What is time? How do we measure it, how do we experience it? Not just through the concrete concept of a clock, how do we physically inhabit it? Can we capture the essence of time?
Lucia Kickham’s triple bill of new work, On.Pulse. sets out to explore the relationship between time and the body, and their affects on each other. On.Pulse. invites an audience to contemplate how time is experienced, how perhaps time is nothing more than an experience.
‘Pulse’, a prologue to the piece, is performed by musician Robbie Blake, and introduces us to the concept of timing. He conducts, silently, to music we cannot hear, but which our bodies can feel. There is an unspoken pulse, and as this silent conducting takes place, the audience’s collective beat seems to settle to match. We are drawn in to a time signature decided by another, and already, the concreteness of our ideas of time have fallen away.
The physical and aural pause is then shifted completely by ‘To Get To The Other Side’, which is more concerned with the ever arriving now-ness of time. Dictated to by her own pulse, to which the metronome is set, Lucia Kickham performs. After which, the metronome is reset to her newly speeded up pulse. Repeatedly the tempo is reset. Peak time reaches 120 bpm. Time becomes visually concrete through the body – the rhythm of blood pumping to flushed cheeks, the sound of breath fuelling movement. The pace of the piece is constantly driven to the next moment, and the next, there is no avoiding the present, and the alive-ness that present moment brings.
‘Oscillate’, performed by Lucia Kickham and Marion Cronin, inhabits a more evocative sense of time, with the experiential quality of memory or nostalgia. While both ‘Pulse’ and ‘To Get To The Other Side’ are minimally lit, and scored, ‘Oscillate’ has a lusher design to it – a shimmering haze of light, and is scored by Jack Cawley. The choreography allows the performers to flow into each others’ rhythms, to sync, the way metronomes naturally do, and to flow back out. These ever echoing repetitions and gestures speak to an expansion of time, a deeper flow.
I became acutely aware of my physical response to On.Pulse. My heart rate noticeably slowed at times, and my breath mirrored the rhythms I was processing. The programme for On.Pulse. says it invites an audience to contemplate how time is experienced. Beyond contemplation, it evokes a very real bodily experience of time, an experience ‘beyond the hard external clock’.
Áine for DRAFF
On. Pulse., choreographed by Lucia Kickham, ran at the Firkin Crane, Cork on the 3rd March. See it at Project Arts Centre, Dublin on the 6th and 7th April 2017. Image: Abigail Denniston.
Posted: March 7th 2017.