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Recently, by which I mean the last weekend in March, the power combo Zoe | Juniper had their Northwest premier of their newest work “BeginAgain”.
When I was approached to be a visual responder to this performance I was elated. Getting to see a show and then having 2 days to complete a visual[painted] response to my experience? Yes please, and can I do this more?
I was previously unaware of Zoe | Juniper but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to approach this project. Did I want to avoid all press and any information about the group and go into the theatre with very little and raw expectations? Or would I read everything possible, watch youtube for hours, stalk their social media and pretend to be a secret, distant lover? The answer was I read a little and watched one youtube video. That was teasing enough to ramp up my enthusiasm for the performance.
To quote their website, [Zoe | Juniper as a company] “is driven by the idea of mythologizing the experience of our senses; creating performances and visual art that challenge the viewer's perception of time and perspective as well as allowing our work's intention to be spacious enough for empathetic experiences to emerge. “
You can read more on the web here
While I stayed away from researching them initially I did read a couple articles published locally
The thing that spoke to me the most was the following segment from this article
"Art is where we truly get to be alone together," Scofield explained, and she wants to protect that. We might all be in the same place at the same time seeing the same thing, she argued, but allowing people to see what they see without feeling like they're getting it wrong "helps people feel less alone."
That’s when I got hooked.
And maybe drooled a little.
I saw the show on Thursday the 27th and the lobby was quite packed. I entered to find out that the whole weekend had already sold out, and folks were there singing up to be on a wait list for tickets. Wow.
As far as the actual show it was a fantastic blend of visually beautiful set design, dance, performance art, with live singing, and an installation aspect, and even projections. And all of it made you internalize your own experience in starting over with something, turning a new leaf, opening a new door, in essence to begin again.
The panting produced in response to the show combined visual aspects from the costume design, backdrop, right down to the very dirt on the floor. But really there was dirt on the set (peat moss actually but it served an earthy purpose). I also added the extended pieces attached by wire to the larger canvas just to show the separation between ourselves and ourselves after a change. Any kind of change. Physical, mental, spiritual, emotional. Each extension is a little skewed in its own way, because it doesn’t matter how many times you change nothing alters you in the same way it affects another.
BeginAgain. Begin again. Begin. Again. Overload, release. Chaos, release. Pressure, release. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
We can relate to the over stimulation, or over work, or over expending. It takes energy. And you have to find a way to recharge yourself. For you. I took a lot away from BeginAgain. Mainly reflection. I’ve had a recent series of events in my life that has allowed me the pleasure to begin again, and I’ve gotten dirty in the process. Sometimes it feels lonely, that others can’t relate to our journey through the ‘organic replenishing earth’. However, finding others, in the same place on a similar journey, isn’t too hard.
Learn more about the 1000 ords project at On The Boards here