sidestep 2. may 28, 2011
natasha davis’ suspended. a train ride and suitcases of performativity.
Parallel to what I was doing with Fierce, I also somehow got involved with two live-art related interactions. One was helping out performance artist Natasha Davis to mount her site2specific work, Suspended in Brighton; and the other one was to do a body2mediated performative response to an installation by Coventry2based artist Paige Perkins. Both endeavors resulted from serendipitous encounters with Davis and Coventry curator Dan Pryde Jarman as I was voluntarily spending time and collaborating with my two colleagues and friends Maria Neicu and Caroline Rodrigues.
With a precarious attitude and a keen sense of adventure, I agreed to Natasha to interact with her and help her out with her performance about body, identity and migration. Once again, I experienced the challenge of time and site specificity with Davis as she tried to mount a work that she has customarily done before in a black box, this time, in a private home. It was part of the Brighton Open House Artists’ Festival were residential houses in Brighton turned into galleries /performance spaces. Assisting Natasha made me aware of the contingencies of live performance, its immediacy and the need to actively engage with the space. It was a raw but real repertory (contrary to archival) gathering of kinesthetic knowledge on devising a performance. What was remarkable was that it was the first meeting between me and Natasha, and the lack of time made her trust me right there and then. She needed an extra hand and and an extra mind, so she immediately removed whatever walls might have been present between us. The performance turned out to be a very
intimate evening, with Davis ritualistically performing episodes of disclosure about her past, and her grappling for identity and home. We barely had time to socialize with the audience after the performance, as we had to pack in order to catch the last train that goes back to London the same evening. So, in a few minutes, we hurriedly gathered all the props Natasha used. With three large suitcases and backpacks and other hand held props, Natasha, her partner Rob and I, headed to London. For me, Natasha’s performance extended there, in the train, as she sat down, visibly tired, her suitcases containing her performance / life before her. She could have chosen to stay in Brighton for the night, but somehow, she preferred to go home.