Re-pair: soft matter
Re-pair is a collaboration between Carl Lavery and Simon Whitehead emerging out of Whitehead’s relational practice soft matter. Working with invited dance artists: Neil Callaghan; Simon Ellis; Jennifer Monson; Amaara Raheem; Saffy Setohy; and Joanna Young this experiment looks to re-think what the somewhat problematic notion of repair might mean for dance artists working within a virological economy.
Ecologically and politically, the idea of repair is fraught with contradiction. It assumes that one can patch up or reassemble a world or set of values that have been harmed or damaged, in some sense or form. But why would one be interested in reviving a condition or resuscitating a situation that may well have produced the harm in the first place? Why not insert a hyphen, and replace a normative notion of repair with a more fluid, productive notion of re-pair, to re-turn with a difference, to find new futures in the past?
An outcome of this ongoing experiment, this event presents original short films capturing digital encounters between six dance artists as they respond - physically, virtually - to a shared starting point, a pair of stitched-together gloves sent through the post. The screening will be followed by discussion and reflection with the participating dance artists and collaborators chaired by Dr Dominic Paterson, Senior Lecturer in History of Art at the University of Glasgow.
So this is what we do:
We send 6 pairs of soft matter gloves to 6 dancers.
We pair the 6 dancers with each other.
We ask each of the dancers to make something with the gloves in the actual world.
We ask the dancers to share this work and respond to their paired other digitally (via zoom).
We make a series of short films.
These stitched-together gloves are scores, little choreographies, minor gestures, attempts to re-pair.
Where does the dance go in all of this?
Where it will; where it can, in the folds of some hyphen, perhaps.
Can this re-pairing of dances allow for new forms of choreographical and corporeal ‘touch’ to catalyse themselves in a world separated by a pandemic? In this respect, the gloves that are sent out are instances of ghostly matter and echoes of the touch of others’ hands.
Hosted by the University of Glasgow’s School of Culture and Creative Arts as part of its Arts of Repair series, in association with The Work Room, Glasgow. The films will be made available on the College of Arts' YouTube channel following the event until June 2021.
Re-pair is conceived and curated by movement artist Simon Whitehead and Professor Carl Lavery.
IMAGE CREDIT: soft matter by Julian McKenny