Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Aerial video sketches

The other day, whilst taking a breather from body conditioning exercises, that my ipod nano records video of astoundingly high quality. I took some little clips of myself training, and I can see that the recent training at Circus Space has improved my precision.

There is still a long way to go, I need to translate the ballet class I've been taking into awareness of my floating, uncertain hands, but I'm quite pleased.

Practising flare to hiplock....

Swinging into front balance (sort of)

And proof that I can, finally, do flag.

Baby steps towards the edge of the nest...

Friday, 18 February 2011


The themes of suspension, space, bodies and aerial have, as ever, been very evident in the drawings I have been making recently. I'm still largely drawing from photographs which, depending on who one talks to, is a great folly or a great idea. It definitely produces a different feeling to a drawing.

I have made good on my promise to myself, and this year is already seeing a new relationship between me and paint. After realising that I didn't really know how to us water colour, I watched some youtube footage posted by people who really do know what they are doing. Much like an ape-baby fumbling with a twig, I have had some success.  

My discovery of the week, a discovery which has simultaneously excited artistic, aerialist, poet and academic leanings, is the Berlin-based performance artist Dasniya Sommer.
She enacts Shibari on herself, creating erotic, sculptural imagery with her body which is reminiscent of aerial dance.

Whilst making me wonder both about costumes made of rope for future aerial performances when I am more trained (though with under clothes too - I dare not image the horrific burns naked corde lisse would potentially produce), and a different aesthetic for aerial dance, photos of her work have left my pencil blunted with drawing.
A good way to start a new sketch book!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Coming to a screen near you...

The full length trailer for the, as yet, unreleased film 'The Wicker Tree' directed Robin Hardy is up on the Internet. The film is being described as a 're-imagining' of his 1973 cult film 'The Wicker Man'.

In all honesty, I am not completely convinced by the story line of this follow up piece, but I must reserve judgement until I see the finished movie.

Good film or not, I have been awaiting the films release as I had a very small extra part in some pick-up shots. Being raised in a media-obsessed culture, not to mention a movie-loving household, the chance to see myself on the 'silver screen' in any capacity is entertaining.

The fact that I was naked and sprayed with fake (and real) blood has done nothing to detract from my (mild) anticipation.  

Vanity, technological possibility and a love of the surreal will not allow me to pass up such an opportunity - so, here I am in the trailer:

My bare back is clearly visible middle of shot, identifiable by my tattoo. 

Funny old world...

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Kinky Sunday

Last Sunday I had the good sense to book onto one of the School of Life's Sunday Sermons in London. The 'Sermon', given on a stage which appropriately bore the legend 'To Thine Own Self Be True', was titled Kinky Sex and was delivered by Grayson Perry.

Having just written a paper on transvestism ('Reimagining Transvestism through Queer Theory'), I was excited by the prospect of seeing Perry talk.

And seeing what he would wear.

As tribute to the darker sexual theme he spoke about, Perry wore an incredible leather dress with elaborate cuffs, high shoulders and two pendulous, pierced leather breasts dangling from the front. Happily, I have found a photo online, as it has to be seen to be fully comprehended. He looks rather sweet in the photo I've linked to - he wore it with rather more erotic menace in person.

Whilst Perry is not an academic, and does not claim to be, he comes across as a very likable and deeply thoughtful person. The talk was engaging, funny and moving. A highlight for me was his dismissal of the safe, middle-class commercialisation of fetish - embodied in the form of widely sold fluffy handcuffs (which, he pointed out, don't even lock properly) - something which has always irritated me immensely.

Perry spent some time tracing the origins of fetish - why a person develops such a strong 'atypical' erotic response, whilst many do not. There was talk of certain 'trauma' in childhood (not necessarily parental or abusive) leading onto an arousal response in later life - i.e. the classic transvestite tale of being forced to dress in girls clothes as a child, and subsequently finding feelings of humiliation stimulating.

Whilst finding this all interesting speculation, I still resist the inherently pathologising language found in causation-seeking...It implies something is 'wrong' in a slightly unhelpful way. Heterosexual, vanilla folk don't spend a great deal of energy meticulously tracing the reasons for their orientation, and I don't see why kinky types should tie themselves in a knot doing so.

Still, Perry was not apologetic, and oozed kinky sensuality from the stage.

Whilst chatting to my Dad about the talk (he's an open minded lefty), he questioned weather Perry was actually a transvestite seeing as he often dresses like a doll/little girl rather than an adult woman. Perry explained this, describing those dresses (sissy dresses to all you not aware of the subculture) as the 'crack cocaine of femininity' which I loved!
I also loved Perry revealing that all of us in the audience were in a sense part of, or feeding, his fetish. We were all part of his transvestism as we were the eyes, the gaze on his femininity.

As everyone absorbed this information there was a definite ripple through the crowd...a little Sunday, kinky frisson.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

An insignificant brush with the media

I have found my way into the Oxford Mail, albeit in an extremely tiny photo. I was doing some conditioning in the background whilst the photo was being taken...You can just make out the blue of my top.

The struggle to find somewhere decent (which means ceiling height, warmth and space to store a crash mat) to rig in Oxford continues. The Circus Space evening course is going really well. Our teacher is pushing up hard which is fantastic - my strength is improving from week to week. I shall soon have the Popeye forearms I've craved since childhood. To anyone reading with aerial knowledge I am pleased to announce that I can (finally!) do Flag.   

In other news, I have finally allowed myself to start playing with watercolours again. After realising I didn't really know how to use them, I watched some sped up footage of people painting on youtube. This seems to have helped enourmously, even though at the time I wasn't especially aware of learning anything. I shall upload my effort as soon as I find my battery re-charger...