00:01:18 00:01:30

I did a performance in this theatre for Highway 101 (2000), and the audience walked through the piece…

00:02:09 00:02:40

… there was also this improvisation in Berlin, The Politics of Ecstasy (2009). At one point, I just kept walking through the performance over and over. It’s kind of great to see the performance was evolving without stopping or turning and… yeah. I guess that was the most significant walking action I did.

00:03:34 00:03:38

My heart is beating really fast.

00:03:47 00:04:31

We were just here in January (2011) with the project Atelier I. We were here for two weeks. And I invited a poet, Eric [Andrew] Green, and he participated in the show and he actually made… downstairs when you come into the theatre, he made an installation where he put all of his poems that he said in the show on these white cards.

00:04:31 00:04:42

And I just noticed…

00:04:42 00:05:12

… yesterday as I was walking through the building that there is still one of those white cards on this board. It’s on the very left hand corner. And this card says: If this were all of it, and all of it had a shape, the shape would be a human.

00:05:17 00:05:37

It makes me think that, if I speak about movement, I think I always think about the person being movement.

00:05:37 00:06:08

I might say that for me all movement is personal, but like where the personal meets the abstract. Or like: who is that person that’s moving? And how do they… how do they feel about the movement?

00:09:02 00:09:28

This is something we’re doing in the piece. I’m afraid if I do it too long I might get too relaxed. But I know it’s a place I can go back to.

00:09:46 00:10:41

I have this kind of guilty pleasure of dancing in front of the mirror. I mean, considering most of my training after a while was in studios without… I guess, I did a lot of it at home. And some of it slipped into the work. But I wouldn’t say it’s because I’m vain. I mean, maybe…

00:10:48 00:10:59

…maybe on the contrary. It’s a…

00:10:59 00:11:25

I don’t know, maybe it’s something like in childhood, when you put on something like a costume or your mother’s clothes or your father’s clothes or… and you put it on for a moment and then you just try it on, and then you go and you change it and try something else on.

00:11:25 00:11:52

And so you’re just like trying it on and you have imagined it like a whole scenario. But you don’t really have to like act it up or you maybe don’t have the means or… but anyway, it just sort of triggers something. What are we doing?

00:11:59 00:12:30

So you’re just trying it out. I think it’s a bit like movement, like I started getting interested in just trying out, trying things. But like, as much trying them and also like stepping away and trying again.

00:12:35 00:13:08

I think what’s very strange is that, like if I do this, I think… like: this is me. This is it. This is like… Why? Why this? Why this frame, this body? Not so much about like size and weight, but more like: this is it… I mean: this is becoming it. And this is…

00:13:08 00:13:19

And I think by looking at it, it feels more unreal, more plastic somehow.

00:13:21 00:13:52

And you think about this and you think about faith and coincidences and choices and… And then I also start to think like: how do other people?

00:14:24 00:14:57

They live in their body and this… there’s a gap between what they are and what they think and… And looking at identity as a texture, something you can slip in and out.

00:15:38 00:16:14

After a while, you know, it gets interesting to see what’s it like to relate to other less obvious entities. As if you would like walk through the world and not from an outside view but from like an inner view.

00:16:14 00:16:23

I guess it has something to do with compassion, because it’s not really about judging.

00:16:23 00:16:40

It’s just like if you… like thinking about an unfinished thought.

00:16:40 00:16:55

Or like an uncomfortable feeling.

00:17:16 00:17:40

An instrument they can see in the dark.

00:17:45 00:18:22

Or a situation I can’t resolve.

00:18:23 00:18:35

Or, I don’t know, it’s just the sensation itself. Something from…

00:20:09 00:20:28

When does a repetition, a shifting repetition become a ritual?

00:21:42 00:22:20

Last week my yoga teacher, she said, quoting Yogi Bhajan, who actually brought Kundalini to the West in the sixties, she said: Don’t think of yourself as a human having a spiritual experience, but as a spirit having human experience.

00:24:17 00:24:38

Every time I make something, I experience a crisis. I don’t think that’s really special or unusual, I just think maybe it’s encouraging for some people.

00:25:13 00:25:59

I think a lot of my work is about abuse. Not because there is a story to tell. Not that I have a personal story. That’s not me. But it makes me think that there is other people involved that I don’t know and I’m telling their story. And somehow, they found a subject in me.

00:27:37 00:28:05

This is a piece I’ve made with Philipp [Gehmacher], called the fault lines (2010). Well, obviously, it’s not the same. He’s usually standing right in front of me. It’s some kind of fighting objects, but…

00:28:18 00:28:26

Well, there is always something missing.

00:29:32 00:30:26

This is material proposed in a workshop in Istanbul. And two of the dancers worked on it and developed it. I never performed this. I can’t really say that it’s mine because I never… I don’t know if they could say it’s their material.

00:30:33 00:31:02

I know that all of my movement is somehow spread out and it’s like in the nervous system of others and their desires and tensions also have penetrated me. Maybe there is no map for this process.

00:31:16 00:31:43

I know Martin Nachbar was sitting right here, on this spot. Maybe if I sit here, I will channel his precision and touch.

00:32:09 00:33:07

I feel like there is something always between two things going on in a situation… the opposite… It feels like two things are the opposite… I just to feel like… Sensation through your body… Tension… I think this is too much for my brain… I’m just disappearing…

00:35:08 00:35:18

I like to work with tasks and scores, like that one.

00:35:35 00:35:40

Or with collapsing structures.

00:35:45 00:35:52

Or I’m trying to disappear. And all kinds of other ones.

00:36:33 00:36:38

Embracing the ghosts.

00:36:50 00:36:57

Let’s take a look.

00:37:00 00:37:12

It feels good to be here actually. I spent a lot of time here. Watching in general, and in this space.

00:37:18 00:37:38

I have this memory of seeing the concert Pan Sonic here. There were these two guys behind laptops and the seats were rumbling. It was really incredible.

00:37:39 00:38:02

And in January (2011), when we were here, we actually did this workshop on shamanism and we slept in the studio and we had all these sleeping bags. And I have this memory of all these sleepings bags and us getting up really early in the morning for a walk.

00:38:05 00:38:30

And I have this memory of Johan Reyniers’ birthday party and Petra [Roggel]’s too. And I was dancing, gosh, I was dancing to Fame, I want to live forever with Bojana Cvejic and Eszter Salamon and maybe Mette [Ingvartsen] was there… That was really stupid fun.

00:38:32 00:38:50

We also have this memory of…

00:38:55 00:39:09

Basically, I never see an empty space. I mean, it’s not completely empty because there’s my clothes and these two video cameras.

00:39:09 00:39:50

But if we’re talking about presences like… For me it’s charged with presence. I mean, I see a lot, I feel like it’s crowded. I feel like every empty space is really crowded. Maybe I’m the only one here, I don’t know but… I see like people, a lot of people, people I know, strangers and…

00:39:50 00:40:30

It’s like an attic, I think. An empty space is for me like an attic. A place where you… things you want to get rid of, but you don’t really dare, like letters that people wrote to you and you know you can’t bear to read them again but you don’t want to throw them away. Broken things, things that are like out of line, that kind of things. Just stuff, lots of stuff, like unfinished business.

00:40:36 00:40:50

And with all that stuff, it never makes it very easy to go from here to there… I mean, it’s not that it’s not easy, but it’s never simple.

00:43:08 00:44:04

Despite all the scores that I like to work on - and I think at the moment maybe it’s just a phase, it is an open one. Maybe for me that’s because I never feel there is an open field. And then this open score, I feel like… this is where my personal history, my experience, they confront the present.

00:44:08 00:44:35

I know my body is speaking. And it’s not random. And it’s not nonsense. And maybe even I’m listening more then, as well as speaking.

00:44:46 00:44:51

There is choices being made.

00:45:16 00:45:26

But I don’t know exactly what I’m saying. It’s like, you just have to witness and…

00:45:51 00:46:32

I think about those jazz musicians, specifically in New York, because I worked five nights at a jazz club, and sometimes even six nights. There were two sets each. And you got to see like one musician or one group go through an entire week. So you need to see them once. But, I saw them play consecutive nights.

00:46:36 00:46:46

I saw many people like Cecil Taylor or David Murray or Lawrence ‘Butch’ Morris, to name a few.

00:46:47 00:47:17

It was funny because after they would play, I mean if there was a break, or if it was like the end of the night, I would even go to the dressing room or see them at the bar when I was working there. They never said anything like ‘Oh, that was a good one’ or ‘That was a bad one’. They never talked about what they did. Like there was no judgment.

00:47:18 00:47:38

Growing up, there was a lot of dissatisfaction, there was a lot of… everything was gonna be something in the future, like ‘Oh we’re gonna do this’ or ‘We’re gonna meet there’, it was always ‘I gotta study more’. There was all this moreness and forwardness.

00:47:38 00:47:53

And it was so shocking to me that, like normally when I was performing with people, it would always be like: ‘Ah, you should have come yesterday’ or ‘This is not the right moment’, or ‘Alright, it’s going to get better, it has to develop’.

00:47:53 00:48:14

And they would just play, I mean play, play on… like it just was… Maybe they would talk about practical things, like the room is too hot or too cold or… I don’t know, something like that.

00:48:27 00:49:04

I have to say it gives me a lot of pleasure. And maybe this isn’t going onto the stage, or maybe it doesn’t matter, maybe it should just be in the studio. Because I guess making art is not about pleasure and it’s about making choices and… where you stand and this is my line, this is my world and… protecting that, honoring that but… I don’t know. This is the moment.

00:49:04 00:49:22

You know, if I would ever have to, if someone would ask me ‘Meg, just dance’, then I would be like: Why dance? Why? For what? Why do you have to be…? Do I have to look some way? Do I have to use my legs? I have to be… Why? What’s the point? Who am I? What are we doing? Why this… There is all this why. Just like dance…

00:49:24 00:49:31

So now, if they say like ‘Meg, dance!’, and then green light, it’s like…

00:49:33 00:49:47

I was really mad when Pieter [Ampe] said not to use music, I thought it was great in the middle [he broke that rule]. Now I said too much.

00:49:52 00:50:01

It happens so often, that somebody does something and then you stop and you talk and…

00:50:06 00:50:11

So, just catch up.

00:52:20 00:52:48

Are you okay? Could I hold your hand? So this is walk+talk 16 and I’m holding Etienne [Guilloteau]’s hand.

00:52:52 00:53:26

I’m actually really bad at transitions at the end, I mean in my life because… like every time I pack to go some place, I always forget something, like the phone charger or… And then if I’m leaving a plane and going, maybe I lost the book I was reading or… I’m always leaving something behind and…


00:00:00 00:01:05

What does it mean to do walk+talk a second time? After accounting for my work the first time in Vienna, I wanted to approach the task in a more personal way and embrace the fragility of the moment. At the Kaaistudio’s everything was strangely familiar to me: the theatre space, the people, our shared histories. All of that had to be addressed, leading me to a wavering walk+talk with an informal tone and rambling form - like a real conversation with the audience.
(Meg Stuart, February 2013)