All photos © Jules Lister
I’ve been thinking about weaving for a while now, how each individual thread wraps itself under and over the other to make a whole; something solid made of many parts. I’ve been thinking about the fullness and the strength of that and how Anni Albers described weaving as “many sided”, and how she thought of it as nomadic architecture.
I’ve been thinking about soft structures, and watching my mother make clothes; cutting out patterns on the floor then slowly gathering those flat, lifeless pieces together to make a three dimensional whole that fitted around a body and became animated.
I’ve been thinking about movement, and the movement of a hanging object as a reaction to something or someone passing it; about how that could be a moment when you realise that your presence in a space changes things. I’ve been thinking about proximity, and the relationship between things, and maybe I’ve been thinking about intimacy too. I’ve been thinking about watching a performer in a Trajal Harrell show and how closely I was standing next to them, how intently I was watching them, and how strange it seemed for that to feel normal.
I’ve been thinking about materials and about process. I’ve been thinking about process as transformation and how I felt it was important not to be seduced by a material but to try and transform it in some way. I’ve been thinking about getting to know a material intimately; what it feels like, how it sounds, is it malleable or is it rigid? I’ve been thinking about understanding the limits of your medium and how that can open up a space for imagination.
I’ve been thinking about six people in a park in Cardiff playing a game in which they could go anywhere but they always had to know where the others were. I’ve been thinking about the shapes as we spread out, the rhythms of movement that happened in waves; first quickly then slowing down as we paused to check on each other. I’ve been thinking about secret collective acts and about how no-one else in the park knew what we were doing. I’ve been thinking about how our awareness connected us, like an invisible elastic band keeping us together, and about how I could almost feel the tension and resistance as we moved.
I’ve been thinking about being led to that park with my eyes shut and about how the sounds around me became so much more voluminous when I had no sight to ground them. I’ve been thinking about the tiny gestures my companion gave as she guided me; her fingers pressing into my waist when we started or stopped, the funny shuffling steps we took to warn of an approaching curb or step, the settling of her body against mine as we waited to cross the road.
I’ve been thinking about Pauline Oliveros and her Deep Listening practice. I’ve been thinking about standing in a circle improvising with our breath. I’ve been thinking about the rhythms and the textures that made and about how the sounds overlapped and wove into each other. I’ve been thinking about the structure and the softness, things that might feel like opposites, meeting together to make one whole.
Siân Williams, 2019