Talking to Tania
|Richard Layzell – Talking to Tania 5|
Day 1 • 2 April 2005 • Providence
TK This is a first
RL I know
TK Talking about our relationship in public, then talking to me about the talk
RL What would you like to know?
TK What do you want to tell me?
RL Feel kind of embarrassed
TK Rubbish. Some sort of betrayal?
TK What then?
RL The complexity of it
TK Is that what you told them?
TK That’s a relief
TK No reason to undersell, trivialise, encourage voyeurism
RL It was the closest I’ve got to explaining our developing relationship. And you influenced this.
TK I would hope so. How in particular?
RL Putting your early work in context. Explaining your background.
TK Ever thought about reinventing it?
RL Not till now
TK What else?
RL The sense of a work in progress right there and then, including those items sourced locally the day before: the big red envelopes, gold seals, blue Oreo packets, snow scraper. Holding back decisions about where and how to place them, your influence in keeping them tight on the table. Wearing the goat tie you chose in Bangkok. Picking up In Praise of Shadows at the last minute from Room 326 at The Biltmore, opening it at random on “How, in such a dark place, gold draws so much light to itself is a mystery”.
TK What about ‘our developing relationship’?
RL It’s complicated. You change. I change. We’ve changed.
TK How about the audience?
RL Meiling Cheng’s paper on Claudia Bucher’s Kinocognophores was 15 pages long and took 45 minutes to read aloud. So I was held to 30 minutes max.
RL You said it. Was oh so familiar, and being panel A13 at 09.00 on a Saturday in competition with 17 other events running in the same time slot was bizarre and undermining.
RL Just bizarre, I’m exaggerating. It was what it was. That’s where you were so helpful.
TK In trying to keep you in the here and now, and treating it as a tester for so many situations to come, not getting into comparisons…
TK It was an opportunity. You wouldn’t have progressed it this far without the pressure of the occasion, the output, the deadline.
TK I’m remembering that you’ve given presentations about the Room of Freeflow a few times. Was this different?
RL The focus was much more on our developing relationship and the present, even declaring that we’d be talking for the rest of the day, and in New York for four days.
TK If you talk seriously about our relationship then you’re representing me, and I expect a good profile. Did I get it?
RL I think so. Someone from TDR (The Drama Review) gave me her card and asked me to call if anything is happening between us in New York.
TK That’s a result
RL I think so
TK Did you deal with the ‘Altered Egos’ classification in the programme?
RL I expressed deep rage and forgiveness
TK Good. I like the sound of it. I think you’re making progress.
TK How was the transition into the day, anyway, the stepping out?
RL Difficult, self-conscious, funny. I went along to a range of panels and presentations pretty much on a whim, went to the art museum, bought a designer fly swat at the Rhode Island School of Design shop.
TK What sort of panels?
RL The role of silence in Gertrude Stein’s libretto for Virgil Thomson’s The Mother of Us All, ‘Arabesk’ Kurdish underground music, the symbolised matrix of tying a stick to your leg so you limp, kid rock, ‘Zhen Brasil’s’ Japanese Brazilian Groove, Sha Xin Wei from the Georgia Institute of Technology talking about spatial syntax, embedded thresholds and the topology of gesture, etc.
TK Are we becoming self-conscious about these dialogues?
RL How d’you mean?
TK Because we know they go public I think there’s stuff we say purposely and stuff we don’t reveal, knowing there’s some kind of cyber audience reading them.
RL What should we do about it?
TK Acknowledge it for a start. See what needs to change. Talk.
RL I worry it’s becoming formulaic.
TK So what do you want to do differently?
RL Be more honest. Not feel pressurised to make things happen.
TK Did you?
RL I guess. Did some ‘standing still’ at the conference, recorded on video. Took some photographs of ground level.
TK This wasn’t my idea.
RL Shall we talk about it?
TK Let’s get real.
RL I don’t know what the relationship is between the dialogues and the days, I’ve lost track.
TK There never was a track. It’s a blank page every time. Have you been trying to please me or something? Are you leaping ahead to safety?
RL It’s the pressure to be performative I think.
RL You taking the piss?
TK Word of the week apparently
RL Too right. PSi (Performance Studies International Conference #11 at Brown University) fever. But it’s also to do with the approach that worked in Skyros.
TK That was then. What about our collaborative installation? (Talking to Tania 2)
RL Yes. More visual than performative.
TK We moved closer to exploring perception and minimal interventions in Thailand.
RL Can the dialogue become the work?
TK It has been all along. I’m concerned about you jumping into the safety net of formula. Every context is different. And every time slot. In New York don’t think so much about the web representation. See what happens. Stay in the risky present.