Whose responding?

Recently I have been becoming more aware of not only my responses and reactions to certain things in life and to art, but the responses and reactions of others. Last week I attended a gallery opening in Sydney to support the work of visual artist Todd Fuller. It was a new exhibition of a series of work he had collaborated on with visual artist Mylyn Nguyen. Together they had combined and overlapped their works to create something new, mysterious and in my opinion ridiculously cute and whimsical. The exhibition consisted of a series of terracotta bears/characters made by Todd and decorated and dressed by Mylyn in various materials. To me each piece stood frozen in time and I felt that at any moment they could begin to move and come to life in the gallery. Because of this I began to wonder and create a meaning and a story to these characters journey up until now.

However the point of this blog isn’t to review the sculptures. My interest lays in the difference in response and reactions that art can trigger in people and how is this so. We visually see the same thing, but once it passes through the eye and into each individual body, it’s altered, changed, perceived and felt differently in each human being. This thought became prevalent when feedback from one ‘gallery goer’ was that they found the work grotesque and completely ridiculous, finding no possible way to connect, understand or receive anything from the sculptures. This instantly intrigued me and made me wonder where this person was coming from. Why did they have this response? Why was it so different to mine? How can one person’s response to art be drastically different to another? I know this isn’t such a huge thought provoking concept to be thinking about, this is art right? Of course we all respond to it differently, I realise this and I know that this is why it’s here, to allow people freedom of expression and to respond and react in their own ways. However it just got me thinking…..

It has made me more aware of how I am responding to art and situations and that everything connects and influences the next. As we live moment by moment, minute to minute it becomes difficult to allow our past experience to drift away. It becomes difficult to not allow our past experiences, thoughts and situations to affect our future experiences or the experiences that happen next. I believe that when we are exposed to art, whether an unusual gallery exhibition where we don’t really know what to expect, a film in which we haven’t seen the trailer or music from an artist we have never heard sing, responses can be extremely different. In this instant at the gallery this was my finding. I had no idea what to expect. However my day up until this experience was satisfying, I got to dance all day, work with other professional dancers, choreographers and artists on a new work to be performed in Sydney. I worked, I did what it is I am trained and qualified to do, and I felt great. I felt professional and successful on this day. I went to the gallery feeling open, ready for anything, enjoying the fact that I had finished a day of rehearsals and was off to see the opening of another artists work. I felt supported and welcomed as an artist in my day and so was feeling supportive and embracing of other artists. Did this dramatically determine my response and reactions to Todd and Mylyns sculptures? I am not entirely sure and never will know. But it did trigger thought. Why do we respond and react in certain ways to different situations, and can we take a step back before allowing our reactions and responses to impulsively determine how we feel about something. Can we make space, can we drop where we have come from, what we have been previously exposed to, the feelings and emotions from the past, can we let this melt away, soften, in order to see and experience something as it is, in the present moment and time of experience?

If we are allowing one experience to affect the next are we really experiencing things completely..? Is this a new experience..? Or is this a ripple affect of the one that just occurred..? Everything is somewhat interconnected and of course it’s probably almost impossible to let go of our past and previous experiences. They will always affect our responses, reactions and thought processes as they are a part of us. But are they…? Are they a part of us or are they just there..? Of course they happened, but do we have to hold onto them and make them who we are or let them control how we think, breathe and move in life?

When has this happened to you and you have noticed that your previous emotional state or experiences leading up to something have significantly affected your response or reaction’s in another moment.

My challenge is to become more aware. To notice, to allow myself to experience things with new eyes. This idea that our past experience affect’s our reactions, responses and opinions to things is something I believe is of truth.
Because of this is makes me wonder how we are limiting ourselves. What are we missing out on if we continue to live and experience in this way? What else is there to feel and think if we allow ourselves the freedom and space to approach things as if we have had no experiences prior to this one..?

What’s your reponse


Amplifying Life


Life feels amplified!

Since returning to Sydney my experiences feel cranked up, full of energy and atmosphere. Life is loud and full of sound and stimulus. Sometimes overpowering and out of control in which I find it difficult to make sense of it’s rhythm (a ringing in my ears) other times I feel like I am part of the song, singing harmoniously with it listening to and processing all the elements and noise it produces.

I like this idea, this idea of a song, noise and sound to experience movement generation. The journey the voice, sound, noise can take and the physical response in the body from these initiators. Much like daily life, how routines, situations, dynamics and energies from people can map or impact your day.

Since moving back to Sydney I feel a greater awareness and connection to my life. To how I am acting, behaving and choosing to think and respond to certain elements. I feel like things are beginning to manifest. I giving, sharing and taking more immediate action their I am getting more out of everything and learning from it all too. It’s exciting and I am excited.

‘Amplification’, I like this word. It’s an area in which has become of some interest in my artistic and life practice. A thought was triggered when at Soft Landing by my mentor Amelia McQueen. Amelia spoke about her experience when watching me in performance around my use of voice, sound the body and movement. My attention was brought towards a pattern that I had begun to fall into when playing with these tools. From an internal and external perspective I had put myself in a box, limiting and placing restrictions around how the body responds to voice and sound. What was becoming easy and familiar was how quickly I would generate a character or dramatic theme in my body and movement when creating noise. The challenge and interest for me became around allowing the voice and sound to converse with the body, transforming and morphing into a more physical response via the form of my trained dancing body. My task from Amelia was “Amplify the movement using sensations and sounds”. A task that has since been on my mind and is now a growing area of interest.

I am still unsure or what this means or what can come from this however it’s an area which I will begin to explore physically. I have always been a rhythmical dancer, who responds strongly and dynamically to music. However my task now is in trying to play with generating my own rhythm’s and sound’s and allowing the time and space to impact my movement choices. I want to work around the idea of the evolution of sound into movement and how the two can morph into and out of one another.

Who knows what will happen… I don’t

If you are feeling inspired please comment and feel free to present me with a task

Ready. Fire. Aim

For those reading who don’t know me I am Annabel Saies. A freelance, independent dancer/performer/maker/artist. Most importantly I dance, I perform and I want to spend my life creating, recreating and sharing my artistic and life practice. 

For my first blog entry I have decided to begin reflecting upon my experience over the past 3 weeks at ‘Soft Landing’ in Canberra. A program run by two inspiring and captivating Melbourne based dance artists Amelia McQueen and Natalie Abbott. Soft Landing is a platform for graduate dancers to bridge the gap between university and the real world, funded through QL2 Dance Inc. 

I write this blog as Soft Landing has inspired me to practice taking action on things I desire but also things I fear or am unsure about. Amongst many other things it has pushed me to give anything a go, to challenge myself, to work in an uncomfortable mode, to embrace creativity and play and to allow myself to not know…

So here we go I am ready to fire and aim. 

What are your expectations? A question I was confronted with as I took my place around the square table on day one. Confronted with 10 new faces, eyes wide, bodies stiff in anticipation, all eyes were on me, it was my turn to share!! What did I expect? 

Upon reflection heading into Soft Landing I expected that the course would give me answers, that I would leave knowing. Knowing the kind of art and dance I want to create, give me specific advice about where I am heading, how to make it happen, how to create a life and career in dance. Three weeks later I leave wanting the exact opposite. The intention of the three weeks was to place ourselves under the heading of ‘Don’t Know, Don’t Know’. Focusing of the concept that the largest portion of our pie chart in life is consumed with the things we don’t know that we don’t know. Take a moment to reflect upon this statement yourself. You may find yourself banging your head on the table in complete bewilderment and utter confusion or maybe you are laughing and suddenly feel like running outside and embracing everything you never new about life and that you will forever not know. The challenge of this concept and mode of living is that it makes you feel uncomfortable, challenged and unsure. As humans this is not our instinctual way to live and so in order to live in the ‘Don’t know, don’t know’ we need to take action. 

Soft Landing presented many experience’s for each individual and was a personal journey for each of the 10 artist. My personal experience allowed me to become more honest, present and aware of myself. I realised that for a large portion of my life although only spanning 23 years, I have created and hence the people around me have created a story that portrays me in a specific way. Positive, optimistic, happy, light and joyous in my expression of self, someone who feeds, motivates and pulls the energy of a group together. Maybe thee things are true, but maybe they aren’t, what is the reality? I don’t really know? However this is not the point. What I realised was that because of this story majority of my energy has been focused into those around me. A desire to want the best life for the people who are important to me, to make them smile, laugh and for their experience around me to be filled with love, fun, happiness and joy. Is it because this is what I want for myself too..? Of course I do. However what this did bring to my attention is that by doing this I may loose myself in situation’s, I take myself out of experiences to some extent and then maybe I am misunderstood, maybe I’m not.. I don’t really know. Soft Landing has also made me aware that my experience of myself or of a situation can not and never will reflect the same experience of the individuals sharing that experience with me. Hence this idea that how I think I am around people is not a true reflection of who I am, or even their experience of me. Because of this awareness I feel freed, I fill liberated, light and buoyant. I liberated and open and I have a stronger presence and sense of how I feel, respond, act and reflect in each and every day. 

It’s just a beginning, I am just starting to practice these things in my life and arts practice. But in this very moment right now, I feel true and honest. I can hear the car’s and the people in the street below, I can smell the remains of coffee in the paper cup and from writing this blog here are three words expressing how I feel..