Expanding the hunting ground

Words by Meg Stuart and her collaborators, gathered by Jeroen Peeters during the creative process of Hunter (May 2013-March 2014)

Programme note 26 Mar 2014English
This text features as programme notes to the solo piece 'Hunter' by Meg Stuart and Damaged Goods, which opened on March 26, 2014 at the HAU 2 theatre in Berlin.

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Dedication. This movement is for… Dancing her heroes. Trying to be Bruce Nauman. Workspace. The boredom of dancing. The body as waste. The land of small things. Forgotten movements. Wandering is a practice that doesn’t need an audience. Going for a walk, a survival method. She’s a map. I think that changing one’s mind is one of the best things there is. Imagine, with all the things that are happening and changing, with life moving, new information that we get, imagine us remaining always the same. Always the same!? How beautiful it is to change one’s mind. (Jonas Mekas) Speech. How do people communicate? How do they share their emotions? Margaret’s letter. Flooding memory. Dancing in silence feels good! How do people behave when they’re alone, listening to the radio? Scrapbook. I’m trying to connect things I don’t understand. (Thomas Hirschhorn) Movements she could have done but doesn’t need to show. Sometimes she doesn’t understand the origins of these dances herself. What does it mean to treat the self as material? How does your body forget trauma, pleasure, or mundane things? How can you speak with the spine? What would you do if you lost it? (Allen Ginsberg) Drawing. Tracing. Observing. Measuring. Prowling. Fiction. Quantum genealogy. Digestion. Shedding. Hoarding. Punding. Punding is a stereotypical motor behaviour in which there is an intense fascination with repetitive handling and examining of mechanical objects, such as picking at oneself or taking apart watches and radios or sorting and arranging of common objects, such as lining up pebbles, rocks, or other small objects. (Medical dictionary) Cleaning a base to build something from there. Amnesia. Welcome. The shaking woman or a history of my nerves. (Siri Hustvedt) The bonsai principle. Violent pocket. Archive of séance photographs. Stills. Catalogue of parts. Body synching. T-shirt dance. Greta Garbo’s screen-test. The costume is present. She has attitude. She’s a queen. She’s a loser. She’s open. She’s everything. She carries everything with her, like a homeless person, but she’s also glamourous. Alchemy. Walk in the footsteps of a person, quietly. Walk in the footsteps of a person, singing. Walk in the footsteps. (Yoko Ono) Unrealized histories. Ancestors. Digging. Quilting. Her mother would buy clothes for her, but as they didn’t have much money, her mother would also be wearing them, which she hated. Picasso’s Girl with a mirror. Performing at a friend’s wedding, she discovered that things can also be fun and done in a different way. Wow. What could a feminist dance today be like? Take a picture of strangers holding hands. (Miranda July) Pussy Riot. Ulrike Meinhof. Valie Export. Marlene Dumas. Louise Bourgeois. Yoko Ono. Laurie Anderson. Patti Smith. Diamanda Galas. Diane Keaton. Trisha Brown. Pina Bausch. Personal geographies. Why be happy when you could be normal? (Jeanette Winterson) Cartoon body. Humour, satire, cruelty, decompression. How to move from panel to panel? Gutter. Sounds of sloppy behaviour. Sometimes she doesn’t know. Maybe it’s the thin line of the pencil that kicks people’s imagination. Dancing colour is a somewhat difficult affair. Trying to bring on many people. Contemporary dance gym. Every moment is a moment of learning. Not a moment of habits, but a moment of a newness of possibilities to live in this world, and to do what I feel is needed to live in this world. So this is not comfortable. (Charlotte Selver) Sleight of hand. We’re not able to go back to the past together, anyhow. Being trapped by history. Plexiglass coffin. William Burroughs. Vampires feeding on habits and old memories – or on fresh blood? She could improvise something different every day. Trying to fly the kite. Fictional behaviour in a real workspace. Two thousand yoga mats. Hunter. Shaman. Folk dance. It comes from behind, perhaps through the ear. All songs have been exhausted. Girls’ game. Laughter. Giggling. Drawing a breath. It was in a way my first psychomagic act. I had to disguise myself. I began by dressing myself in brand new clothing from head to toe. It was not chosen by me but by three friends, so that the outfit did not reflect the taste of any particular individual. I prepared a false identity card: another name, another birth date, another photo. I bought a slab of pork, wrapped it in silver paper, and put it in my pocket as a reminder. The rather unusual contact with the meat would remind me that I was in a special situation and that I should avoid letting myself get caught up, no matter what happened. (Alejandro Jodorowsky) This dance is looking for a community. How much repetition do we need for dance to become a ritual? How could you transform yourself by turning yourself inside out? Halloween. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Sound cloud. George Maciunas’ dumpling party, 80 Wooster St., June 29, 1971. Andy standing on the side, never in the middle of it, never really embracing it. And George laughing, laughing at it all, including Warhol, and placing in its place his own fragile life, totally inconsequential, unimportant world, world of games, little boxes, puzzles, jokes, all in praise of nothingness. The heavy importances he leaves to the rest of the world. (Jonas Mekas) Working on everyday life. This is dangerous, so she needs a helmet. Ricochet. The life she could have had if she didn’t spend all this time in the studio. If the workspace is always elsewhere, then where does it take place? X-ray. Mapping. Thinking through images. Stan Brakhage. Feeding the camera. Blanket. Memory zone. It’s on the video – the video knows! Homemade, 1966. I used my memory as a score. I gave myself the instruction to enact and instill a series of meaningful memories, preferably those that impact on identity. Each memory unit is ‘lived’, not performed. A projector is mounted on the back of the performer and the film of the dance is projected onto the wall, floor, ceiling, and audience in synchronization with the ‘live’ action. (Trisha Brown) Scapulimancy. Dugong. Killing dialogue. Theriomorphic thinking. Speeches, songs, addresses. Amulets, charms, offerings. Group actions. Consultations. Shadows. Trying to be five thousand animals at once – and then not. Sensory organs of the past. Super 8 nostalgia. Expanded cinema. Describe what to do with your body when you die. (Miranda July) Meeting, matching, layering. Totem. Wood, felt, plexi, aluminium, radiant. Why is there no word for a female hunter? Collage. Cutting, drilling, sewing, scratching. Tomorrow nobody can come because she has to dance! How many times have you tried to shield yourself by reading the newspaper, watching television, or just spacing out? That is the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question: how much have you connected with yourself at all your whole life? (Chögyam Trungpa, Shambhala) How could she observe what everyone else is doing? Sometimes she’s cartooning herself, her research and her desires. She has to feel free to be ridiculous. Where is she now? Where are you now? Populating the off-space. Creating angles. Microcosmos. How to set something up, then erase it and restart five or six times over? Spit is important. Knots. Animation. Wake up call. The effort of keeping things together. For a moment the feeling crept over me that my work, my vision, is going to destroy me, and for a fleeting moment I let myself take a long, hard look at myself, something I would not otherwise do – out of instinct, on principle, out of self-preservation – look at myself with objective curiosity to see whether my vision has not destroyed me already. I found it comforting to note that I was still breathing. (Werner Herzog, Conquest of the Useless) Flying the jacket. Lazy Susan. Schrödinger’s cat. Blogging. Vertical cinema. She doesn’t know how and why she should manage repetition. Make an encouraging banner. (Miranda July) How can you move in a space you don’t know yet? No entertainment, no explanation. She tries to be herself. 1980s new wave, bitchy, dry and cold-faced. Mouth harmonica. Blues. Shapido. Creaky boat. Every action is enveloped by silence. A shadow is a memory of us. It disappears as soon as we walk away from it. (Yoko Ono) No bleeding. A series of portraits, from 20 seconds to 20 minutes. Exhausting clichés. Camouflage. Breaking, dropping, smashing. Printing. Channeling. Witchcraft. Serpent. When did women lose their power? This is the happy house, we’re happy here in the happy house / Oh, it’s such fun, fun, fun (Siouxsie and the Banshees) She could get pictures of all these stories to prove them – they’re really true! Other sentences on stage. She doesn’t need to be visible when she’s talking. She doesn’t have to be an image, she could be anywhere. Bird walk. Shine brightly. Domestic corner. Ponderosa. Sauna. Sense of appearance. Silhouette. Il est un diseur, elle calembourgeotte / Il parle, elle parlotte / Il joue à la bourse, elle boursicotte / Il cuisine, mais elle popotte / Il siffle comme un merle, mais elle sifflotte / Il tousse, elle toussotte / Il bouquine, elle bouquinotte / Il vit, elle vivotte (Louise Bourgeois) Music that is slightly off. This jazz really gives you a headache! Blondie. David Bowie. Carolee Schneemann. Gloria Steinem. Chantal Akerman. Linda Blair. Riot Grrrl. Abigail Child. Bang! Wonder Woman knocked out Mary Stuart. Whispering voices. Unplugged. Almost. Rewinding the tape. Expanding the hunting ground. Magic show. What does a dreamspace look like, when you are no longer bound by memories? The room of your own making. Take all the anger out of the room. Take all the sorrow our of the room. Take all the shadows out of the room. Open the window. Let everything in the room breathe in the ocean wind. (Yoko Ono) Transformation. Flicker. Loose ends. Reintegration. Communication. Coaching. Passing on her legacy. She is not a character, but an agent. This dance is looking for a community. Every day brings change / And the world puts on a new face / Certain things rearrange / And this whole world seems like a new place / What’s this whole world coming to? / Things just aren’t the same / Anytime the hunter gets captured by the game. (Smokey Robinson) Improvising on stage is part of her history – it feels good. Redirecting the urge to destroy things. The waiting, the chase, the desire, the sacrifice, the understanding. Draping. Fragments. Sliding trees. Keeping the space between the images alive. Little disturbances. The studio is also a fiction. Too much authenticity. Grotesque. Disappearance. We’re in the collage of the collage of the collage. Wandering. Becoming a piece of paper. Atmospheres. Orange. Pause. Flashes of light.