4th Nov · Dawn Hawkins

A weekend of dance in partnership with DanceLive.

Phosphorescence Reflections

By Lucy Cash & Luke Pell

Over the last eighteen months we have been thinking about touch, and what it is to touch and be touched in the current version of the world we find ourselves in. We have been curious about the ways in which imagination, care and attention are intertwined and how the adaptations we find ourselves making can be an impetus for ways of being that resource and sustain us and shift away from practices of self-extraction and exhaustion.

The spark of Phosphorescence began when we took part in the Barn’s artist development programme – Becoming Earthly.

Becoming Earthly unfolded across the summer of 2020 and was a chance for all kinds of artists interested in ecology, social justice and embodied thought to come together and exchange online in five curated sessions. During the programme we delved deep and came up with as many new questions as answers. These spilled into a participatory project exploring acts of turning out and tuning in with a very wonderful group of Barn volunteers.

Turning Out, Tuning In invited participants to reflect on roles of caregiving and attention and to contribute to poetic and choreographic score-ing. The project began in March 2021 with online sessions followed by an in-person event in June 2021. The project will finally draw to a close in early 2022.

For us, choreography expands itself and migrates across forms due to its unique processes of working with structure, form, and a sense of embodiment. Because choreography’s materiality involves time, space, and energy we find that it helps us process experiences of interaction, pattern, scale and rhythm wherever we find them. Sometimes we enjoy separating choreographic thinking from dancing to feel what other ways of perceiving it makes possible.

We have been practicing being with the unknown and what we don’t (yet) understand and remembering to giggle all the while. We have held close Maya Angelou’s quote, “everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances” because for dancers and non-dancers alike experiencing dance and movement offers joy and sustenance and a call to reconnect with all the different layers of our selves. Unsurprisingly then, some of the events that take place over the weekend invite us to slow down and recollect what it is that ignites our inner spark of energy, the generative glow that gives us hope in the dark. Other events invite us to take on different ways of perceiving and feeling.

Experiments have shown that it’s not just fireflies, fish, jellyfish, and mushrooms that can shimmer, flash or glow in the dark, but also humans. Anthropocene glow is too faint to be perceived with the naked eye but it’s there all the same, perhaps reflecting the fact that inside everybody, fragments of stardust remain.

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Image credit: Jassy Earl

We’re extraordinarily grateful to all the artists taking part in Phosphorescence. To Mhairi Allan who begins our residency week by digging into research interrupted by the pandemic to re-imagine a new performance that explores loss, repair and states of transition. Images and reflections from Mhairi’s residency will be available online later in October. To our other residency artists - dancer and maker, Molly Danter and visual artist, Caroline Dear - who are exploring scores derived from patterning and structures of moss. To Jeni Reid, environmental artist and photographer, who heads up our Friday night to explore acts of looking - Between Movement and Photography - in conversation with professor in arts and public life, Anne Douglas. To Sofia Kondylia for a chance to join her in dreaming awake whilst she performs Asleep.To Ieva Grigelionyte for translating the ineffable and offering us a chance to explore a sense of place through ice cream created in response to the Barn and its environs. To Lucy Suggate for creating a special multi-channel iteration of her performance work titled A Pair of Resting... exploring connections between human and more-than-human. To Virginia Heath for joining us in a conversation hosted by artist and educator, Johanna Linsley, after a screening of her luminescent feature documentary, From Scotland with Love. To essayist and novelist, Elizabeth Reeder, and visual artist and writer, Amanda Thomson, for sharing their collaborative project Microbursts with us and for exploring Care and Attention Across Forms. And to the complete corroboree of artists who are joining us for our final closing event What Dance Makes Matter.

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Image credit: Jassy Earl

Since we are unable to be present for Phosphorescence we have included some work from us both that speaks to ways of encountering the world around us. Ten thousand miles away, Lucy will attempt to glimpse the festival whilst asleep in a different time zone and Luke will hold everyone in his thoughts while recuperating in Edinburgh.

We extend huge thanks and gratitude to all the artists who said yes to our invitation and to the staff at the Barn for their creativity, generosity and openminded experimentation. We’ve felt so buoyed by the spirit of collaboration, understanding, openness and ingenuity that we’ve encountered whilst creating this programme, particularly in relation to the challenges caused by our own displacements and ill health over the past few months. The willingness to find ways to move forward together even when we’re still apart is remarkable. Thank you to Simone Stewart, Stephanie Fradette, Sarah Benzie Cath du Preez, Dawn Hawkins, Kev Yule, Debbie Bovaird and Nina Stanger. Thank you to all the Barn’s volunteers – those we haven’t met, as well as those we have.

Every event over the weekend will be staged in accordance with Scottish Government guidelines and with audience and artist safety in mind. We have created day tickets with the hope that you might come for a particular event and then linger to experience others. We hope that however you engage with Phosphorescence it might leave you with a glow that remains.