Tuesday 22 June 2010

did you evah (eat dartington)

Have you heard? It's in the stars
Next July we collide with Mars

Well, did you evah?
What a swell party, a swell party, a swellegant, elegant party this is!
(Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, Did You Evah?)

To mark the final 'relocation' of Dartington College of Arts to Falmouth, and work made by final year graduating students, Dartington Festival took place last weekend (17-20 June). A huge gathering of people from the last 40 odd years that generated an extraordinarily affirmative ending for this college in this place, a place that has been central to my adult life, and to the lives of so many others.

Few words from me on this now, I've said too much already, life's too short. But I still believe defiantly in the 'project' of Dartington, and the conversations and work and dreams it enabled, the people it en-couraged. I still feel an enormous sense of loss at its passing, and disappointment at the waste of it. And I celebrate the seeds that are dispersed into the world - in the air and into the collective bloodstream.

On the Saturday afternoon, Sue Palmer (who had taught at Dartington over the last 9 years) and Maritea Daehlin (a graduating final year Theatre student: a remarkable Norwegian/Eritrean/Italian woman who has evolved and unfolded brilliantly over her three years in Devon) presented a short performance event: 'Eat Dartington'.

Sue and Maritea had constructed a 3-D 'map' of the college buildings from gingerbread, including plastic grass and cows, and a gluten-free library. The text below is what they said, before the buildings were broken up with a silver mallet, dispersed and eaten; we took the studios away with us in our guts. Even the cows disappeared; were they consumed too?
In conjunction with the people who were gathered there, abuzz, Sue and Maritea's combination of defiance, humour, imagination, hope, love, did it for me.

Eat Dartington

Maritea Daehlin and Sue Palmer: June 19th 2010

Garden Room, Dartington College of Arts, Devon

Maritea introduces the book written by Andrew Page, who was commissioned by the Dartington Hall Trust in 1980 to develop the notion of a community for the future at Dartington: (Page, Andrew et al, The Dartington Model of A Community for the Future, Dartington: Dartington Hall Trust, 1980).


Goodbye to Associate Lecturer in Theatre at Dartington College of Arts

Goodbye to devising and making HERE

Goodbye to Marking, I never liked you anyway

Goodbye Strongly Agree / Agree / None of the Above

Goodbye to all the text sounding like a Lone Twin

It’s leaving and here’s something:

So many brilliant things that have happened, and I have them and you have them, hurrah, I’ll remember that.

Here’s something:

Jessica Mansell

Rhiannon Chaloner

Rob Thumpston

Dani D’Emilia

Jo Bannon

Becky Hall

Flo, Jo, Joe, Jasmin, Danny, Adrian…..

You made things, hurrah

Klaus Kruse, I’m glad to have known you all this time and watch it all begin for you, hurrah to that. And hurrah for Sally, she’s something.

Good Luck Theatre Stage One – you’re going – I heart you, I eat this

Good Luck Theatre Stage Two – you’re going – I heart you, I eat this

Good Luck Theatre Stage Three – you are moving on, I’m proud of you and I will never forget you. Remember to fucking facebook me.

Maritea: ‘The model is a think piece, a visual aid created to focus attention on future possibilities and to encourage ideas about the kind of lives we want to live. It offers a point for departure and discussion. It is not a master plan or a proposal for any particular site. The main task for the future will not be to establish new communities, but to adapt and equip our existing ones for the many changes ahead’ (p. 3)

Goodbye to running round the fields and streams making performances in the mud, I heart it all and I will never forget you carrying the beds at dawn, the cava in the skip, and Lawrence Tribe asking me “will you take my weight"? This devising stuff that got into my cells, I heart that.

Thanks for asking me to watch something, to see the work, for my thoughts, for the conversation. My God I heart that, I eat that.

Maritea: ‘We have no choice but to change’ (p. 4)

Goodbye to the wonderful muddle of contemporary art in stuffy old Devon.

Gingerbread, you are the studios that HEFCE put all the money into.

Vaughan Lindsay said: “You can’t take them with you”, and I didn’t like the way he said it. Nearly three years later I can reply.

Well studios, I eat you and I take you with me.

I let go the Dartington Hall Trust never recognising what they had, they missed it, and I hope they look forward and they miss us at last, and then find a way of starting something brazen and messy in stuffy Devon.

Maritea: ‘an impulse to dream and to imagine another kind of tomorrow’ (p. 5)

Goodbye this extraordinary place that doesn’t look like a university.

Goodbye Bothy, you were much better before your make over anyway.

Maritea: ‘The land, the infrastructure and the buildings would be owned by the community itself on a legal "common ownership" basis’ (p. 7)

Goodbye little steam train in the distance.

Maritea: ‘There need be no reason to fear for the children’(p. 13)

Hello everything else

Hello Maritea, how could I have done this without you

Of everything I’ve done here, this thing that I do with people like you – making work, devising - it is the best. Hello to more of that.

Maritea: ‘In ‘A Community for the Future’ the responsibility for all local matters rests with the residents of the community themselves’ (p. 16)

Hello to the outside, to change. Hello I’m new here.

Hello to the bubble bursting and all the dispersal outwards.

Hello seeing you in other places other dimensions. I’m ready.

Maritea: ‘The community designed here is not an end in itself’ (p. 16)

I eat dartington college of arts, it passes through me and into the great waters, into the primordial soup. I’m lost for a moment, but things will find themselves again.

Thank you Simon Persighetti for phoning me up in 2001 to ask me to work here. Thank you David Williams for the performance lecture “13 ways of dying in a performance”.

I am so glad, I was here for 9 years. The largest number before going back to 1 and 0, so I’m at the maximum, and here I go:

Rock and roll, give it up to the dart, to the waters.

If I had a guitar I’d

Smash it up like a Glastonbury hippy

Monday morning may be a struggle, but here we go ...

As Gary Winters wrote in a text message:'TJs the last DJ, and as the last song reaches its zenith, Roy and little Roy merge into a fiery single-cell lava being, Neil's zen stones start to hum, all birds freeze mid-flight and the drive’s traffic calmers crumble …'

(Thump heart twice, and arm out in a fan sweep, thump heart twice and flashing hands, and arm out in fan sweep, finger turning circle)

I heart this, I heart Maritea and I heart Dartington.

Eat This.

Eat This.

Eat This …

Maritea: It will soon be in us, it will soon travel with us, it will soon leave us, then we bake more ...

1 comment:

Conference Report said...

I heart Dartington, and I heart D and S.