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Spinning, Turning, Swirling


A converstation with Miet Warlop about Ghost Writer and the Broken Hand Break, “it is in fact like a whirlabout that is thrown out of my work and takes its course”, according to Miet Warlop.

Interview by Tineke De Meyer.

How did that music enter your work?

Warlop: “I’m always looking for material that I’m not used to, to express something with. How can I make it more dynamic? How can you shake an existing thing and then discard it again, throw it out according to your own logic? In Mystery Magnet there was the investigation into painting. In my solo work it were plaster sculptures. In Fruits of Labor it was music and (spinning) movement. So great, when you’re working with images and suddenly music creeps in… something that goes straight to your soul. I decided I wanted live music, but without hiding the musicians, as so often happens in theatre. If we were to do music, we were really gonna do music. So in this way, the performance has brought itself somewhere else. It makes no sense for me be the slave of an idea and to continue in a cramped energy. So I let go of the turning. But it was stuck in my head. That’s where Ghost Writer and the Broken Hand Break came from.”

‘Ghost Writer’, the title says, so who’s writing here?

“In the performance we mix-up texts by me and Raimundas – a very good visual art writer with whom I worked in Marseille. But, yes, who is it that writes your story? People say ‘Everyone writes their own story’, but that’s not true. Even if you want to write your own story, if the world doesn’t cooperate, you can’t control it. Things just happen to you. This thought automatically brought along the Broken Hand Break. As a human being, you just have to ‘go’ – you just deal with what comes your way. So I didn’t mean it in a wild way, but rather intimately. Like I did with Fruits of Labor, actually I was just making a ritual for the world to have a moment to laugh at terrorism, something like that. It’s wholesome. The whirling dance also has a sacred connotation. Yes, but we are more interested in profanity. Rather than reaching for something that transcends us, we want to pull things to the ground. That whirling is a state of being that also exists when we are not physically doing it, you know? I would have liked us to even be able to drink something while doing it. It’s like throwing 100,000 litres of paint on a stage. Is that beautiful? No, but the underlying energy makes the audience get a sense of freedom. I think everything revolves around the attitude with which something happens, with which you pick up something and put it down somewhere else.”

Your title suggests something narrative, is there a story at the base of your performance?

“It’s more like thinking for a moment. A kind of outcome. If you were to rub through my work, past all those sculptures and sculptures, I am now there at the end, spinning with two others. Not really connected, but not separate either. This simplicity – not one prop, no material trick – is quite exceptional for me. For me, this spinning is being at rest, being in your own world. I need a break: what is my work at a standstill? What is my life, where does it go? Who are you, what do you stand for? Ghost Writer And the Broken Hand Break is in fact like a whirlabout that is thrown out of my work and takes its course. Turns out that…”

So your work at a standstill is in fact a sustained concentric movement. Your mind at rest remains a whirlwind?

“The ‘now’ means nothing, right. You look at a sequence of now, now, now, now, now, now – until you get some kind of overview. From this, you construct your memory. In the chaos, you keep searching for the middle axis. With big questions, but at the same time like a dog chasing its own tail and biting it. The restlessness in your head and your body and your world is permanent, you just have to chill in the fact that nothing is fixed. And this is exactly is the essence of the whole whirling technique. That’s life, basically.”

So the whirling technique is nothing more than a thought?

“Your head and body just have to become one with the space that revolves around you. Your head is used to fixed frames, as soon as they disappear, your own head can mow you down. Brain must learn. Caress your brain, everything is fine. You just go: from standing to spinning, from looking at to staring, from breathing to singing. In fact, when we are spinning, we literally can’t see what’s happening around us. We are blind in your midst, who are looking at us. We can’t see any danger coming. We are open, now. That specific mode of being there can only exist within these walls. When we stop spinning, we use our hand to come back to where you are. Your hand is the fixed frame you always cary with you. Your hand is your brake. It’s you.”

Ghost Writer and the Broken Hand Break can be seen on Thursday 31 Octobre and Friday 1 November at SPRING in Autumn.


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