Emergent Intimacies: Returning to Closeness in
One-to-One Performance

A Research Study 

“The potential of One-to-One performance is to enable a shared and intense desire to connect, engage and discover another elucidates something about the ephemeral liveness of what might lure us toward this close encounter.”  - Rachel Zerihan

A meeting of two people moving through a slow ritual of hand washing; the voice of a single performer speaking the words, “this is for you”; walking silently with eyes closed; being sung to from a hilltop, listening through ear phones playing your favorite song while watching a dance framed on a sunsetting horizon; constructing a personalized installation made of colorful play jewels woven within natural foliage; the ritual of adorning a tree with a string of small papers with writings that ask of the spectator to reflect and wonder; the release of weight during a hug; stillness; being held; being cared for; the gift of BEING when invited into closeness and connection.

THEMES

  • The performance container: structure and freedom

    • Co-creation & collaboration between performer & spectator

  • Vulnerability, Intimacy, Connection

    • Realness, Risk and Failure

    • Ethical engagement & Boundaries-

    • Examination of our positionality and identities as the performances illuminate our relationships to gender, sexuality, and romance. 

    • Closeness & Touch

    • Returning to performance & closeness in pandemic times

  • Site/Location/Environments of the various performances

    • Public vs Private spaces

    • The politics of the body in relation to site

  • Time: slowness, duration, slow performance making

SPECTATOR FINDINGS
 

  • Performance Structure: 

    • The ability to make choices within the score

    • A sense of surrender and opening to the unknown

    • An immersive experience, a somatic full body experience

  • Vulnerability, Intimacy and Connection: 

    • The questions before and during the performance

    • The performance being uniquely crafted for the me

    • Touch, eyes, tears, being led, silence

    • Supportive watchfulness

  • Site/Location/Environments of the various performances

    • The location enhanced the entire thing

    • Being in nature, in a place that is familiar

    • Being in a public space did evoke some self-consciousness and worry about how others will perceive what is happening

  • Time: slowness, duration, slow performance making

    • All spectators dropped into slowing down and feeling relaxed

PERFORMER FINDINGS

  • Performance Structure: 

    • Listening to the spectators before moving forward in the score/having flexibility

    • Felt more like a guide vs. a performer & that the role of performer and spectator is an exchange of seeing and being seen.

    • There was a reacclimating to touch an being close and realization that presence and listening is a practice

    • The performance felt like an act of care, “a curator of comfort”

  • Vulnerability, Intimacy and Connection: 

    • Tears

    • Being seen as a performer is vulnerable & being aware that for the two of us there is no where to hide

    • The power of touch as a way to connect

  • Site/Location/Environments of the various performances

    • Assessing the safety of the space based on it being out in public which brought up being seeing by “the other spectators”

  • Time: slowness, duration, slow performance making

    • Spacious, steady, slow. Need time to be able to read the spectators needs

TESTIMONIALS 
 

“This felt more like an immersive experience and less like a performance. Maybe what’s unique about this performance is it caused me to challenge how I define performance. I wasn’t expecting the show to be as collaborative as it was (which was a lovely surprise!).”

“an experience. a ritual. a celebration. an exploration. part of an ongoing dialog and relationship”.

“The slow coming together feels necessary for survival. enjoying pleasure through physical connection is such a powerful tool for healing. reimagining the ways we enjoy please and romance beyond the sexual feels profound.”

“The safe gesture and attention to comfort was very nice. It didn’t feel forced. It felt adventurous and mysterious. The performance was well paced.”

Photos and Video on this page were taken by Jessa Carter during a 1:1 durational performance series produced by Yellow Fish Festival in August 2018

Title: 

A walk towards the sun...the moon...and the stars…

Yellow Fish Durational Performance Art Festival 

August 2018 

Previously performed 2015, 2016 

About

A solo performance designed for one individual at a time and intended as an inimitable offering, a ritual, and an inquiry into what is essential. A walk towards the sun…the moon…and the stars…creates an intimate, personalized performance experience which unfolds as performer and viewer presently and patiently arrive.

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