To introduce the three people I have enacted this project with (none of whom have chosen to remain completely anonymous) there is Oliver Vicars-Harris, a Londoner; Liberty, a girl of 6 years old in Australia; Caara Fritz-Hunter, an American woman in the Eastern Sierra Mountains of California; and George, a Panamanian/Australian living in New York . This is also the order I met them in. For the first three there was a documented moment of mutual agreement to trust and engage, and George was less formal. For Oliver it came when he accepted an invitation from me, a hand stitched envelope given to him while we shared a dinner in pitch darkness one evening. For Liberty it was on the agreement of terms as they were suggested by her mother, with Caara it was decided when we agreed on the performance outline for our ‘environmental theatre’ piece, that we later carried out as an ecological pilgrimage; and George told me over coffee one day that he wanted to have an argument with me as the performance. Interestingly enough, the tune of the original negotiation carried through the manifest encounters.
Written by Liberty’s mother, in email correspondence September 2013:
Regarding working with children, I’m happy to do this, the only requirements I would have would be
a) Her face not to be shown. So perhaps views of the back of her head etc.
b) Discretionary subject matter, ie. Adult subjects that are inappropriate (usually anything that veers on sexual content).
c) We ease her into spending unsupervised time with you. This is more about teaching her not to go off with ‘strangers’ rather than me thinking you are a freak. It will also build better conversations as the trust will build. She will also do this very quickly so if you wanted to go for a walk to discuss things this will be ok. She will also very quickly assume that you are friends so you should be able to cultivate good conversations.
d) Also, in no way is this to have editing priorities but if I could have a look/listen to what may possibly be exhibited? This is more a discretionary thing…I would hate for conversations to wander into areas of her father when I guess, myself, I haven’t resolved all these issues internally and out of respect for everybody.
I’m more than happy to discuss all this if you have reservations about anything please let me know. In no way do I want to be dictatorial about anything but the inclusion of her face. Very happy about voice, hands, rear views etc.
The Passage of Water.
An ecological pilgrimage by Caara Fritz-Hunter and Honi Ryan.
Two women converse online, creating a text written over email responding to the domestic use of water, and how we can conserve water in our everyday lives. Parts of the dialogue are taken from existing environmental action content and parts of it are personal responses to these ideas, facts, provocations and statistics.
months later. We meet at a lake. We fill a glass vessel with water. We take the glass vessel with us on a journey to Los Angeles, following the path the water takes to reach most of the people it nourishes. Along the way we converse and develop the ideas begun in the email conversation and come up with a 5 minute dialogue.
We arrive in Los Angeles to a space where a large scale projection of an Indian woman whose tears fall in reverse, drying up like the lakes along the lines in her face. Caara and Honi stand before the projection on ether side of it and take it in turns to read the 5 minute text they have developed on the journey, voice for voice, statistic for statistic, idea for idea, feeling for feeling. Between each exchange we cross the stage and pour the water from one vessel to the other in each other’s hands, crossing the screen as we go, taking it in turns to speak aloud.
We do not spill a drop.
We sit on the floor together. Half of that water in each of our vessels.
We have 8 smaller clear glass jars laid out in front of us in a line connecting our bodies in the middle of the room. We divvy the water up into small portions across the 8 jars.
In one I clean my teeth.
In another she washes her face.
In one she washes a dish
In another I wash a shirt
In one I make a cup of tea
In another she mixes bread
Jar for jar we move from opposite sides of the stage until we are both in the centre where we take the final two jars and stand up, side by side, we drink the water.