I find blogging to be one of the most difficult aspects of my project, I am therefore in admiration of those that blog about a whole mess of things when and as they feel they should. I am very grateful to have been included in the following lovely people’s blogs.
On 177 I travel home on day 178 I travel to visit a mum and her 4 and 1/2 year old daughter who have offered to hold my hand. Both days speak of connection.
Holding hands with a 4 and 1/2 year old brings to the forefront the idea of duration and what it can mean to attach yourself to someone for 30 minutes. In many ways for someone so young I think the action can be one which disconnects them from their world and from discovering it. It’s an act of control which doesn’t offer them the freedom or level of exploration they would normally have and so it is in no way as exciting as it is for someone older. Perhaps it is also about the intellectual approach that takes place in my daily practice, for my 4 and 1/2 year old friend holding hands is an unquestioned act. She tells me she holds her friend’s hand all the time simply because she likes them.
So what makes it different for me. Is it the excitement of disconnecting myself from the norm and playing with an action that has specific categories in my culture?Do i enjoy breaking the rules? Is it that I find it connects me more to my life – Day 177 being the 3 rd time I’ve held hands with my mum this year something that before now I hadn’t done for years.
My 4 and 1/2 year old friend didn’t quite manage 30 minutes hand holding but we did play together for that length of time and a little longer now again she would return to hold my hand. For the full-time we played, she attended to me, introduced me to her world. I became her friend Martha in some flats she had built, was introduced to Blythe the bear and instructed on how to choose her an outfit, in many ways I felt held by her generosity.
Her mum did manage to hold my hand for 30 minutes even as duty called. I’m privileged to bear witness to these moments and become part of them. I’m still fascinated that people ask to hold my hand and remain curious to the discussion. Perhaps the action is a little like my own daily play time.
Day 179 solidifies my actions celebration of Kinship. The roots of this action lie in the people I love the most it often offers up the most complicated and complex moments of my discoveries. a fitting fact for those I consider to be my kin.
Something about my experience on Sunday started me reflecting on levels of honesty. Very often I’m asked about my experiences and if there have been any bad ones. Honestly none of my holding hands experiences have been bad but they all have varying degrees of (dis)comfort, frustration and subtle adjustments to them. My hand holders energy on Sunday led me to say out loud reflections and feelings I have had which I have thought about but have never quite been ready to vocalise. Without knowing she offered more than she is probably aware of. I hope I offered her something in return.
I seem to have fallen into a pattern without realising. so far every month with the exception of January there is one day in which holding hands completely slips my mind. On a few occasions this has been due to the familiarity of the person I am with and that we become so comfortable and contact in each other company we forget about the action. On a few other occasions it comes out of being in an environment were I am working all day and you get into to a place were you are focused only on the task in hand. you do not deviate from this plan and suddenly you don’t take time to stop. Stopping isn’t an option or at least the pace you have set yourself makes it feel like this is the case.
Do I just need to plan ahead more? Should I be attempting to schedule everyday possible to know who I will hold hands with that day. What about spontaneity? is it important? How do you prioritise something without it control you or dictating the spectrum of choice?
On Day 158 I was asked if I would give a talk the following week at an evening of Dangerous theatre. The talk was based on the performance I have recently created. I used some text from the performance and took the opportunity to ask this room full of strangers to hold hands with each other. The talk was titled Palm to Palm – Embracing the danger of social discomfort.
Here is a little quote from the talk:
Social discomfort which perhaps some of you are experiencing this evening is a powerful tool which I believe when applied through the correct frame and context can offer transformative moments in all manner of communities and learning environments.
Social discomfort is something I have become fascinated with whether it be my own personal discomfort or that of the people I invite to take part in my challenge. It is perhaps a natural progression of audience participation in the tool box of the social engaged artist, to move the art form further from the passivity of a theatre to place the action and responsibility of the work with those that have come to watch it.
I hope to seek new environments and ways to engage people in the group happening of my daily practice.
Here is catch up of my hand holding with a few extras from the talk.
An evening of dangerous theatre
Philippa and Claire Evening of Dangerous Theatre
More brave participants at the evening of dangerous theatre
A celebration of the moon and her energy.