Potus Sedere was conceptualised within the processes of a project Body As Material: Solo Practice, a partnership between Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre (BMEC), Bundanon Trust, FORM Dance Projects and Critical Path. The first phase took place in early 2016 at BMEC, and then a few days later at the Arthur and Yvonne Boyd’s Bundanon Trust property.
I wanted to share performance concept pieces physicalized from images and sketches made within certain sites chosen at Bundanon Trust property. I asked the other project co-members to choose a piece to witness, performed for the period of dawn, the hour before noon, dusk and the hour before midnight.
Potus Sedere was a piece conceived at 1130pm for the Dorothy Potter Dance Studio and its deck. It was about mediumship and the capacity for the body to act as a conduit for possession.
I asked the witnesses to sit with their backs to the wall and watch the moving image of the naked body in a clear plastic raincoat, with the lights coming from the Writer’s Cottage and the few floodlights available in the property. The rustle of plastic, the voice/text, the nocturnal textures and the light drizzle that started in the latter part of the performance were the elements to the soundscape. When I dream up of text, I invariably hear it as phonic-scapes, where the rhythm and placement within the movement can work together as an entire composition. I do enjoy bringing it in at surprising moments and hear them in counterpoint to movement, as well as in harmony.
Possession is an old Latin term derived from the roots of potus, to be able, and sedere, to sit. In this case it is applied to the image of a spirit’s capacity to sit in flesh.
I am interested in the performance of ritual-like experiences of being possessed as a transformative experience for both the performer and onlooker. Then there is the notion of possession as the filling and mediating of many kinds of absences. It makes me wonder about the kinds of qualitative states that may make possession possible: mental vulnerability, uncertainty of social identity, lack of access to deeper communion or devotional spaces (and I don’t mean just religious institutional buildings), the thinning veil between life and death, the need for empowerment, unbelonging, dislocation, displacement and uprooting...
Accompanying text - to be whispered out loudly, sometimes fiercely, urgently viciously; introduced after 5-7 minutes of moving in silence and to take time for pauses between text phrases. Re-introduce the urgent whispering of names again at latter part of performance ending with "...let the third body walk "