Audiovisual Cultures episode 85 – Performance and Diaspora with Shea Donovan automated transcript

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this is audio visual cultures the podcast that explores different areas of the arts and culture of production with me Paula Blair visit Petri on dot com forward slash AP cultures to find out more and to join the policy I am really pleased to welcome shade Donovan he parks transatlantic trade as an interdisciplinary performing artist educator and artistic director of the indigo arts collective the very warm welcome TJ hi are you today hi Paula thank you so much for having me and I'm doing well I had a day of creating and some collaborating already so off to a good start since I'm sick hopefully we'll get into quite a lot of fear practice when it comes to collaboration and all areas of Europe because she have a lot of strings to your bow so there's a lot for us to catch three today could I ask you to give us a better sense of life line of your practices and a bit of an idea of all the different areas your work touches on absolutely so like a lot of practitioners I think I started off as a performer growing up I was dancing professionally in a really young age and then ever to is that right got into singing and acting and studied at university who went to LA into the actor thing for a while and worked as a cracker for there and time that I came to England to do my MFA in acting and east fifteen acting school and as I was leaving I was like okay well I have all of this training to be an actor now but what I need is the work but obviously I already lived my early and mid twenties in LA doing the whole addition saying that ran that momentum and the energy is great but also entering my you know late twenties and and sort of leaving that young performer space I was really really excited to start developing my own practice and so that's what I did when I left drama school I was like okay great when I start my own company invented my own work and see where that goes and fortunately for me it's been going well and I really been enjoying that journey and but so you know speaking of my background Hey do you have a lot of interdisciplinary spirit in the work that ideal it's a lot of the body work a lot of work having to do with dance and movement and sort of the blending of dance with film as well and projections okay the work is sometimes text to stage right I've written and staged plays more often the not it's collaborative I work with groups of people I ran workshops with them do generate material right so we devised in group settings or it's very %HESITATION installation based so the last physical project I did I was in a real place right now but %HESITATION I guess it was during coal bed but we did it safely was installation performance art gallery so I have a lot of curiosity is I think the heart of my practice is very much an inquiry we'll find something that I have a burning question about and then usually that has to do with issues of female identifying characters right social justice looking at communities that tends to be the teams that I got really passionate about that song generating free on one of those teams and then see where it goes and so it could be a play could be a dance piece it could be a fellow can be an installation lights while that's a lot said get started with I was going to ask you about the sorts of things and she sat here south flat work got into the server was very interested to hear more updates as you say the women identifying female identifying areas and what kinds of concerns that we re is we've got some really brilliant videos on your website there's a really fantastic demonstration of the really white breasts of work that you see but you seem to get ready take bend to specific issues as well so you've got quite a range but I could tell from your website that there may be particular things and it might be something really currents like the murder of fly Remicade here somebody like facts or reading huge as she sent a fax to selected by rights and equality and things which I like to maybe talk to Siri some specific examples maybe if you have something that you feel like work to reading reading pile just to help flash site first yeah so to speak to the example that you just mentioned I did complete a piece I guess in December of last year so we have an audience then it was sort of an auto ethnographic exploration of identity right which was prompted by an assignments that I was given as the second masters actually last year in contemporary performance practices and so the prompt was to create you know an automatic before its exploration and I grew up third generation Irish in New York to a very transatlantic Irish American family right so we have a lot of family in Ireland that we went to visit a lot and that was very much part of my growing up and serving the differences I felt personally and culturally between them I didn't care because it's kind of like Irish American nine people with Irish she sounding names that maybe originally came from Ireland centuries ago and then like the contemporary sort of Irish diaspora in New York and where those intersect and blend and other similar color difference out there elements of that that I explore in that piece through the use of bringing in some Irish language and tying in sort of the contemporary discussions around what's going on in the north of Ireland and the sort of attachments I was looking I guess at three different facets of my own identity one of them was Irish cultural identity in the diaspora space and that was something particularly I was a growing up with that culture friend of mine in the states but then moving to England and experiencing it then in a different way product even more front of mind than usual and so I played with that by bringing in elements of Irish language in questions of what parts of identity we sort of hang on to you they have these maybe sort of romanticized folkloric elements and and what parts are useful in creating identity today but then also the difference between things being very far in the past and things being part I have sometimes with instructor asked for identity exploration there's this desire to either bring things that were quite far in the past and resolved really friend of mine and focus on them in a way that might not be productive but then also the flip side of that taking difficult obstacles that actually not only were recent history but had implications on current history and saying well that was a long time ago we're not going to discuss that so I play a lot with that in the peace and I create a soundscape for the work a lot of which is some spoken word poetry that I wrote for the peace and a lot of that speaks to that that sort of juxtaposition between what belongs in the past what is the pay asked how is it relevant how do we look at it and then incorporated that whole narrative with this American female commercialized beauty standard pressure and also I thought was something I wanted to explore and the fact that our now ex president fortunately I feel apologize upon him to political but at that time our president to add a lot to say about women and their bodies and how they should look and what's appropriate in terms of how to engage with women right very much outspokenly sharing funny you know asides assaults that he thought were you know fun little tidbits all that sort of nonsense made for a wealth of sound bites that I could pull from that I also incorporate in the soundscapes are juxtaposed some of the things that he had to say about women within my own self who is performing in the peace physical Ising this struggle I was surrounded by mirrors of all different sizes all over the space constantly putting on and taking off makeup putting on and taking off clothes yeah that's sort of one example right there was an element at the end of the work right invited people up from the audience and I gave them each I'm here to hold and I manipulated their bodies with my body to sort of ask the audience to come into this world that I've created and explore for themselves what it feels like to be on display and sort of at the whim of other people's implants so yeah that's one recent example and my sort of last project I was able to do with physical people and with touch and not participate or any element signs ready partial certainly I think with theater we have this invisible division okay here they're performing and I just sit here in the dark and I don't get involved you know in the audience and separate cuts he deliberately destruct that's I think that's what I find really fascinating about its experimental forms of performance art in areas of visual art where there's a deliberate destruction see that passivity and enforcing of a performance on the spectator I find that she shared interests and how did people respond to that when you got them to be active and monkeys you know I think we get vantage was that I had an audience of a lot of artists and theatre practitioners and people that were game for that sort of interaction obviously when you're doing it in a more public forum with a little bit more of an anonymous audience there may be some levels of percussion there you know heads up you want to give them things like that but I found some of the feedback I received was that it was actually a really powerful I'm sort of connecting experience because the piece did build for quite a while right with the audience just watching the interaction really didn't come into the end and there wasn't necessarily a suggestion that they would be invited to participate so it did sort of comes a little bit of a surprise but it tied in with the invitation that I was offering with the work for the audience to sort of think about these themes in their own life and how they might apply to their own personal identity but I'm bringing them up and giving them the mir you know some of them shared that it was really nice to be able to connect what they've been thinking about watching the peace to then what was physically happening with them in the space so yeah nice overall way to connect the teal I think if I were to do the peace again I'd be interested to see if there are moments I could explore earlier in the work to begin that invitation a little bit earlier hopefully you will get the opportunity do you think there's any way of saying that kind of thing online or as other creative challenges that's the sort of thing you're having to work Sir at the moment is hi can you say something participate hurry and an online space even just performing in an online space told must be really challenging at the moment yeah I mean I think it is and I think part of my philosophy a little bit here has been to kind of resist adapting existing work to the digital space which I see a lot of people do beautifully and I think there's a need for that and that's a great way to exercise practice that that's your you know what you're feeling called to do but I think for me what I've been enjoys creating work specifically within these restrictions like being very intentional about embrace those restrictions and those obstacles and maybe mine them for a different way of making work rather than trying to adapt my normal practice within the constraints of the digital space I've been enjoying creating collaborating in new ways just in fun well that's great to hear that's really positive so have you find it a really positive experience adapting your approach that way yeah I think what I found so early on in lock down in the spring you might remember there was all this conversation right about Howell Shakespeare wrote some of his best work in the plague and all this is to me Shakespeare became circulating around is this icon for how we should all be generating work in lockdown and my training as a classical actor and I loved me some Shakespeare and he started thinking what can we do that's not bad right it's not locking ourselves in in writing our greatest masterpiece but how can I use this exciting momentum of Shakespearean creation right now to create an interesting so obviously the man right a hundred fifty four sonnets we think I'm sure there are lots of scholars who would love to get into with me about that you know we accept you know generally that he whoever recalling Shakespeare created these a hundred fifty for work and I was like well that is a lot of people that I can get involved in something so I decided I was going to create this virtual gallery a hundred and fifty four performance pieces I sort of just reached out to my network so they ended up getting a hundred but for people from all over the world a handful of them I knew personally some of them I knew through sort of networks are friends of friends are we run set together once or something and then most of them just sort of expand out from that so I ended up assembling this beautiful international ensemble and to keep the peace sort of consistent I created a little workshop activity to sort of approach the task and I gave that to all the participants to sort of kick start that process and then give me a few specific restrictions but mostly it was up to them to take this workshop and to generate whatever came from itself some people did traditional delivery of the tax rate but most people really take into their own hands I had original music compositions coming in animations stop motion choreography group works happening in digital ways that were then recorded and sent in Sam it was really incredible and it was at a time when we were really starting to just settle in this is in March April really started to settle into like what we were doing in the world that people were losing contracts and it was all still very fresh and confusing I think for me personally and for a lot of the participants in the feedback I received was that it was really grounding that we were all all a hundred and fifty four of us plus some right to send a few people did group works we were all kind of in this together and I continue to collaborate with some of those participants in different ways on other projects since then but that to me was really miraculous and emphasize the power of the flexing our technology anyway so you know it was a late night sleepless idea that fortunately snowballed into something that has now sort of I think really reshaped my practice in a really positive way since obscenity wonderful let's install second great that it's hot the lag say generate closer collaborations for years while little wonderful thing to have it isn't put together so workplace can people find that it's not something that we can stumble upon on the internet somewhere yeah absolutely so it's linked to my website but it's also on the email itself is a showcase on video now and it'll be there until March of twenty twenty one so it'll it'll be there and showcase form for the full year and then after that all the individual videos will remain available there dot com slash showcase slash summer response series this is what we're talking about collaboration which I'd like to talk is a bit three the end to go arts collective is that an extension of four easy to projects that you've been doing and they attach to box or is that something that you a separate Titus and to go to work yeah so essentially I am it's just sort of the umbrella under which I create my work at this point right and then I sort of set up like a production company when I launched my first show which was a one woman show when I left drama school because I wanted someplace to then put the proceeds which at the time I was like hopefully I get some proceeds right once I was sitting up and shown to be able to take whatever I mean put it somewhere that was set aside just for work and continue to produce out of that so it started off as just me but the assets of all from project to project depending on what my needs are all take on other artists students support the project and then they with me become part of the collective rights on the side of response series I had to really great women helping me out with marketing and was sort of rounding up and communicating with some of the participants and things like that and then they came under the umbrella of the collective while they're working together and then now if I need support like that for a future project they'll be some of the first people go to and say Hey do you wanna come back on board and help me with that but it really is just me ultimately having a space where I can create under sort of a United front and just to sort of continue to build my practice with this body of work and tastic I mean how do you go about finding collaborators and you mentioned earlier that sometimes people are already in your network or is it you've worked with them before and so much I think I have your they can for some some specific can mean hi T. cast that net heights to find people it's interesting right because typically but back when I was making work mostly choreography and small projects like that in Los Angeles I would just put out on casting websites right like I would post on backstage or you know sort of the U. K. equivalent of Mandiant spotlight right things like that but for the last year really during this whole block I'm curious I found so much response on social media I haven't needed to use any casting sites %HESITATION which really I think speaks to the power of that as a tool right it has its downfalls as well right into consumes a lot of our time and can be sometimes distracted but I think also super helpful so you know attach that I'm looking for artists in the post and other people that I've worked with other companies I work with a loss and then share that and I end up getting all of these great submissions and I really don't have to do much more than that I think also to the advantage of having gone to a drama school at U. fifteen with a lot of alumni that are working and really active that's been great about snow all ten of the fifteen people from different years and different cohorts in different you know areas of study that I never would have known otherwise so that's been wonderful I even connected with a few people accidentally who ended up going to the same undergrad university is me two lane university in New Orleans and we found that out in common as we were already working together on a project so it is I think it's a small world but having the advantage of having a New York network and L. A. network and then when you're in London I do get quite a lot of friends of friends of people of people of you know that extended performer world really is quite large I was gonna ask you bite your transatlantic connections and how you work because obviously it's the before times so we're thinking of that must have been a bank and packs in the in a massive change for you because it's normally you're working between the UK and the United States sayings recently have had a bit of a hotel not a mountain are you managing to keep some saying virtual going there yeah it's interesting because I've been in the U. K. over three years now but I realize this last year I go back and forth a lot right so I've never actually banned it just here in London you know whole full year I'm usually back in the states between three and six months out of the year depending on what what I'm working on so yeah it's been strange it's definitely the longest I've gone without travel a long time summer of twenty nineteen night toward a show to New York LA and London and I was supposed to be taking it to Edinburgh this project now bumps at December twenty twenty two it also had to reschedule things like my wedding and they're important life events but yeah it's been challenging but I think what's great is that although obviously there's times I was to negotiate I still have been able to do some collaborative work particularly with some artists in Los Angeles I recently completed a project called choreography can find it she collected six dance artists %HESITATION after movers from sort of all over but mostly I had a handful of them in Europe and then two of them in Los Angeles and we did these virtual movement workshops over the course of the week that we did together on zoom and that were all about mining the space for choreography which sounds maybe a little bit abstract right there was one day where we looked at lines and textures rates like the texture of your carpet or your couch like how do you transition that into movement right if you had to make a piece of furniture in your space your dance partner how can we create partnered movement with that objects that it feels participatory and then what if we take that movement okay be there in a place something totally different so you know he's really fun to play and they generated really beautiful work but I am yes some of those artists are based in California so we're you know he does mean sometimes weird hours for people doing the best to keep that up because I think it's important for me personally to just logistically to stay connected to my my U. S. collaborators as well it sounds like a healthy way of working as well if you can build and play time as you say with your work so you're working but it's fun and it's playtime and is probably very different from the typical working from home experience do you think that something that people Hey maybe Hausa inverted commas normal job he can only get office job rich Intel laptop all the time do you think that something that you know eating curries incorporating into your day is an exercise like that I mean it's not because I know you have an educational I'm spent so what he did as well I mean is that something you grades maybe China courage people today is think about those things I mean you turning your domestic space and she announced JD %HESITATION and just totally re framing Heidi thank and maze in space yeah I mean I think absolutely there's something to be said about getting to know your space in a new way and finding the possibility and the fun in that I mean even if it's something as simple as rearranging where you put your desk time to time like when the seasons change can you move your desk so you're maximizing your natural light breaking you change your view are you seeing different things at a different window slightly just minutes just to diversify your confined experience right one of the activities we did in our workshop process was to find a place in your space that you've never really looked very closely at such a really zoom in on it for me the example I gave was like that small space between the arm of your sofa and the wall right that like little gap like what's what's going on in there like what is it what does it look like what angle do there what's the light like what doesn't make me think of right and it is a little bit abstract right but it was really interesting and what sort of movement and creative impulse could come out of that really simple almost stupid thing of just really intimately engaging with corners of your apartment was really off the funds I think there is definitely a space to think about you know if you're someone that's open your laptop what can you do to get to know your home environment in a way that feels fresh that's great stuff it's really interesting way of thinking about things and it makes it fun because things are just so happy at the moment and then I think we need reminders set we should try and play and have more fun at times today to try and left things a little bit I was wondering as well if you're not working because you've done some voice over acting before in the past I was wondering it's not something that's quite viable for you at the moment is that something you've been doing lately hi just out park free yeah absolutely you know it's funny you should I just finished recording a radio play okay recently actually become a resident artist you know radio play company and was started by he's fifteen alumni and lovely talented man name Shaun Dale he's great the company is called borderless theater company in this particular project of theirs it's called radio plays and they're taking new work that hasn't been produced wrestling then produced a small scale and then they have this company of voice artists and they're recording this place they have a director that guides the work and then we release them sort of in podcast format so I have been doing that and then actually just schedule those just cast in another project and there is a great start recording soon so yeah it's definitely a really great way to be able to do some work right now for sure that's great to hear how did you get in safely Saxon and providing voice overs causing you some some documentary type park as well hi did you fall in salon the first place really just from I mean obviously it's always when it's on your mind right is something you can do as an actor right have that scale but when I was eight fifteen we had a unit specifically on voice acting and we had this wonderful professor command to just work with us on that in small groups and really got a lot of sort of personal coaching we got to go in you know a professional studio set up and really tested out play around and I found it really exciting and it hadn't occurred to me prior to that that I would get that scene buzz from it as I did performing onstage I always sort of relegated to this like we could do that if I may but I don't know if it's for me right beginning to flex in a real way with some of those give me life feedback I was like actually this is really fun and exciting so from U. sixteen that I just started sending out some demos here and there and trying to build up a little bit of work it's certainly something that I'm still you know I'm feeling fresh in and I'm wanting to continue to develop it's fun to you because you got to be I mean I say most of the work that I've done has just been my traditional voice started with a slight accent every once in awhile here and there but I find them people that do animation and you can put all these ridiculously other to you sounds and there's this anonymity that you don't have what you're the body onstage sort of freeing and in a fun way to because it's no longer about what you're looking like or who you are even in this way is when you're on stage performing you have a little different kind of freedom that I think it's fun to play and for sure I'm a great lover of animation and voice actors and stuff yeah I just really admire and I'd just imagine it must be so much fun because you're not self conscious by what you like I can be as silly as you need to fade together performance I you know so it's really ready because they're based on experiences making network we touched on this earlier but you mentioned that he writes as well so I mean you're doing a huge amount of stuff is there any part of your writing that you you want to go three of and a bit more detail and she said your poetry and perform spoken wires and spark an arms race what was it that drove you to write your own place and not just asked in somebody else's did you have a burning desire to have stories to tell that sort of thing Jack great question when I was a teenager and stuff I was really really into poetry and I did you know local and state poetry competitions and it was like something I was really had a lot of momentum with and then the acting in the dance took over and I stopped really writing for anyone other than myself up until very recently so it's something in the last three or four years that I've kind of just brought back into part of my creative identity but I really been enjoying doing that and it really started with writing that one person show when I was leaving drama school because I was like okay well I need work I'm graduating I was based here in the U. K. right with an American accent and I was going to be back in the states are part of the summer and I wasn't in a position to be auditioning for summer stock or anything that was going to need to be in the same place for a while because I had quite a few months ahead of me of bouncing around and part of our dissertation is fifteen was to write a short ten minute solo piece so I had the base of the work already and you know it existed and I really enjoyed what I came up with that I I wanted to give it more life and I think transcribing story to tell right part of what I think is important as an artist is to tell stories of people who maybe weren't able to tell their own stories at the time or similar me to guide current people and communities into a safe way of telling their own stories that might otherwise be difficult to tell so looking at this sort of other side's perspective and bringing that to light I think it's very important and the piece that I wrote was about a woman %HESITATION in the nineteen twenties who had been sort of wrongfully put into an asylum for having a child out of wedlock and and that sort of narrative is really a tale as old as time and initially I had developed a piece based on sort of the ongoing news about the mother and baby homes in Ireland specifically starting with two of them right back in the mid two thousands and for people that aren't aware I encourage you to maybe pop that into Google and you'll just be overwhelmed with the amount of incredible resources and news articles and things that you can find about this ongoing developing story of this system of institutions that went on for me up until the nineteen seventies in Ireland and it's a whole fascinating thing yeah I did my and my second master's dissertation sort of all about that but anyway that was the impetus in my brain the play ended up shifting and it took place in the U. K. it was based on a collection of different women who were real %HESITATION but I sort of research quite a few women stories and then pick the pieces for all of them to create this one fictional woman who appears in the play but it was because I wanted to explore this idea of institutionalized women women and shame right and this challenging Gino somewhat gender specific relationship between women and their bodies and what their bodies do and how that impacts their worth they are right so that writing to me very much came naturally out of this desire to tell the stories of these real women who at the time many of whom right ended up only getting out of these institutions as elderly women when they were finally being closed down only for people to discover that there wasn't anything wrong with them that would have merited the meeting some sort of special care that was that work and I think all of my writing comes from a place of really needing to get out someone else's story or a collection of people's stories I think that Santorini enough anyway if coming back full circle in a way because thanks so much of that is so important to see and hear and tracks and Irish diaspora X. stories as well you I'm from Northern Ireland and there's been so much theatrical work in the past twenty years since the agreement and so on and they said there's official pace where there's not really much fun things thrown at arts and culture but it's in those little spaces where those stories of trauma and collective trauma but from so many different angles are beginning to come straight a lot of that and that similar ways to what you're describing is some new projects that bring people from all different backgrounds together and I community theater projects and and their stories and then I suppose in a way it's out of west across I could see you were saying earlier it's based on their tree stories but their identities are anonymized but it's a really specific experience you know so it's really wonderful that you're engaging in that kind of work as well and these are stories that they probably J. have affective connections with similar things in all parts of the world but that you keep coming back to see these Irish questions and specifically the Irish woman's experience so I'm just thinking it's really lovely that you bring the sayings to lights and see an audience that's been hidden away from society for such a long time thank you and I think to particularly right in the Irish diaspora community in the United States there is this sort of selective curating of cultural understanding right and so a lot of it has to do with old ideas of nationalism and like a condo it it sort of stuck in time a little bit I think for some people what they cling to as sort of a desperate national identity I think what's missing in that conversation in a lot of space is certainly not an academic spaces but I'm kind of a pedestrian you know Irish American space is a connection to contemporary understanding I was Irish and non Irish national identity and also on the flip side of that taking a look at some of the historical parts that are more difficult to explore right like this collaboration of church and state organizations to not only institutionalized women but also to be reluctant to cooperate up until very recently %HESITATION in terms of opening up conversations about that and looking closely in sharing information with us right and then also the fact that there is this need to sort of been look internally as well and why that was able to go on when it did and how to some extent it was even a secret to some people in society at the time right depending on the sort of life you're living and the degree of privilege that you had that might not be something that ever came into your purview but for someone who lives down the road from you that could have shaped their entire life in a really catastrophic way and like you say those teams right a shame and secrecy and cultural sort of looking the other way on things that need advocacy are universal across the globe and when I presented my dissertation work which is called to the point of disappearance that focused specifically on to %HESITATION and sort of historical realities and then the contemporary implications and this is of course before the recent report which just came out and has been released I'm trying to make my way through all what is IT nine thousand pages of it when recreational reading but the piece was presented in September so is prior to the release of that information looking at affirmative it be objects not space to translate a feeling around that so that people that weren't necessarily informed on the specifics of the history could still walk into a space where they get a sense of all of those elements right the shame and the secrecy and that search for justice and I there were giant laundry sheets hanging from the ceiling at one point that we projected a film on to you and then we had seven hundred and ninety six individual baby socks number in a big pile in front of the queue and then myself as a performer in that piece durational mom and I'm just sitting there and sewing them together I didn't get through all seven hundred ninety six but had it been you know re presented I would continue to build from there and there is an element with that shadow puppet theatre where myself and in a non coated world we had to adapt to this but the audience was supposed to be invited to participate in cutting out B. is dolls and hanging them up in this larger than life sort of theater and ended up just being me because he couldn't physically involved them so is this sort of Trinity of object based sensory experiences right there also accompanied by the soundscape to sort of give all of these feelings without there needing to be a direct understanding because there has been a lot of narrative work done around these topics in the last five ten years or so lots of plays and site specific work and things that I think sometimes if people don't know enough about the topic can make people go oh well I don't know anything about that that's not for me but I had a few participants come through that really had absolutely zero prior knowledge she did walk away feeling how I was hoping it would feel so that was a nice way to exercise bringing those topics that are really important to me personally into a space where they can have the value and then personal value for anyone absent yet I imagine that's the physical presence of said sells socks and the sheets that's a massive number hi many people can imagine that many individual items and of course we're talking it bites bodies that those numbers are related to a little tiny probably some things and see find a way of visualizing physical icing that for people and confronting them I said say this is what that looks like that's incredibly powerful and amazing and deeply deeply sad so I imagine it was not necessarily an easy experience but I would say a very important one forest does abstract numbers are hi many finance stocks just lots and I think it's easier to put in a box and forget about it but if you can see it and you can what you know in an ideal world war Oxford walk among staff and top and the experience must be incredibly powerful that's exactly right and I and I was inspired by there's a lot of people protest art that was happening particularly when the pope came and visited I'm forgetting the name out of the group but there is an organization of women that had cut out little strings of paper people holding hands sort of thing they cut out the seven hundred ninety six of those and put them up on the gates and their images of baby shoes that people are bringing the candlelight vigils and seeing them on the ground response to that in objects I thought like you said the step our call and I was like what would happen if we actually I could settle the space with the correct number of these objects so that it is something that you're forced to confront in a real way I'm personally as well it was really challenging said I mean it was at a dark projects develop and certainly you know I was very hands on and I was collecting these objects and touching them and using them and it was certainly I think in some ways I mean for me personally I felt like some way of honoring some of those answers some of that energy in a way that was positive right like even though they're not people that first of all I got to live out their lines but also obviously people that I had direct connections with Mabel to sort of honor their existence by calling attention to it in some way I think it's important you know as well when you're creating to connect to the purpose of what you're doing especially when it is difficult material so you can power yourself through rather than really get too bogged down in in the realities of what you're looking at because it can be challenging when it such difficult material yeah it must be pretty tricky to find a balance between doing justice to the subject matter and keeping yourself mentally while while you're doing something like that and also %HESITATION approaching it and an ethical way ends hi Fardy patient and he's going to react and what way and not sort of saying it's a lot to juggle do you find that you have ways of work injury G. check in with people that sort of thing I mean in terms of them representation and it being ethical and that sort of thing that was a big concern for me going in right because I'm away here that it's not my story right like I didn't have a relative in that space like there are many and this is I think some people don't realize that there are very many living people right whose brothers or sisters those babies apart right whose mothers were in those time they're very much alive in an active many of them and speaking to politicians and organizing and telling their stories right now those resources are accessible so I did spend a lot of time going through people's accounts listening to advocates speaking to politicians hearing sort of what their priorities were and and some of them are different depending on the group right but trying to make sure that what I was doing wasn't advocacy for a cause that wasn't mine to advocate for but more in support of these Sir yeah more in the interest of just bringing awareness to something that current advocates were affected by it are wanting people to bring attention to and I think the challenging thing with this particular topic as well comes a little bit with the role of religion and and so that's really a key factor in the story and something that I certainly represent in the work as somebody that was brought up Catholic I feel I have at least a little bit more space to play in the representation of that because it's coming from my own right in terms of background but taking care to not alienate any audiences with the message that I'm communicating but also true and you know representing my feelings and understanding of how all those different socio political or religious elements sort of shaped that's right but in terms of keeping tabs on myself personally with the work you know it's five chat about it with my mother and my grandmother is that something that you know I have an interest in these things because of their interest as well right when the story of this broke when it did that to thousands that wasn't the first time that I heard about the sort of I was brought up with a little bit of a knowledge around the subject already said we chat about it and my grandmother who's ninety one an absolutely delightful state things you know like well you just are constantly having all of these really cheerful research projects what are you going to do next or how was your day or how can you know so just somebody that knows where you're working you can take you out of that space if that's all you're talking about because there certainly were parts of that process or my mother and my grandmother both would be like this is all you've been mentioned in the last few times I've been on the phone maybe let's take some time to discuss some of what you're doing to bring levity to this you know the stage because it was part of my dissertation as well so not only was a creating a work rehearsing it I was writing about it I was compiling a year's worth of research about it so certainly I think it is important to have someone that knows you know to voice that when that's your process whether it's your partner or your friends your family say Hey this is the amount of time devoting to this kind of work and I'm calling out now that I know I'm gonna need some monitoring here you could call me on it when it's consuming me when you notice that or if you could check in if I send you a message you know being an advocate for yourself in that way and reaching out to your network I think is key yeah that's a really important points yeah definitely because it's a lot to carry other people's trauma you know you can fail at and a post memory sense perhaps as well associations reconnection string a lineage back to the homeland but yeah I think it's a lot because I know certain MIT subbase it was not dissimilar areas that was traumatic relating to the complex and so on so it's a lot to carry so those other people's stories when their horror stories essentially and they're very very meals are all too real and you know you are dating west facing up to I mean you can't not be political affect something exact sincerely house said be prepared to confront their religion and anybody subscribe so that religion is like these people they said they said yeah they talk the lightest upright pro life celerity set with stock it is the work of art T. ask those confronting questions of people just invite them to maybe you should have to think I thought I'm just going to present this and you take it as you find it so yeah that's a really healthy approaches ten I probably should have taken more of what kind of approach myself the number of years ago but it's hard it is because it is like you and it's so important it's real people it's recent history set and it matters right and I think the key here in offering the stories as questions particularly I think particularly when it comes to religion right where that what's supposedly the heart of those institutions it's hard to write the idea is that you're supposed to be aiming for higher ideals than the average person right so even more so I think it's important to pose questions in that direction and for people that really are doing their best to live their lives in that way right I've seen some positive responses to that sort of challenge I think it is important time in Ireland also in the United States and I think globally to really have these conversations now so that we can unpack some of these really difficult incongruence he's right and be able to then voice and say yes this was inconsistent with what we say we want and yes that should not have happened and yes we're going to name all the ways the stakes remain and then be able to put that to rest and then move forward thank you so much and so powerful now I think more than ever and a lot of ways a lot of these issues are ready Prashant even in the United States Lindy because there's been so many hard fought rights have been rolled back over the last number of years they are related I think because if you cut time abortion access for what comes next year gonna start shaming people he have crisis pregnancies and it's just going to snowball where do you draw the line before it ends up becoming something like those long trees in those homes I think in a way it's a reminder that we need to have conversations about these difficult divisive and she's you know we need to be grown ups about that and people have pregnancies people get pregnant for all manner of reasons and all sorts of things happen and so it comes down to eight what do you want from women what you want from bodies that can get pregnant absolutely and it's and it's not like we haven't already lived there and seen the many many detrimental consequences not policing women's bodies and what damage that can do so you know it is interesting particularly in America where it is I think somehow this is that people are constantly Mr Mannering and nation of immigrants right that was taken from an existing group of people founded on the idea that everyone experienced persecution of all different levels from anywhere in the world should be able to come and live with their rights to practice their life as they choose right that's literally the definition of are very new country and yet somehow there's this imposing colonialist Christian European ness on to everyone's bodies and and right and I think what we've observed is that it's only divisive right and it it's not constructive anyway to try and be policing people's bodies but yeah I could I'm sure at you could as well go on and on about this for quite a long time but fortunately and I think Joe Biden is a great example he somebody that is outspoken about being a man of faith right like identifies as being Catholic and also recognizes that his job is to lead a free democratic society said his personal beliefs on abortion for example our birth control whatever they may be don't actually matter at all because that's not his job his job was to govern for a diverse nation of people so looking forward to the separation of fundamentalist ideology from ability to govern I think we're really overdue for some of that yes I know I know it got his work cut out for him really does or guy extra ice cream for gel exciting times this tentative times but exciting times it's really amazing to see work like yours as part of such a huge network of telling these really important stories and I think you know you mentioned earlier I mean being somewhat of an outsider I happen to think that the outsider I mean because in a way if your night cider best affect and the door maybe that's the best kind of approach you know and I I see a lot of value in being able to see things from the art sites and to have that perspective because I know I encountered this a lot when I was doing research by northern Ireland's and you know I mean this from there I was in the playoffs but no where to places to Hanjour sometimes because people do you know where we are and %HESITATION what side of the track she might be from and that sort of stuff but I think whether you're naive or not you can ask the naive stranger and really pack a punch I think I see a lot of volume now I think it's hugely important that you've done this work yeah I think yeah I think to you know when I at some point it could have been sort of interrupted my dissertation I was interested in trying to find some sort of temporary home for the peace in the states because there is all this enthusiasm around Irish American nous but then sometimes a reluctance or ignorance to doing the work of educating so I'd love to be able to sort of share this there and get some eyes on in the states to sort of igniting awareness in some spaces where maybe it needs to be ignited but I think too yeah it's been this interesting last few years of being somewhat other right even just being you know immigrant that sounds silly for me calling myself that but like coming to live in another country even though I come with a lot of privilege and don't really experience a lot of the other things the same way that somebody else might there are certain things that I've experienced and observed and encountered that I'm like oh wow this is giving me such a unique perspective a tiny tiny glimpse into what it must be like for people that are coming from extremely different cultures into totally new cultures you know different languages getting to glimpse at that for Stanton has really been wonderful I think of a gift for me and also being able to look critically this is something hopefully I'll have the opportunity to do a little more research on and explore a little bit with some community generated performance practice in the future I have some work on building towards us down the pipeline but looking comparatively at the our staff spread in the U. K. and in the US particular comparing London and New York and taking a look at where those differences arise and where they come from how it informs the creative and performing live cultural work that's come out of those spaces you know like you say answer straddling all of those little zones I have been in and out which is a nice place to be excellent yeah that's science last name so I'm very conscious step I've taken up quite a lot of your time and you've been so generous about a talking Siri so many of your ideas and direction is there anything that we haven't talked to you to say that you'd really like to mention so that people know about it stay with your work I guess it's just that you know like I said a lot of what we've been doing virtually is workshops that I'll create and then leave but the group of artists to then generate whether it be a Filmer virtual gallery or something like that I was actually just chatting this morning collaborating with someone who runs a dance school was looking to adopt some of my workshops to be used for kids right so if there are any practitioners out there that are interested in creating some somewhat misspoke workshops to run with your theater communities I'm very happy to hear from people who are maybe wanting some support for some guidance or just about some ideas off of in terms of generating something like that and also we are running a little virtual project right now but hopefully we'll have a home as sort of a projection element to the future project later on but something called doorstep dances never to be sharing on our social media starting mid February and it's essentially just a bunch of movers who created really interesting movement work exclusively in their door frames and death we're doing it with a little virtual fundraiser for U. S. nonprofit called dancers responding to aids which is a really all nonprofit who I had the privilege of working with as a young dancer they do incredible work and right now they're raising funds to be able to provide meals for people in the performing arts who have been affected negatively by coding HIV related illnesses that need extra support due to the crisis so we're doing the stress of dance virtual project to raise some funds for them I will be putting that out on our Instagram and social media channels starting in February so if you want to have a little click over and watch some really interesting movement explorations we love for you to check that out too wonderful and he sent them in to goes that that's what's or what %HESITATION what kind should we be looking for for that J. yes that's just acting in the arts collective on Instagram that's fantastic thanks do you have any other socials or your website that you want to point people to words to keep up with those projects shops or Instagram is probably the closest to the polls because we're posting a lot of stuff on there and I website is while it's through my website so just J. Donovan dot org I mean you get to the home page you can click to either look at my stuff for then you can click the indigo arts collective side so you can head over there for more information as well and then on the website is where you can sort of see and hear some exact projects I've shared with you all about today their video clips and sound clips and some press and things like that that's wonderful really fantastic thank you because you've been through the ringer I think what we've had to re create the peppy topics and we've had a lot of joy that's coming through in a lot of your current projects as well so that's really adequate positive notes and done after you went to that dark there so so I really encourage everybody to the Cape flats shade on offense thank you so very much for your time today is really generous of you to talk through everything and send your work just signed so wonderful and important so thank you so much for joining me today thanks hi I really enjoyed it and I have so many wonderful questions about some of what you shared about your research as well so we'll have to connect later for me to hear more about that absolutely SO talk your ear off I thought

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