DRAFF created daily festival print editions featuring Live Collision artists: Anna Furse, Vickey Curtis, Selina Thompson, Louise Ahl, Malaprop, Zoe Ni Riordain, Mark Durkan and Jamila Johnson-Small. These mini editions were cut and assembled live during the festival.
what live art can do:
The lines of digital communication [our main lines of communication] have been warped for the love of content. The clickbait imperative applies across both the news and our social media feeds. And there’s a greater urgency to this now. The world [as mediated through the internet] has been shook up. As far as we can tell. And as we sift glumly through the staticky rubble of our pulverised Facebook filter bubbles, we have to wonder how we became so disconnected through connection. The din of the internet has resolved into two polarised voices, both shrieking ‘NO!’ The headlines of articles-that-haven’t-actually-been-read spread like wildfire across newsfeeds, a chain reaction of gut reaction. The pageant of the Facebook newsfeed - a video of a child choking on chlorine gas in Aleppo, then a cat video - it’s all content. Art is not content. One of the few points of relief left in the landscape of mass communication, this thing of being in the room with a group of others, engaged in witnessing an Event. And live art occupies a potent position on the art spectrum, being without the container of ‘theatre’, ‘dance’, ‘film’, ‘visual art’ - each performance is a new proposition, a new way of being in the world: it opens out onto possibility.
Division lies in the lines of worn-out communication. Always be breaking out of the drag of habit, bending the habitual, exploding tired lines. Words and images can be tiny bombs, or damp squibs. They become loaded with associations over time, aligning themselves with political positions by stealth. They get so clogged with meanings that they start to mean things we’d never thought to mean when we spoke them first. You need good churn in language - you need a good rate of turnover, to keep real meaning in it. You’ve got to always be busting out of the trap of the familiar, turning things around to see their other side, so you see them again. And to be always seeing anew is to be alive to the possibility and fullness and tangible weight of other lives. Live art is routes in to other people, an exercise in stating and restating our subjectivity, to find and refind our commonality. Live art sets its own container, its own framework – it’s going back to ground zero of human experience, human engagement, because maybe there’s a turn we missed somewhere.
They may at some future point install emoji panels in the backs of theatre seats to help audiences more effectively emote, but thankfully that hasn’t happened yet.
Eyes to the front, corpuscles hurtling through veins, alveoli filtering atmosphere, diaphragms heaving, neurons firing, pores constricting. Not all in unison, but at the same time, in real time. And then an Event happens, in real time. This is crucial. We live in our bodies, and our hair follicles and nails and skin cells, our bones, cry out for a live ritual, for the collision of our real body with other real bodies occupying space, the atoms at our outer perimeters commingling with the atoms of the person next to us.You don’t want a thumbs up made of pixels - you want guts and nerves in the room with you.
Written for Live Collision by DRAFF Editor Rachel Donnelly.
Images: Abi Denniston