Arts Review Festival

Milk Crates and Paper Towels at T:BA:14

Days 9 & 11 at T:BA:14

Day 9

I got to the workshop with Larry Arrington and Ruairi Donovan a little bit late. Everyone was seated on the floor in the space just outside (inside) the studio. Sitting in a circle, people took turns randomly sharing the skills/things they are good at/can offer. Ruairi wrote down a list of all these things. After quickly talking about the concept of NO SPACE, we worked on creating the vessel to transport us into this NO SPACE. We stood facing each other in two lines with our hands extended out, creating an arm bridge extending just before the doorway into the studio. Each person took turns jumping onto the arm bridge. Bodies straight and arms ahead, bouncing all the way into the NO SPACE.

We committed various identity suicides, freeing ourselves as we danced with partners. We wrote a letter to something/someone that scares us. A career suicide note. We wrote lists. We took a personal object and found its proper place in the studio. We took turns being a patient and a career counselor. We asked a question and used the space and the objects for answers. I was impressed with how well this actually worked. Each one of us seemed to find something worthwhile in the process.

On a different sheet of paper, we wrote a proposal for a project we want to create. On the back we wrote down a gift we could feasibly do for someone in the workshop with a way to contact us. We wrote our names and address down on a stamped envelope and with the three piles, we took an envelope and put the two different papers inside. We walked to the mailbox as a group talking out loud to ourselves about our experience with the workshop. I am not sure how to convey how insightful this workshop was. It felt like such a radical shift in how to approach the creative process. The concept of NO SPACE is something worth thinking about. I can’t really say what it is, but I want to work with it!

Jack Ferver performed the West Coast Premiere of Mon, Ma, Mes in a carpeted conference room. He starts off with a staged Q and A which gets the audience laughing. Its a humorous piece. At first. He talks very openly about his life and yet seems fiercely hidden behind the persona he has created. Early on he performs a dance with satirical humor. After the mood shifts halfway thru the performance he repeats the same dance in a whole new light. A sense of anxiety and self loathing? The performance ends on an abrupt note in this strange mood. The effect is jarring. I like it. But I am unsettled by the thread of empathy that has been formed. A big question mark looms. The story doesn’t end.


Cheltfisch is from Japan. Ground and Floor is a musical theatre production that ponders the division and connection between the living and the dead. This is the type of work that one must take time to digest. Full of such relevant and heavy creative content, it takes time to allow the ideas this work creates to form in the intellectual and emotional body. Being in the audience was an enduring task. At 90 minutes long, the pace was slow and subtle. The dialogue was poetic and thought provoking.

Oneohtrix, Point Never

Oneohtrix Point Never ended the evening with an impressive set at The Works. His music explored different styles and was the perfect ending to an unusual and unsettling thread of shows. Continuing into the darkness and inspiring possibility. His music would have inspired me to move and explore if I wasn’t so incredibly sleepy. The visuals were disturbing and ugly, but in a way where they made for a great background.

Day 10

My last day! Meryem Jazouli is interested in micro-movements. How making the most subtle changes can create dynamic changes in awareness and perception. We worked with architecture. Observing the space around us, we used our bodies to draw the images. We started out on the ground. We took turns becoming the counterpoint to half the group slowly writhing on the ground. Then we got to our feet and expanded the practice. We performed for each other in groups of three, shifting into three movements, each taking a turn in response to shifts from the ground, on the feet, as the counterpoint.

I have a crush on Aki Sasamoto. Skewed Lines won me over at the start. We walked down into the basement of some random building, adjusting our eyes to the darkness and wait for what happens next. Full of energy and determination she comes down the stairs explaining this story about her deep seated hate for mosquitos. We follow her as she moves to the different stages set up with props like milk crates and paper towels. There are three kinds of dessert characters, granola, and a book about the noble criminal; the fierce desire to never give up. I don’t really know how to make sense of her seemingly unrelated and yet in some way cohesive stories. The metaphorical content ripe with meaning I’m sure, but personally I was just transfixed with her ability to entertain with humor and creativity.


I had been excited about Hypnosis Display, the music and film collaboration with Paul Clipson and Liz Harris since I found out about it. The film moves quickly from a wide range of natural and urban images. Rather than hypnotize, the lush and somber soothing soundscape and the shifting visuals had the power to invoke a strange dream state.

I could not resist shutting my eyes and found myself repeating this cycle of struggling to open them and recalling strange hypnagogic dreams. I had a strong sense of nostalgia. It felt at once personal and at the same time unifying. After the film I felt disoriented, almost as though still in the dream state.

So many mornings practicing presence, awareness and creative movement has helped to shift my perspective. This, in accordance with witnessing the creative expression of others throughout T:BA:14, has assisted in developing a stronger sensitivity to the world around me. There is a richness that comes with immersing yourself in art. The opportunity to experience and explore our own process. A reflecting pool that allows us an insight into the micro/macrocosm.

Day 11


Paula Helen

By Paula Helen

Gravitating toward spirituality and poetic narrative, Paula has recently allowed the passion of movement to connect with writing. Practicing Butoh directly, while studying all forms of contemporary dance through the process of cultural journalism, she has developed a new level of appreciation for all the performing arts.

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