#ablebodiesandstones – research blog – session 1

(I will start each of these research diary blog posts by feeling into my body and into the bodies of my guests. Trying to find out about our abilities and to evaluate what able bodies feel like. I am not trying to pretend that I do not have an able body. I am not trying to victimize my body in order to appropriate minority positions. I am very much aware that at this moment my body is more able than most bodies, I am aware of my position of norm and power in this ableist society. Or at least, I am trying to.)


Discursive and experimental research in the air
Guest artists: Carmen Küster and Flo* Strass

My body
I am eager to start with my research session, having chosen my first two peers to work with. I just returned from a three months trip to Brasil, where we travelled to perform and teach (and for beach vacation as well!), right after my long summer season performing in public spaces all over Germany and Europe. This means that I just now have started with my back-to-shape-training, in February instead of October as usual.
So, my body feels great, but not strong. I am fit, but not in training. No extraordinary strenght, no endurance. But really tan!
I am happy to note that I do not feel broken, like after so many seasons before – due to the fact that I had to re-learn „healthy“ training after my shoulder injury in 2016 (thanks to my trainer Frank of the Chirohouse).

My guests‘ bodies
Carmen and Flo* seem to be at peace with their bodies and their bodies‘ performance. We will talk a lot about injuries and abilities in this session – and learn how differently we cope with our bodies‘ abilities.

Research approach
We rig our favorite aerial equipment, our apparatus where we feel most at home: Carmen her single point trapeze, Flo* a vertical rope, and I my fixed trapeze.
We talk about virtuosity, our past and present injuries.
And experiment on our apparatus to explore ideas that came up while talking.

What does virtuosity mean? For us? A few thoughts.
„Fake-virtuosity is boring, when I see it.“ So what is virtuosity? For us, three aerialists, who work in different contemporary ways – none of us are big gala artists – it means: flow, rhythm, ease, while doing something extraordinary. (Is this not the very definition of circus art?)
But we are not interested in virtuosity, we get bored. We like to see the cracks, the person behind the artist, their fragility.

We talk about endurance of holding a trick until the body starts failing. Usually artists never go that far, they never hold their tricks long enough. They stop, when the trick becomes hard to hold, when they start feeling that they are losing their virtuosity.
But exactly this is the moment, when we start looking with interest. At this point something unexpected happens. We start to see the person behind the artist, their fragility and their power.

But this also implies that by holding a trick longer I start training this trick. The time until I fail becomes longer and longer. It is neverending formation and discipline of the body, and my virtuosity grows.

Later we also improvise with holding stones in our hands during improvisations on our apparatus. The stones were meant to hinder our virtuosity. But the effect is the opposite: holding stones makes us even more virtuoso. They make our work harder, but not impossible. So with holding stones we prove that even stones cannot hinder our virtuosity.

Gefördert vom Fonds Darstellende Künste aus Mitteln der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien.

Unterstützt vom VUESCH.