I will spend 5 days at The Drill Hall (a heritage venue on Sydney's harbor)

undertaking a Critical Path Space Residency.

 

Each day of the residency will be framed by a single word; as I revisit the values I find integral to a meaningful social practice. Care, courage, self-will, humility, and compassion will provide as the constraints. The Drill will provide as a site-specific lens, informing and grounding my embodied research. On the final day I will invite local artists to join me at The Drill, to collectively unearth compassionate ways of moving and being together.  

 

This work hopes to queer my own daily practices of resistance,

and how they might show up within my art making. 

09.02.2021

My yoga teacher tells me not to worry about the fee this morning. She knows things are difficult and is happy to support my practice. Care is: Don’t Worry, I’ve Got You.  
Holding that tender in my heart, I walk to The Drill. A Tai Chi master is training a group of older women outside. They move with care.  
I remembered how Steph used to carefully arrange our room when we’d move into some place new. How she would make my bed with such care. I decide to arrange The Drill accordingly; slowly and patiently. Take the mirrors out from the back, clean them, place them across from each other, at a slight angle. Care is exponential, but it looks different for everyone.  
My movements today are
deliberate, aware, soft and strong. Don’t Worry, I’ve Got You. The words I want to breathe to the land around me, my community, my family and my partner.  To myself. 

My mother sends me a video of Mahua Moitra speaking passionately at the parliament. Moitra talks of the difference between cowardice and courage. She calls out the government for hiding behind the bravado of power, bigotry and untruths and daring to call it courage. The top comment on her video is of someone commending her own courage. 
It takes guts to speak (and live) your truth.  
Courage is:
Leading from a Place of Love (Not Fear).  
I open the curtains today at The Drill. I move the mirrors away from each other. Courage needs clarity and light. I attend art class; my teacher talks of having the courage to cross boundaries. I remember when I crossed the borders into California for the first time. Then into China. Then into Australia. What does it take to push against the confines of societal norms and expectations. How shall we always find our way back to love?
My movements today are
exuberant, exploratory and playful. Lead from a Place of Love, it is the only way we will be able to re-imagine ourselves and our societies.  

10.02.2021 

"Reject the idea that you are either on your own or you are in an undifferentiated space. Having and holding one’s own Country, language and stories depends on acknowledging the crossing connective membranes that keep them in place."

Karrabing Film Collective

I read @Tatiannatarot’s February 2021 Tarotscope for Gemini. It says: Discipline within self is key. The more you take a stand as a leader in your life the less burdens you will deal with.  Self-will has been a huge challenge for me. I’m getting there though. 
Self-will is:
Knowledge in Action  
Self-will is:
Showing up for Yourself  
I arrive to the Drill without the keys today. I had changed bags and left the keys in the previous bag, a classic mistake. Retrieving the keys will be a bit of a journey at this point.  
Switching on a mentality of acceptance, as opposed to anxiety and fear, requires discipline. Switching on a mentality of contentment, as opposed to regret or dissatisfaction, requires discipline.  
I had arrived to The Drill with the expectation of expressing self-will as a series of rigorous physical exercises. My movements today, however, are subtler, calmer.  
One can consider the space of The Drill to not just be inside of it, but outside of it too. What is The Drill contained within?  
I remember coming here, to Rushcutter’s Bay, during the early days of Covid. The walk here used to be our morning routine, our dose of blue and green. Staying centered, accepting fall backs and walking through them with a kindness: this is self-will too.  
So I retrace my steps along the path of the bay, soaking in the heat and the dazzle of the water.

A practice without self-will fails to be a practice. 

11.02.2021 

“And, while expressing gratitude seems innocent enough, it is a revolutionary idea. In a consumer society, contentment is a radical proposition. Recognizing abundance rather than scarcity undermines an economy that thrives by creating unmet desires.” 

Robin Wall Kimmerer, “Allegiance to Gratitude” in Braiding Sweetgrass.

I broke down this morning, upset that my partner didn’t inform me he was going to stay the night out at a friend’s place. I had been so worried and confused. A lesson in forgiveness and detachment, out of the blue. The universe throws you those tests just when you think you have it all figured out. 
Humility is:
Acknowledging the Teacher in Everyone 
Humility is: Bowing Down to the Universe 
I arrive to The Drill focused. I open the windows and allow the breeze in. I place the mirrors across from each other and push them further apart. Today I will be led by the ground. I will stay low, all the parts of my body working to meet the floor. Sometimes this feels joyful, sometimes this feels uncomfortable. I stay with the awkwardness; and I push through to moments of lightness.  
Humility is entering a space with an attitude of openness and a willingness to learn. Even if its from the floor beneath you.  

12.02.2021 

As soon as I expressed my hurt to my partner, he apologized. He picked up on my hurt, and allowed for a sensitivity to take lead (instead of a defensiveness). Within an hour I had forgiven him and moved on. How empowering is it to be able to move beyond one’s ego and really listen to another?  
Compassion is:
My Heart is with You 
Compassion is: Patience and Generosity  
Today is my last day at The Drill. I do not enter alone; I enter with 7 other artists (Jamile, Daniel, Esteban, Vale, Ale, Charlie and Kohe). We set up the DJ controller, open the curtains and the windows, and push the mirrors further apart to both ends of the hall. The space takes on new meaning with our collective energies and presence. Informed by my explorations during the previous four days, I lead us through exercises that invite us to embody intimacy, love and compassion in a variety of ways. We play with touch and then we play with listening. We move slowly, gently and compassionately. We later share the moments in which we felt spiritually touched through the workshop. Our hearts sing with gratitude and togetherness.  
Compassion is the ability to feel love and tenderness for a complete stranger. Compassion is the ability to maintain that tenderness with those closest to us.    

13.02.2021 

“And just as chains or archipelagos of tension link psyche and soma across disparate parts of the body, the elements of the social body are intertwined."

 

Darren O’ Donnell, Social Acupuncture

[[When we ask ourselves about the lives we want to lead or the new systems we want to see, do we think about the material manifestations or about the values that life/system is built upon?]]

 

[[How might we move beyond the ingrained patterns and stagnant thought processes that do not serve the new systems that we need to see?]]
 

I live in Bondi (the land of the Birri-Birri, Eora Nation). Everyday I receive abundance in the form of the coastal landscape and other matters of sustenance. I am grateful. What do I give in return? How do I more meaningfully enact those possibilities of reciprocity?

[[How do we choose to live within environments in crisis?]]

Contact me

Phone/WhatsApp | +61 431 143 556
Email | nivdji@gmail.com
Sydney
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