Final rehearsals before the weekend event, Queensbridge Square, February 27 2014.
Water is like thick air. We can meet it inside us, as it moistens our lips, cools our throat and spreads, like a stain, in our stomach.
Or we can go:
feeling it with our body, feeling it change gravity and the surface of our skin, and our temperature and speed
half held, half rejected – bobbing, floating, sinking a little
or feel it at a distance
considering it, watching it, feeling the sea breeze, remembering
This last way that is the most common. It includes our accumulated experiences of water. We ‘see’ the water with the knowledge that the surface is an illusion. We would sink through it
The little ripples remind us of bigger ripples and waves, of the ocean.
We are familiar with the wonderful impermanence of water bodies – parts of the surface shift this way then that, while other parts do something else, everything adjoining and affecting ever other part.
Even if we don’t want to drink the Yarra, we know it intimately, inside and out: we know what it would feel like speckling our face in tiny droplets, smoothing our lips, cooling the lining of our throat and spilling across the inner surface of our stomach – or we sense a slightly repellent lukewarmth and thickness in the water.
Mapping is a complex process by which we come to understand our place in the world. We sense, we dance, we map, we make…and either re-create or destroy our immediate worlds. The performance arm of TheWaterGroup is conscientious in trying to describe how and why we draw, re-draw, create and/or alter our navigations of the world…
“….but not a drop to drink”
Coleridge, in his Rime of the Ancient Mariner, both expressed the conscience of a man who had done wrong and the worry of our times: how do we rectify a bad choice? What do we do when there is not enough water? What does the human become? What is the future?
Even as we ‘live it up’ for a joyous weekend, are we looking to a future where we thrive, or just survive?
Each performance site has its history.
We can look at maps, clippings, proceedings, and measure the highs and lows of our waterways, but what correlation does this information have to our ways-of-being and -living-in the world?
How do we make decisions about these vast elements in our environment, such as rivers, marshes, deltas and dams?
What difference does it make (or could it make) to think of each element in this dialogue as being of equal value?
Indigenous elders across varying traditions have long argued that ‘everything has breath, life, intelligence, value’ (cf River Junction Curly, The Blessingway).
So, as we carouse along the shores of the Yarra this weekend, what is the nature of our (inter)actions?
So, why bodies and water? (and water, food and wine…)
The body is mostly water, water is distilled into wine..
How does water think? What is the body? In what ways are we response-able to our environment?
Each and every Festival and feast relies on human relations to landscape, and to water. From seed, to seedling, to vine, fruit, harvest and feast, the body (and its actions) are implicated.