at the edge of the space, on the border between observer and participant
A response to observing action is primary workshops and rehearsals (February 2016)
by Jai Arun Ravine
1. do what you need
I arrive at The Whole Shebang. The door is locked. No one told me the code. I push what I hope is a doorbell several times, with no response. I stand outside for 15 minutes in the cold. One of the participants arrives and lets me in.
Meg asks everyone to stand together in the center. Notice how cramped it feels. Then she asks us to move back and stand at the edges of the space. Notice how much more room you have.
I sit at the edge of the space with my water bottle, notebook and pen. I don’t expect to participate, but participation is suggested. A borrow a pair of dance pants from a friend.
2. action is primary
I’m the only person of color in a room full of white people. I sit at the edge of the space, trying to be as small as possible. This is not the first time I’ve noticed this kind of composition in my environment, but writing it down here makes it feel like an isolated event. When people come near me, I pull in my feet. My action is to observe from the outside. Even “inside,” my actions still feel like observations from the outside.