In March this year, just I was emerging from my medical leave after long Covid, I went on the DRIFT, a weeklong artist residency in London ran by ZU-UK’s Artistic Director Persis Jadé Maravala and her team. The day after the DRIFT, at about 8am in the morning I wrote my thoughts on the experience. I remember the time because it’s unusual for me to write that early. I wrote from the body somehow, vibrating with the effects of the week onto the page. I wrote about the DRIFT and about the piece that I developed while there, which I called ‘Tea Break’ – a one to one experience in which I blend a tea specifically for each participant and vocalise this serene experience. I will speak about ‘Tea Break’ later but for now here are my thoughts on the residency:

 

26 March 2022, GAIL’s Bakery, Blackheath, London

The DRIFT is very much Jadé’s world. She defines it and keeps shaping it as it goes along. Her strength and way to hold a room are admirable. Her belief in pushing boundaries is intoxicating. You have no choice but to push yourself and understand your own boundaries. This is not a residency for people that feel powerless. You have to be able to hold your own and draw your own lines. You will be pushed and through that push you will grow. But growing isn’t easy, as roots grow deeper or stems reach towards the sky the whole organism vibrates and redefines itself. The DRIFT is a space of intensity. Of intense connection with others, of intense confrontation with oneself. The atunement to others through physical exercises left me feeling something close to magic. If magic would be real life as it’s supposed to be. It made me aware how much individuality and inwardness have been normalised in my life. That over the years I’ve grown layers of protection against others that keep me from seeing them or being seen. This work is for the shedding of the armour. For the peeling of the onion layers so that you can lay bare in front of someone as they lay bare before you and see each other. Really see each other and be seen. I will miss that safe but exposing place that Jade created with so much poise. By the end of it, despite us having very different artistic goals and practices, we had our hearts tethered to each other. We cared for each other. We rooted for each other to succeed, to achieve our goals, to progress in our journeys. When things got too much we were there for each other. We cried and laughed and loved and sometimes hated each other. All of this over 5 days. I am bewildered at how someone can facilitate a place that holds such intense emotion and authenticity in such a short amount of time. As Jadé said, this is her life’s work. And it’s left me feeling a renewed sense of posibility and trust in my own intensity and the intensity of others.

 

DRIFT residency 2022

Category : Life, Research
Date : 9th May 2022

In March this year, just I was emerging from my medical leave after long Covid, I went on the DRIFT, a weeklong artist residency in London ran by ZU-UK’s Artistic Director Persis Jadé Maravala and her team. The day after the DRIFT, at about 8am in the morning I wrote my thoughts on the experience. I remember the time because it’s unusual for me to write that early. I wrote from the body somehow, vibrating with the effects of the week onto the page. I wrote about the DRIFT and about the piece that I developed while there, which I…


Reflections on vocal practice live stream

Category : Off Topic, Research
Date : 24th August 2020

Day 1 This is me, in the photo above, bungee-jumping about 11 years ago at a festival in Romania. This is also me today, live streaming my vocal practice to an unsuspecting audience on Facebook. That terror on my face… same thing. This week I’ve set myself a challenge to stream a vocal practice I do, every day for 5 consecutive days. I’ve just finished day 1 and I’m feeling pretty energised from the adrenaline. I streamed it on Facebook and forgot to download the video straight after so today’s video might be stuck on that Zuckeberg-y platform, gah. I…


Gosh, where did the time go? Covid seems to have deleted months off the calendar and for a while we went into a time warp. Things are speeding up slowly but I’m pretty much holding my breath for round two/three/four/twenty. Don’t think it will be as bad. At least we’ve all got Zoom installed and ready to go now… It’s been a very strange year for a practice based PhD. Took me a while to settle in and actually DO some things and just as shit was about to go down, an unexpected shart really went down and lockdown happened…


WTF is Practice Based Research

Category : Research
Date : 2nd October 2019

It seemed apropriate, as I embark on this practice-based PhD, to pause and question in more detail what practice based means. I know what a big deal it was for me, while I was writing the research proposal, to realise that this is possible – academia is not just books, literature reviews and theories that function as pillars (but are really the meat and bones of all work), academia is also practice – doing things and figuring out new trajectories while doing them. In all honesty, I think the realisation was something more like: life is not just books and…


Glasgow, we meet again

Category : Life, Research
Date : 26th September 2019

I was saying to my friend Ragnar that I feel like I’m on the dance floor on a night out but it’s too early and the music is not quite there yet and I wanna dance but my whole body is tense and weird and I am being unnecessarily aware of all of its micro robotic movements. That’s how the beginning of a PhD feels like. There’s (already) a big list of things to do, places to go, people to meet, things to read and write but something is slightly awkward. But it’s kinda ok because I know that on a night out, I eventually reach a point where everything in my body feels fluid AF and I’m moving to the rhythm like there’s no tomorrow and everything makes sense and it’s really intense and awesome.


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