Eleanor Lawler

Keening, an ancient Irish custom also practiced throughout the world, is not currently part of my practice. It’s a singing/wailing for the dead at their funeral, an acknowledgement that the dead have left us, usually with an incredible emotional pain, overwhelming in nature, indescribable and destructive, crushing and emptying at the same time. What kind of noise would we utter in such circumstances, what kind of movements could accompany or even begin to describe these acknowledgements, the difference between the living and the dead?

(stillness and movement)

Currently my practice concerns the signs, visible and invisible of aging women. Body slowing and seizing, gathering dust, irreversible processes begun, the low murmur of pain, visceral and imagined, foreboding, fear, lock down, protect, daggers drawn, danders risen. Scare it away, wailing for the living and the half dead. The ultimate difference, the most inevitable of all, as sure as living, dead will be and probably too soon. Sooner than we expect, slower and more painful than we want. (silence and embodied sound)

Is the challenge of difference, between the self and boundaries, an acceptance of live and/or rejection of death; but surely the self must work to encompass both, to cooperate with and not be in conflict with life or death? As age presents the difference between the young and the old, what is that difference, grey hair, old bones, bereaved, bereft, a body in conflict with itself, how can that difference create a leaping off point for acceptance, collaboration and cooperation? What different forms of doing can create a

dialogue of difference?

 

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