The Flying Mothers of Archway, is a project in collaboration with a group of mothers who come from different corners of the world, and are linked to Archway Children's Centre and Hargrave Park School. Together we are embarking on a journey - exploring what brought these women to London and their feelings about living in Archway through aerial yoga, video, and physical theatre.
Great meeting tonight amongst the artists working on the different Hostings commissions. Stimulating and insightful. We share similar hopes and concerns.
Met Germander on the bus by chance. Her Hostings project deals with unwanted and discarded objects. While my project deals with very treasured objects that people have kept in their journeys, because they are so meaningful and dear to them.
Today a participant suggested 'The Road Not Taken' by Robert Frost:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
This process is becoming a gathering of ideas, the mothers are expressing how they want to shape the performance. Some of them are offering artistic concepts for the work. One has offering her paintings, made with things found in the house. I feel very blessed to work with this group of women.
Visited the space where the public performance is going to take place. Beautiful! The light pours in through the skylight. How we are going to make the video visible in the daylight performance? The evening performance will be fine. The place is all painted white, there is a pure energy about it that I find very conducive.
Thoughts in red:
What do we need to do to have a voice as artists? I thought the artists role in society was to push boundaries, rather than ticking boxes and fit institutional strategies. I will not give up making my voice heard.
Thoughts in blue:
Blue feathers, blue cocoons, blue as the immersive feeling of plunging in the water, warm blue, emotional blue, journeys by water, journeys by air.
Where is the blue in Archway?: Blue veil, blue paper with gold and silver, blue transparent balls attached to blue ribbons, blue black dresses, blue video...
Oh, the joys of hanging upside down every Wednesday with a committed group of mothers! The feel of lightness is there, even when things are heavy all around us.
We made lots of progress, learned to work together, going beyond the feeling of instability generated by dangling in the air, hanging or standing on a moving apparatus.
Last rehearsal. Everyone's excited and committed. Nearly in sync. Belinda's video portrays Archway as both a menacing and lovely place to live. A kaleidoscope of flying women. Husbands and children pop in at various times to collect their mothers, marveling at the transformed space. Our slice of heaven away from the busy streets...
At 11am, whilst the audience was entering the space, I felt my heart racing, butterflies in my stomach and that crescendo of adrenaline that comes with performing. I don't perform regularly perform anymore - I mostly enable people to perform. But there I was, gently swinging, feeling the mothers near me. They have a lot of trust in me, these mothers who are prepared to publicly perform an aerial choreography now. Three months ago none of them had ever been on an aerial apparatus. We have journeyed together and have been good companions. Now, here in the present, five minutes before the performance, I feel a surge of complete joy.
The mothers' voices:
"Although I was nervous, I really enjoyed the performance. I felt we were able to really draw the audience into our world and captivate them, which was a very special feeling. It was a real pleasure to unite with a group of women and share something so unusual with them, and to perform together as a team." (Belinda)
"Our final performance was a wonderful combination of art and aerial yoga, music and therapy, a moving installation. The community came together and honoured creativity and parenting. It was a very special evening that I feel honoured to have been a part of and was so proud to be able to share with friends and family." (Claire)
"My heart was pumping so fast I saw my cocoon shaking, when the music started the cocoon stop trembling and there I was, enjoying every minute of it, not thinking if I was doing well or wrong: I just immerse myself in the moment and felt every minute of it." (Sonia)
"I can't remember how many different shows/plays I have been in - performing in this show was one of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences. It was so unique and special. There was something about a group of mothers in Archway that seemed so random and yet so vibrant, diverse and unexpected that made it so alive and unique." (Emma)
Scarabeus: Daniela Essart, Belinda Ackermann, Beatrice Perini, Soren Nielsen
Participants: Belinda, Camilla, Claire, Emma, Sonia, Diana, Khedra, Rika, Pui-Lai, Ana-maria, Farhiya, and Amber
Performers: Belinda, Camilla, Claire, Emma, Sonia, Diana, and Khedra
Thanks to: Nasso Christou and Mita Pandya at Archway Children's Centre
Documentation: Roberto Battista, Seb Lynch, and Angus Wilson