Salvage Rhythms III (2022, ongoing)

3 hour live performance installation with live sound collage

Salvage Rhythms III is part of a series of works which use live performance, film, text and collage to explore what we as humans can learn about new-world-building from observing the multispecies entanglements we are a part of. Specifically, how the other critters, organisms and intelligences we share this planet with come together in hidden, surprising and dynamic ways to form networks and create ways of surviving in increasingly damaged landscapes (for example how trees of the same species send messages to one another via networks of mycorrhizal fungi, enabling them to warn of potential danger or share nutrients; or how the matsutake mushroom thrives in forests disturbed by human activity). This research is influenced by the writings of Anna Tsing (specifically The Mushroom at the End of the World and Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet), Mel Y Chen, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Octavia Butler and Donna Haraway.

This iteration was presented at Arnolfini, Bristol where the performance was open to an audience for a period of three continuous hours.

The concept of assemblage is helpful. Ecologists turned to assemblages to get around the sometimes fixed and bounded connotations of ecological “community.” the question of how the varied species in a species assemblage influence each other–if at all–is never settled: some thwart (or eat) each other; others work together to make life possible; still others just happen to find themselves in the same place. Assemblages are open-ended gatherings. They allow us to ask about communal effects without assuming them. They show us potential histories in the making...Thinking through assemblages urges us to ask: How do gatherings sometimes become “happenings,” that is, greater than the sum of their parts? If history without progress is indeterminate and multidirectional, might assemblages show us its possibilities?

Anna Tsing - The Mushroom At The End Of The World

Conceptually and choreographically it uses ideas based on symbiosis, sympoiesis and parasitism to produce ever changing structures, rhythms and compositions. Each iteration is part of an ongoing process of entanglement between bodies attempting to survive within a damaged landscape. Through the development of tasks and gestures seen established at the start of the process, we witness the bodies navigating, excavating and cultivating individual and shared spaces. In doing so they find ways to co-exist, cooperate and contaminate one another in both successful and failed attempts at survival, thriving and new-world building.

The sound score is performed and composed live, in collaboration with musician Roly Porter. Together we draw upon a library of found sounds, archive tapes and field recordings to compose an aural landscape in direct conversation with the performing bodies. Contact mics underneath the performance flooring affect and add to the audio in real time.

Interspecies relations draw evolution back into history because they depend on the contingencies of encounter. They do not form an internally self-replicating system. Instead, interspecies encounters are always events, “things that happen,” the units of history. Events can lead to relatively stable situations, but they cannot be counted on in the way self-replicating units can; they are always framed by contingency and time.

Anna Tsing - The Mushroom At The End Of The World

SALVAGE RHYTHMS III IS A COLLABORATION WITH MUSICIAN ROLY PORTER AND PERFORMERS KAREN CALLAGHAN, LEAH MAROJEVIC, TEMITOPE AJOSE-CUTTING AND IRO COSTELLO.

COSTUME IN COLLABORATION WITH HAIK.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY SOTIRIS GONIS.

SALVAGE RHYTHMS WAS ORIGINALLY COMMISSIONED BY SOMERSET HOUSE STUDIOS.

first be animated, then grow roots