Reading Movement is an extended solo treatment of John Hall's "Reading (il)legible Pages" ("On the Page", Performance Research: Vol. 9; No.2, June 2004) by Camilla Nelson. This 25 minute performance physically and sonically disrupts, extends and transforms the act of reading. The reading body is so often stilled and silenced. This work offers the body a chance to move, to be seen and heard, to be liberated from the social restriction of normalised reading behaviours. This solo has grown out of an intense period of collaboration with the Palestinian dancer, Khaled Barghouthi (2015-2016), mentoring from Maja Jantar, Kathleen Brown & Suzanne Scott (2016-2017) and a series of specialist sound & movement language workshops (The World is Sound, 15 days exploring voice in relation to movement, March 2017; a 6 day workshop with physical theatre group OBRA & poet Lucy Burnett, June 2018). The draft script of “Reading Movement” was long-listed for The Leslie Scalapino Award for Innovative Women Performance Writers in 2016. In 2017 I performed the work-in-progress for Bath Fringe Festival and was commissioned to premiere the work at Brussels International Poetry Festival to enthusiastic acclaim.
Reading Movement will perform at S.T.R.E.A.M (A Series of Transdisciplinary Rituals and Experiments in Art and Music, 7-9th Sep), VITAL SIGNS (Salford University, 28-30th Oct), for Tracing the Pathway in Milton Keynes (24th-27th Sep), for ANATHEMA in Bristol (Oct, date tbc), at Das Kapital in Berlin (24-27th Oct), for Nottingham Poetry Exchange (Nov, date tbc) and in London (Dec, venue/date tbc). This tour introduces the complete work and its related techniques, through workshops & performance, to UK and German audiences for the very first time.
A Review of Reading Movement: A Work-in-Progress by Camilla Nelson for the Embodied Cartographies exhibition, Bath Festival Fringe, 5 June 2017.
"The programme was a folded blank sheet with only a title, typed in capitals and pasted on the front. We were to read into this what we wanted. At times, I wanted to read the book the performer, Camilla, held: the thin bound book from which she drew a slowly escalating scattering of sounds. They were sounds that began as rasped breath, a kind of death rattle; then became a retching effort that wracked her black-and-white skirted body.
But first she lay huddled over its secrets under a square-snow fall of torn pages dropped from a wide-brimmed hat. She rolled up and over, restlessly reading along the way, as you might if studying something with the potential to overwhelm you. Something that resisted you. The sounds - not so much primal as unschooled – began to reverberate in my solar plexus with the unsettlement of sickness. Some elicited in me the nervous humour that madness might.
Her dulled eyes went from the page to some far-sighted invisible screen that may have been blank. We sat circled in a small, white-washed chapel with a scuffed old oak floor. Outside, wind-blown June rains soaked bushes and darkened the grave stones. When she came to standing, her body waved as if caught by the wind. Into the mutter of sounds fell a few recognizable words resolving her anguish. Maybe the audience, like me, were relieved.
Afterwards, I did not ask to see the book. I was moved and needed to move. On wet Walcot Street under buffeted umbrellas my companion and I spoke only briefly but felt those hard-won words in our bodies. My friend considered how words are captured like wool on barbed wire fences. I thought of the grey maps on the chapel walls with countour lines thickened and blurred into lost human forms. Walking for words, reading words, reading movement."
Reviewed by Sara Firman (poet & artist)
A bit about the work...
This video shows the original 5 minute improvisation with Palestinian dancer, Khaled Barghouthi, produced as part of the Secret Hotel Landscape Dialogues Summer Lab in Mols Bjerge (Denmark, 2015), from which a collaborative work-in-progress emerged. The texts used in this initial performance were 'Body, Space Image' eds. Miranda Tufnell and Chris Crickmay, 'Invisible Things' by David Harradineand Synne Behrndt and 'At the Intersection Between Artand Research' eds. Carsten Friberg & Rose Parekh-Gaihede, with Bruce Barton, pp. 80-83 (this is the text that is being read aloud, the other two are being used as elbow supports). The film was made by Sohar Villegas. In 2015 we received a grant from the Artists' International Development Fund to develop the work in England (March 2016) & Belgium (Oct 2016) and in 2016 the European Cultural Foundation awarded Reading Movement a STEP Beyond grant to fund Camilla's travel to Palestine. This allowed Khaled & Camilla to perform a collaborative work-in-progress at Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival on 17th April 2016. Since then the work has evolved into a solo performance that premiered in Brussels in 2017 and will tour later this year!
THE SOUTH WEST POETRY TOUR 1st-7th august 2016
'Writing Paper' with Edmund Hardy (The Museum of Futures, London)
'There are many reasons for planting trees’ with JR Carpenter (Barbara Hepworth Museum, St Ives)
‘This is the news’ with Annabel Banks (The Poly, Falmouth)
‘Walking Grimm’s Pound’ with Matti Spence (Schumacher College, Dartington)
‘Be My Mirror’ with SJ Fowler (BRLSI, Bath)
‘Reading (Il)legible Pages’ with John Hall (Hauser & Wirth Somerset)
European Camarade with Gabriele Labanauskaite (Free Word Centre, London)
'Translating the Coal Forests' with Steven Hitchins (Gelynion, Cardiff)
...is a performance installation involving the erosion and eventual destruction of a text through the eating, reading and breathing of this text in machine formation. A live response to this sensory feedback of erosion and destruction is typed in situ as part of the performance. This piece forefronts the corporeal labour involved in practices of text production and consumption, playfully exploring the power dynamics of language creation in relation to the controlled working system of a factory.
Poem Factory was installed at:
Free Verse (Canterbury University, March 2016)
Work, Performance & Poetry (Northumbria University, April 2015)
The launch of Gill Partington’s Book Destruction in Bloomsbury, London (Sep 2014)
Perversions of Paper for Birkbeck College, University of London (June, 2014).
If you would like a Poem Factory performance installation or a Poem Factory workshop to be part of your event please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the envelope at the bottom of the site.
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING TO EXPAND OUR WORKFORCE!