I took myself over to Seven Sisters on Saturday night, negotiating a cunning maze of tube and Overground closures, for a friend’s party. It’d been a while since I was out in London, and I wasn’t sure what I was in for. But I had a great night. It turned out to be a serendipitously-proportioned mix of artists, geeks and queers — a heady combination, one that made for fantastic conversation and unbridled dancing.
I found myself repeatedly saying “I’m a theatre director”. Well, I am. I may only be wee, but I am and I’ve got to say it — part of making it, part of becoming this thing I want to be, is claiming the territory for myself without fear or self-serving shame. So I even started believing it myself. But what I couldn’t believe it there were loads of folks there (and this was a seriously arty party) who seemed genuinely interested in my projects and ideas about theatre — the way I was interested in their post-structuralist gallery show, or their part-satirical political communication product design, or their immersive soundscape generator programming. I started to feel kinda at home — which is a pretty good sign, I guess.
Here’s another thing: over and over again, I would here conversations from all these multi-disciplinary art practitioners, in all their different (multi-)disciplines, talking with fervour about interactivity, audience participation, collaboration, and everything do with taking art out of the self-regarding at into an empowering social sphere. Now I find that exciting. OK, so it’s not a representative sample, birds of a feather &c., but still — I’m encouraged. Some of these ideas are very old even if we don’t recognise them, and some of them are very new, but it all adds up to the same thing: art not just as self-expression, and not even just as essentiasl testimony, but art as a joyous and exciting tool for empowering us, all of us, where “us” really means everyone in any society that has art, to take possession of our many lives and worlds.
I think this year’s shaping up pretty good so far.