I wonder about time and place and land. I wonder about politics. I wonder about being a moralist in this profession. I wonder about creative freedom and community responsibility. I wonder about reacting to the issues that present themselves in the moment. I wonder about the artists role in creative resistance efforts. I wonder about avoiding contributing to dogmatic ideologies. I wonder about all of these things.
Part of the reason I was interested in working with Karen Jamieson is because I knew that she had a history (and presence) of investment in British Columbia. Though we haven't delved into it too much, we have shared moments of agreement in the wonder of this particular place. Though we have different ways of making dance, this common interest in land and history is compelling to me.
I think about her piece, The River, which involved many groups of people: the professional company, the community, the audience, musicians. They proceeded down what once was a river: plugged into it's gravity, followed its flow, moved along its path to the open ocean. It had to be felt in the body, the flow had to be re-embodied on top of the city that was built over it. It does not mean it does not exist. It's there, but buried under our shops, roads and condos.
A while ago I was riding the skytrain, a rare occurrence as I usually ride my bike. Most people in the car were reading or listening to their devices. A middle aged woman that I was standing beside saw that I was not on my phone and began to talk with me. We began with small talk that referred to how we were socializing and so few people are ready to do so due to the constant lure of information on their black screens.
I mentioned that I was headed to KJ work. She knew immediately who that was. She then told me a beautiful story. She watched The River and was so inspired by the issues it incited and opened her up to that she decided to invest her time into environmental activism. I think about this in relationship to what's happening on Burnaby Mountain right now, and about the relationship of environmental activism to indigenous sovereignty.
The reason I bring this up is because I believe that all art is inherently political. By saying something or saying nothing at all in your art, you are making a statement. However, I sometimes question our collective consciousness around this. I understand that an artist can have a brilliance that knows not how political a work may be until it is received, but I question how much responsibility we are taking to use our privileged voices with integrity.
The River drove one audience member to become active in something she believed to be important. I am interested in asking questions of myself, and making them available to others through actively witnessing and taking part in what I am making. I hope that it can invoke questions that move people to ask more questions of themselves and the complex spaces we live in.