In the middle of my year at VCA back in 2010, in my youth/self-doubt/feeling like a fraud-questioning my training, my practice and the lack of – and all the things that whirl about in your brains and body as a post-grad, I asked the wonderful Leisa Shelton, “is concept form?” She answered, “Do not give it any more weight than it should carry. It’s as simple as asking yourself ‘where do you want to live?’ or ‘what kind of relationship do you want to have?’”
And here I am – it’s August 2018, eleven weeks since the break up, writing this in candle light in the home I am creating for myself. Nestled in a quiet corner but close to the main streets, with easy access to multiple modes of public transport, bike paths and nature in a suburb I have come to love in the eight and more years living in Australia – I am in a cosy two-bedroom apartment. I know it will be financially tight, but I’ve taken the plunge with this lease – to carve my space in this world. I need to do this. And in my own way, I will manage this.
Quite aptly so, here I am, also embarking on a very ambitious time ahead. I have been commissioned to make a work in Adelaide that will open in December. I am beginning the plotting of a new work with Ling back on the helm with me, and with a new collaborator – it’s a work that would potentially find a life in Singapore which would mean a lot to me to bring something home. And I continue to plot my research questions in my leadership adventures, and find shape in being a stronger facilitator and advocate through my work at Theatre Network Australia.
Dan and I have also continued our weekly practice and I am very thrilled to announce that we have been shortlisted in this next stage of a Creative State Commissions, for a massive project idea that we both dreamed up! (p.s. it is only August!)
Some mornings, I am full of joy at our awesome idea and feel mighty proud of how far we both have come. (And to have finished this application two weeks after the end of my marriage!) Some mornings, I feel so mightily humbled to be in a list amongst other amazing artists I count as my seniors who I look up to! Some mornings, I am simply overwhelmed by the reality of what this next number of weeks is going to look like, and the work it is going to take.
But in every way, I am certain of how my practice has already, and will continue to be challenged and changed.
In every way possible, my world as I know it has already, and will continue to be challenged and changed.
Regardless of the triggers and reasons for a break up, the reality is that someone has decided that the payoff is no longer worth doing the work for. And when you weren’t the one that chose this outcome, it is very easy to equate that with “you are not worth doing the work for.”
And for reasons both known and unknown, both pervasively present and ever-changing in what was my relationship with Ben, the reality is that I hadn’t felt seen for a long time now – far longer than I had realised.
Seen – for all my beauty, my sorrow, my dreams, and my longings. My ambition, my roots, my present, and my future.
But perspective is multi-dimensional. And the blueprints in which form our worldview – sometimes only limits what we see. And if you are unable to rewrite those blueprints, then it would simply confirm what only you can see.
These days, I don’t feel like a fraud and can confidently articulate my practice – I create participatory live art experiences that are about rewriting our blueprints – in our memories through the autobiographical story, in our rituals through the making and sharing of food, in our perspective of time, place and space in the site-responsive encounters…
Perhaps my first ever review for a solo work came in the form of a text message from Ben this time eight years ago before I even knew him at all. He was an audience participant in the photobooth work, and the text message read – “thank you for the wonderful experience, I’ve been looking at the world differently ever since.”
Did I imagine my world would look like this right now those eleven weeks ago? Not at all.
And yet none of these is accidental.
Rigour. Questions. Refining. Expanding. Distilling. Questions again, and again. Rinse and repeat. I’ve entered doors that I’ve worked to get opened for me. And most importantly – I believe I’ve been generous with my time and my friendship, held the doors open, to enable others to come alongside with me, as I have accepted many other a generosity from my elders, peers and community.
But to come along for the ride – one must be able to see each others’ vision, and trust in it; to see my vision and trust in it, as I do yours.
So that by our friendship, in any way possible, allow our practice, and our world, be challenged and changed.
And for our blueprints be shaped so that we may always look for another way to look at this world we live in.
And for now, this is where I know I want to live.