Ascending Folds, 2019 film
Direction, Camera and Edits: Ellen Oliver
Poetry and text performance: Lénaïg Cariou, translated from French by Virgil Blanc
Performance: William Flores
Music: Claude Debussy “The Little Shepherd” by Ronan O’Hora
Created in support by New England Foundation for the Arts’ New England Dance Fund, with generous support from the Aliad Fund at the Boston Foundation.
Poetry by Lénaïg Cariou, translated from French by Virgil Blanc 2019.
We are cast into the world as we would be cast into a mold. The world forms us, informs us, deforms us. Unresisting, we come into shape. The world is determining, normative. Full of shapes and rules, abstract and arbitrary. My body tries to escape, to flee, to extricate itself out of these. It demands the freedom to shape its own form. Existence is a permanent struggle to maintain this form. I refuse to let the world shape me, to let it model me. Despite the pace of the world and its pre-existing formats. I refuse to liquify, to dissolve in order to fuse into a mold; a straitjacket; a prison. I like to feel the sensual touch of the world’s fingers sculpting me, but I refuse not to oppose it any resistance. I am an existing form; I pre-exist at the world’s touch. I like that the world shapes this form but I detest all models. I love influence; I hate injunction. Melting, dissolving is out of the question. I am me. Me has a form — a form that the world polishes, modifies, smooths out, marks, but never outright redesigns. I am that rock that the winds polish, I am the fissures that the slow movements of the earth shape over millennia; but I do not survive mudslides. I am not one of those rocks that time erodes into sand. My unity persists, a stable and hard core. If the wind erodes me entirely, I am no longer.
I like to think of my body as a crag that the weather polishes but that remains unchanged at its core. My body, in basaltic solitude, is made of matter and emptiness. My body is like a cliff, (x)ed by the red sea and yet standing tall for millennia. My body is like a bedrock, hard and fragile at the same time. Maybe that’s why I like the feeling of stone on my skin. My fingers explore its dents, my feet feel out its fissuring cavities. Together we seek balance. Ceaselessly my body compensates the crag’s incline, our gravities complete each other, face to face, hand in hand. There is the contact of two forms brushing against each other without misshaping one another. Hewing without informing. Hugging the rock. Declaring its warmth. It is like a body that must be warmed up, pinched, clutched, held back, steadied, slapped, explored, traipsed, grasped. To explore its indentations; its texture.