Video still | KnowingUnknowing | Part III | Pete Gomes | London | Oct 2016
First meeting of camera, music and dance - Jul 6 2016 - Pete Gomes
Pete's independent research into improvised camera in film met with the experimental practice of KnowingUnknowing during a TIN Salons session hosted by the TransDisciplinary Improvisation Network in July 2016. Being familiar with the concept of the work, but without any pre-planning or over-riding intentions, Pete joined Ben and myself in performance. The text of Samuel Beckett's Neither (1962) offered something of an anchor for the section of KnowingUnknowing we presented that day (part I). Ben and I perform this section blindfolded working without sight, Pete is mobile, a third performer in the space with us through the lens of his phone/camera.
Pete's movement with, in-between, often up-close to us became an unconscious voice in the work. Dancing without sight I was not aware visually of Pete's presence in relation to my movement in the space. It was only through brief touch that I was brought into consciousness momentarily of another moving physical presence sharing the space with me; Ben playing prepared guitar seated is more of a physical anchor, a far less mobile presence . This moment of consciousness through touch with Pete served as a re-router of sorts. Offering an indication for a shift physically in the space I perceived this nudge as something of an external directive, asking me to explore alternative layers of interpretation in my movement; responding to the environment as a whole.
Externally the reception of the work shifted considerably with the audience commenting on having experienced a trio. The work was no longer interpreted as conversation between music and dance but very much as a dialogue, an interaction between three performers, conceived and revealed in the moment of sharing. The experience of working with improvised camera in this single moment of experimentation and subsequently viewing the recording and documented images of the work sparked a new trajectory for us (Ben and I) in the continued exploration of the work. Witnessing Pete's proximitey to us at different moments through the performance, and our genuine surprise at having not been aware of this as we performed, brought up questions over the spaces we occupy between conscious and unconscious being in the moment of performance.
We began conversations with Pete around filming with mobile, improvised camera the full work (3 sections at approximately 10-12 mins each). Discussions between Pete, Ben and I interrogated the process of KnowingUnknowing, prompting me to re-assess what I was referring to as 'improvised', what the intentions and frame of the work as a whole are and challenged my perceived identity of each of the three sections of the work. Pete's notions of newness in improvisation, embedded around the one-take technique of filming resonated with a sense of 'the hook', the 'golden circle' notion of no going back, but challenged my thoughts around a rejection of newness in improvisation as an artistic practice. Referring to Gary Peter's writing on the 'marked space' of improvisation. I am in this camp with a belief, rooted in experience that improvisation is a process of marking the past in the present. For me, the dance that emerges in response to the space that Ben and I share, is the dance of experience, of physical knowing, opened into
There's always something of a 'beginning' when we open this work in performance and I'm aware of the time taken to 'get into' the place, the identity of the work and the conversation between us each time; taking time to really listen to let the work beginning to speak, opening my body to reveal its voice. Whilst different with every performance, this beginning state asserts its presence the moment we find stillness, silence to open the work. Once the layers of consciousness (I feel) have dissolved, I'm in the work. I experience a complete presence in the moment, listening, responding, exploring, evolving.