Tim Wise is an American authority on white racism. Through public lectures and books he educates white audiences to recognise and be responsible for their race-based privileges. We are interested in Wise’s craft in public speaking, his authority on race, and what might happen if we were to imagine that he is an artist. How might this proposition enable us to test the limits of Wise's practice as public speaker and white ambassador? Whose voices count in this debate, and whose faces are acceptable?
Silence is a performance-discussion by Colin, Simon and I that explores the intuitive and counter-intuitive ways in which silence is at play in our duets. In it we use our collaborative writing, thinking and choreographic practices to explore two divergent ideas about silence.
Martin Luther King said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. ... In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." And John Cage wrote that, "Every something is an echo of nothing."
How might these references to King and Cage stimulate thought and conversation about our artistic concerns and the nature of our collaboration? Where and how do our silences occur as collaborators; and what role does it play in our grapplings with friendship, art and difference?
Silence was presented at Lilian Baylis Studio, London, on Thursday 30 October 2014, as part of the University of Roehampton's Of Two Minds Symposium.
Glossary of terms.
Image by Camille Desmarest
Collaboration Violence and Difference (2014)
Collaboration, Violence and Difference is an essay in which we discuss two key aspects of the development and performance of Because We Care, and how they relate to some thinking and writing by Salvoj Žižek.
First, what are the key contradictions of our collaboration in which we seek friction in order for difference to be revealed? We argue that friction is engendered by the impossibility of equality between us; in/equality that itself has been nourished through our conversations and studio practice. This dysfunctional approach to collaboration has involved building a suitably trustworthy container so that we might work with antagonism: to seek personal breaking points – or points of vulnerability – in a distinctly masculine approach to difference and otherness.
Second, we have sought to generate performance conditions in which the imaginations of the audience are touched by failure. The space in which audiences attempt to make sense of and fill the representational complexity created by Because We Care creates an unsettling dissonance of the imagination – an internal dialectic – that short circuits any easy solutions or responses to the performance. Can we talk and write about this without even having those others in the room? In our imaginations, the other – the audience – is not circling around us; it includes them, even in their absence. It is Colin, Simon and I.
The essay is published as a chapter in Žižek and Performance, edited by Broderick Chow and Alex Mangold. It is available from palgrave.com.
Reference: Ellis, Simon, and Colin Poole. 2014. “Collaboration, Violence and Difference.” In Žižek and Performance, edited by Alex Mangold and Broderick Chow, London: Palgrave.
Because We Care
Image by Benedict Johnson
A Separation (2014)
A Separation is a new performance by Colin, Simon and I. It was first presented at Lilian Baylis Studio, London, on Thursday 27 March 2014, as part of Eva Recacha's Wild Card evening. Most recently it was performed as part of the Open House Festival at Dance House Lemesos in Limassol, Cyprus (22 November 2014), and at Festival Hate Neimeenster, Luxembourg (1 September 2016).
Previously we've explored violence, care and the things that draw us together and unite us. In this project we focused on what separation might be in collaboration.
We had a first development of A Separation at Choreodrome at The Place in the summer of 2013. We then continued working on the project at Trinity Laban, Roehampton Dance, and around cafes in London.
Performance and choreography: Colin Poole and Simon Ellis Lighting design: Jackie Shemesh
A Separation has been selected to be a priority work for Aerowaves 2015.
A Separation (2:30 min edit)
Video and edit: Stacie Lee Bennett
Because We Care (2012)
Because We Care is a performance project by Colin, Simon and I. It is about ways of relating: between men, and between audiences and performers. Because We Care premièred at The Place, London on 8 June 2012, and most recently was presented at the Nightingale Theatre in Brighton (UK) on Saturday 25 January 2014.
Performance and choreography: Colin Poole and Simon Ellis Lighting design: Jackie Shemesh Costume: Theo Clinkard Props: Amy Watson Choreographic support: Chris Bannerman, Joanne "Bob" Whalley and Lee Miller
Colin and Simon met at a Choreodrome workshop at The Place in London in 2007. Two years later they worked together to develop an initial version of Colin, Simon & I which they showed at Touch Wood at The Place in 2009. Early in 2011 they began working together again – both in and out of the studio – to generate new ideas for a project that reflected an increased understanding of their collaborative relationship, and their mutual interest in communication, reflection, risk and adventure. Because We Care is the culmination of this process.
Because We Care (3:45min edit)
Video: Tim Halliday Edit: Simon Ellis and Colin Poole
Colin, Simon and I (2009)
In this project we spent six weeks together in a Choreodrome residency at The Place in London. We were interested in two key ideas:
Responsibility: to consider the nature of responsibility whilst viewing performance
What it is that we do to be watched? What is it like to be watched? How do we position ourselves to watch and be watched? How might we present materials/ideas that push the audience’s viewing/sensing experience into the foreground of the project’s form–content? From where and for whom might limits be drawn regarding viewing?
Intimacy: to research the shifting nature of intimacy
How might we present or perform the development of our collaboration (and friendship)? Can we explore and utilize materials that explicitly talk (and dance) to the dialogues that occur between us during rehearsals? How can we consider the delicacy and vulnerability of sharing the choreographic process, and being (or becoming) friends?
In 2011 we published a conversation-article in Choreographic Practices that details some of our experiences in this project.
Citation: Boyce, E., Ellis, S., & Poole, C. My name is Colin, and this is Simon, Choreographic Practices, Volume 1, Number 1, 1 January 2011, pp. 65-78(14)