Gestures, dance, drawing and memory


Last summer I took part in a dance research project with Complicite – ‘Everything That Rises Must Dance’.  Two weeks.  A group of fifty women. Learning, dancing, trying things out.  Magnificent.

Part of the project was to choreograph our own individual pieces based on gestures we had seen women do.  I tried to remember my piece the other day. I remembered the dance, and the gestures I was trying to interpret.  But not any details about the women I had observed, whose gestures are now cemented in my consciousness.  No age, clothing, colour.  Just the way they moved, and a vague memory of the place (oh yes, she was chatting to friend, and that one was on a train carriage on the underground…).  No concrete details.

How odd.  I wonder if I use the same process when drawing?  Observing an object or movement, then re-interpreting it for myself so that it becomes fixed in my memory.  When I draw a person running, is it an interpretation that I refer to rather than an original memory?

And am I using the same part of my brain to remember both a dance move and how to draw a pigeon?


Festival of Light, London

Saw a bit of the Lumiere festival in London last week. ‘Child Hood’ by Collectif Coin was beautiful, I could have watched it all evening. Dozens of balloons tethered to the ground at Trafalgar Square, each one with a white lightbulb inside. They lit up in patterns dictated by a bassy, minimalist soundtrack. Sometimes they pulsed together, sometimes in waves, sometimes individually. It was utterly moving, and just my sort of thing.

I’ve tried to capture a feeling of it here using digital paint- but really, you had to be there.