Improvised performance by Viki Browne, Bryony Gillard, Maggie Nicols, Danni Spooner and D-M Withers as part of the exhibition A cap like water, transparent, fluid yet with definite body by Bryony Gillard at Turf Projects, 2018.
The project draws on the writings of the Modernist poet H.D and her experiences of psychic breakdown and creative and sexual awakening on the Isles of Scilly in 1919. After a period of severe trauma in her life, H.D withdrew to the islands with her lover and collaborator Bryher. During this time of retreat, she had what she referred to as her ‘jelly-fish experience’ — an awareness of tentacled connections between female erotic body and mind, a state of autonomous sexuality and creativity described through the metaphor of a jellyfish connecting to her body.
Considering the ‘jelly-fish experience’ as a state of being that disrupts and refuses categorisation, the work explores the possibility for peripheral landscapes to enable experiences that exist beyond the visible or thinkable; providing refuge for those existing outside of what is accepted and understood.
Drawing on an essay H.D wrote about her experiences, Notes on Thought and Vision, Gillard and a group of collaborators (Viki Browne, Maggie Nicols, Danni Spooner and D-M Withers) followed the tentacles of their own ‘jelly-fish experiences’ through movement, voice and reading exercises, improvisation and discussion.
Through different modes of thinking, feeling, looking and listening, A cap like water, transparent, fluid yet with definite body is a collective endeavour to explore states ‘jelly-fish’ being, unfurling into the space created by H.D’s ground breaking work.