“s o u n d i n g line” is a corporeal exploration into imagined histories of female ancestors. The performance will be installed in a historic New York home in 2020. The project asks what it means to belong as a woman to a family line: what is the interplay between caregiving and loneliness; does inter-generational experience persist into present embodiment? The project continues my research into the ways performance allows an audience space for reflection on individual past, but also a sense of a more general, shared past—a feeling of “long ago but also still right now.” I’ve come to understand my work as aimed at a meeting place where private and common, past and present, singular and plural softly mingle via performance images rendered in ways that invite rather than exclude someone’s particular memory.
The work is a quartet built of movement, shadow play, and the manipulation of simple sculptural elements. Performers summon, inhabit, and transform embodied, imagined memories. Family photographs act as prompt and anchor. These imagined pasts radiate out from my images of my own ancestors, but have quickly expanded to invite images and traces in the memories and histories of my collaborators.
Created by Adrienne Westwood in collaboration with the performers Katie Swords and Amanda Kmitt’Pendry. Original music by Kathryn Logan.
Photos by Rachael Shane and Whitney Browne. Copyright © 2019 Adrienne Westwood - All Rights Reserved.