Spill Writing

On Care


I recall Ria Hartley’s radical softeness, an opening up of a space to see one another, to draw connections, until a community takes shape.


This echoes throughout the festival, a slowly-shaping poetics of place and being (from grief and trauma, to history and difference), made tangible through care, as strategy to bring forth the unseen, the intangible, to melt body and place.


Care is the vocal resonance of Mitchener’s voice and her recalling of histories. Care is the relationship Montserrat holds with Josephine Baker, dancing her into being, body on body, unpeeling the spectacles of representation. Care is the sound emenating from Laura Burns’ stones, a space of ritual and silence, of searching and feeling through place (a place of journey).


Occupation continues; it is not just in the histories that refuse specificity, in the erasure of difference and commodification of bodies, but also in the erosion of the natural, in the interference of ways of communication. It continues in re-territorialisation, and in erasure (the wrong kind of noise).
There’s a lot in Spill that thinks about communication- of being together (en masse), of listening (en masse), of feeling (en masse), of disrupting (en masse), of placing in productive confrontation (en masse).


I think about Burns’ breathing as it fills the room, as it converses in unison with stones of elsewhere (some are heavy, others perform their history, change shape, breathe and dry), and how place makes place; the cold, wet stones under my hands, the listening in, mythologies exposed and returned to (Shaun Caton’s Rainschemes for Insomniacs speaks to this through action, by creating a visual discordance that makes space for something else to arrive, to be built).


The stones are buzzing in the water; gently, a kind of silent fizzing, as if time is filtering through. They have been carried here, a journey (recalled to me), and I think of territory (of borders again) and of intimacy in meditation (how shape-shifting is that).


I think about Hallow’s Eve, and calling to those who are no longer, those who are lost, and the darkness as welcoming space to think. I think about feminism’s relationship to care, about queerness and care, about identity and care, race and care, difference and (through) care.


There is also the kind of care that is laborious, affective, entrenched in the politicisation of the social, in the deliberate violent borders between public and private. Care is resistance (and sometimes, aesthetic), it is also slippery and fundamental. (is there such a thing as a pre-colonial mind?)


(I think of messy play this morning with my nine month old daughter, of what was briefly sketched onto her body, of her use of materials; language poets taught me that it is always language that constructs and brings meaning, and there’s a potent battle with expression that takes shape, and it echoes in sound and bodies, in poetry and in being).