by Karen Christopher and Tara Fatehi Irani
Soundtrack: Pouya Ehsaei
Lungs: Henry Dagg
Producer: CJ Mitchell
An 8-hour performance installation, with a thicker weave of performance in the penultimate hour.
Always Already draws on practices of weaving, from Persian carpets and their weavers' pattern singing to textile machines. Weaving revolutionised the textile industry in the 1800s, subsequently influencing the development of computing: looms were programmed via punch cards, the prototype for computer programme cards. And with weaving, the whole is built of small parts through a time-consuming process often associated with “women’s work”. These histories significantly affect the ways we live and interact, but often go unnoticed — they informed this project.
Always Already uses materials, text, sound and movement, to explore the weaving together of plant, human and machine, including human/plant and human/machine hybrids. Through the act of performance, we are making a machine which assembles the performance — a machine constructed of 100 Forgotten Questions, which turns the room into a loom, and creates space for the idea of the performance and the performance of idea. We focus on the repetition of small gestures, insignificant singly but gaining strength through accumulation, and we harness the fundamental form of weaving which operates on the principle of opposites, a kind of integration at right angles.
A single, small gesture seems insignificant but through its repetition and development the monumental is possible. Through the accumulation of small gestures mountains are moved, barriers are shifted, minds are changed. Where do patterns, differences, structures and connections emerge? These ideas relate to changes in nature, in humans and with technology — from computer code to activism, how and where is change possible?
What does a dance of great difficulty mean? It is cooperation made visible, a legacy of exertion and diligence proving we came back to it many times over time and revisiting made us know it better, know it differently, think through it, think with it.
The hands take position with buttons, pedals, chords, knobs, the legs a rhythm in the bones. The brain follows sentences from different mother tongues. Translation is to point, to focus, to take nothing for granted. I understand myself more when you understand me.
Always Already is supported by Dance4 (Nottingham, UK).
For further information and bookings contact: CJ Mitchell.
Visit Karen's website
All photographs by Jemima Yong
Paper leaves and other constructions:
a reading companion to Always Already
compiled and edited by Karen Christopher & Tara Fatehi Irani
A 32-page booklet, introducing the themes and content of the project, with writing by Karen, Tara and other contributors responding to many of the questions that have arisen in the creative process.
With contributions by Henry Dagg, Eirini Kartsaki, Payman Kassaei, Omikemi and Felipe Ribeiro