixer” to make a new piece-their new piece with the other person’s stuff. One could even rudely disregard the other material.
Well. Easier said then done when you’re supposed to be remixing with another person. Our process is honesty and transparency. All of our work is a bit like therapy when we make it and also sometimes when we perform it. Anything that comes up in our life is raw material in our work as well. The audiences who’ve seen us perform probably know more intimate details about us then some of our friends (ie when the last time I got my period was, Magda’s sex dreams, our parental emotional baggage etc). Since this is the way we work together it only made sense that this is also how we approached our process of remixing.
It actually would have been too difficult to completely disregard the other person’s work while remixing collaboratively, so we decided to approach remixing the work with the high regard for the performer/original creator and each other that we usually try to create with.
However, another thing was also going on for us in our remix process that prevented us from “wrecking.”
Something that I love about creating on/with another person.
Something that I was only exposed to recently but hope it will continue to be a part of my process for as long as I create.
Something that people I highly respect, as artists and as people, use as a main tool:
Seeing the thing that is really happening and heightening that aspect in the performer. I am not good at explaining this. Magda would be much better at explaining this. I’m talking about watching a performer do something, looking at it and saying yes yes but actually it is really about THIS thing. THIS thing that is hiding somewhere in the corner behind or next to the thing you actually thought you were doing. Maybe you weren’t even aware that you were doing THIS thing and were oblivious to its existence at all! Pointing to that thing and taking away all of the other stuff. Removing the unnecessary crap that is cluttering the view of THE thing and letting that thing breathe in its own intricate idiosyncratic-ness. “Naming the thing.” Clearly we are hardcore students of the Headlong way of life.
And oh Meredith’s piece had so many beautiful things to be named. With the short amount of time we had to get to know her on some sort of intimate level through her work we quickly named the things that jumped out at us and worked with those.
We gave her a lot of “psychic choreography” directions about presence and focus to make those moments really full of herself and itself and all the selves. And because she is a spectacular performer/mover with amazing facilities we really pushed her with detailed directions and we tried to complicate her own patterns so that she would really be concentrating while she was performing and in this way forcing her to be present.
And man can that woman take direction. She perfectly morphed her presence and beliefs about who and why she was on stage to fit this other frame we were putting her in and really ran with it (or stood in place and hummed with it as the case may be).
Anyway this is how we remixed Meredith’s piece. From the inside out. Without wrecking but with a lot of listening and seeing. Of course sitting there afterwards in the audience Magda and I doubted ourselves and wondered if maybe just maybe we should have done the huge- fuck-everything-up-wrecking and leave the old material behind and make Meredith come out in the children’s toy car stored away behind the stage while singing the national anthem or something. But I’m glad we didn’t. And I think Meredith is glad we didn’t either. Maybe if it was called the “Wrecking Festival” and not the “Remix Festival” things would have turned out differently.