A one year artistic research on crying — January-December 2017
Research Summary Report – excerpts
“[Plunged] into a place for which they had no words for places, for plants, for the animals” how did Cabeza de Vaca choose his steps into the uncharted New World? (Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, 66).
A year ago when this subsidy period began, I was in the planning of an artistic research; in the theorizing; in the directing towards goals – what is my question and methods? How will I link theory and practice? How will I capture results? What are the potential outcomes? While good preparations are valuable, the rational and analytical approach distracted me from the true nature of my research. To cry is to feel. To feel is to listen. To listen is to be in the moment. To be in the moment is to suspend planning, targeting and theorizing. These were the things around research and not Crying itself.
Listen to the sounds of the wilderness, feel the wind, smell the flora…. then follow where your steps take you.
I followed a trajectory that was at times indirect, chaotic, seemingly inefficient or illogical. Without these detours, this route would otherwise lead to a different story (equally valid yet different). The initial rational and analytical preparations, however distracting they may have been, have left me with diverse traces of this story.
How did I Cry? I sought non-occidental understandings of crying, voice, grief, death, and listening by meandering into professional mourning, non-occidental vocal practices, Asian medicine, philosophical viewpoints on death; meeting with artists, health professionals, alternative healers; partaking in vocal workshops, rituals, esoteric health practices; practicing various vocal, breath, mediation practices.
The crossing of these diverse studies blended into a soup that has deeply nourished my artistic vision. It has built me a community whose resources and knowledge I can warmly call upon as I continue my journey.
Now at the end of this grant period, feeling and sensing direct the research. There is no map to follow. Like early explorers, the senses direct the artistic practice. Like the song lines of Australian Aboriginals, the practice surfaces the route through voice, drawings and writings. Embedded within are the motivation, purpose and methods for Crying.
My question is no longer what would a crying practice be? Rather Crying now begs to be placed in a broader context (funeral, hospitals, sanctuaries, therapy, performance, public space, rituals…) It wishes to nourish others and to expand existing practices with its embodied knowledge. Crying is a touchingly joyous act. My artistic vision is to embody individual and collective grief. In the upcoming year I wish to Cry for others.
Crying is a Touchingly Joyous Act
I Want to Cry For Others
Scratches from the Screeching (2)
Scratches from the Screeching (1)
Lung Pairs (or Why I Cry)
Mapping the Research