Movement Nine

Are you doing too much?

Is your ‘could do more’ somebody else’s ‘more than enough’?

Movement Eight

Pleasure // Erosion // Enhancement

I caught a virus in someone’s bed, inhaled a chemical that snuffed out some macula, and the ringing in my ears was howled into existence through speakers large and small. I’m thirty one years old.


Someone in the room of disability arts professionals (artists, funders, producers, thinkers) says that instead of the binary distinctions of ‘disabled vs. non-disabled’, it would be better to use ‘disabled vs. not-yet-disabled’ instead, since the incidence of disability rises sharply in old(er) age.


If we’re using the social model of disability (there are many models), the main form of disability I experience right now is primarily one of stigma, discrimination, and out-dated-attitudes. As long as I move in well-meaning, liberal, left-leaning circles, I don’t really experience any of that. And I mostly move in well-meaning, liberal, left-leaning circles, which could be a problem (see: ‘echo chamber’).


I sit in the room of disability arts professionals (artists, funders, producers, thinkers) with my undetectable virus, the undiagnosed streaks of afterimage in my eyes and a dial-up Internet tone rippling beneath the surface noise, and I wonder if I’m disabled // intermittently-disabled // not-yet-disabled // not-at-all-disabled if I choose to move in certain spaces only (that choice may get taken away).


I have a watch, a present for my 21st birthday, chipped and scratched but still beautiful. My body tells the time, and I feel the gouges.

Movement Seven


Movement Six

No one tells a baby how to move. A quote I seem to remember from last year’s The Space In Between. The source escapes me. The irony of calling these blogs ‘movements’ when my body is sedentary most of the working day does not escape me.

I’m wondering (out loud) what a movement practice means to me: largely untrained, self-directed and existing outside of institutions. Come Closer was not my first engagement with movement and gesture, but it was the first where I thought about it a lot. In the absence of virtuosity, I went for specificity. Guiding myself in the absence of professional training, I (have to) place an emphasis on what feels good in my body.

Who gets to call you a professional dancer?


Movement Five

here I am                                                              shirtless and earnest
angled so the light accentuates the fruit
of me                                                                     the nub of me

splatted on the screen                                       flecks of savoury sweat

then pretence falls away
like the house-front
that almost crushed
Buster Keaton

my one year old niece
already knows what a phone is for


Movement Four

“What this baggy plaid shirt really needs is lots of Harley Davidson motorcycles printed all over it,” thought someone, somewhere, and the man sitting opposite me on the Overground agreed.

Movement Three

I’m standing in the kitchen of Chisenhale Dance Space, bitching to P- and R- about hours spent on application forms that yield commiserations and well-wishes; about the prospect of chatting up programmers and artistic directors over coffee and email chains in order to ‘get this show on the road’, conversations that will go unpaid whatever the outcome. It sounds and tastes like sour grapes. But the same travails await you, pilgrim of performance.

As I sit looking out of a window of the building,
I wish I did not have to write the instruction manual on the uses of a new metal.”

– John Ashbery, The Instruction Manual

“I could go do something else…” (I could go sit in the sunshine, I think to myself) “I could go sit in the sunshine!” The words leap like seven labrador puppies out of my mouth. Do I seem a bit manic? P- and R-‘s eyes are wide with something.

“I look down into the street and see people, each walking with an inner peace,
And envy them—they are so far away from me!”

Is freedom really freedom if you feel obligated to do something with it? The only form and function of these movements is to experience some freedom of thought. Writing for writing’s sake, if you will. I would like to build a space where I don’t have to worry if they will come, whoever they are.


“Pyrography: Poem and Portrait of John Ashbery II,” Larry Rivers, 1977.

Movement Two

I have plenty of ideas. It’s just that none of them have come to me yet.

I overslept by two hours, and then stayed in bed watching clips of Starship Troopers on YouTube for half an hour. Soldiers torn to shreds by giant bugs. Maybe that’s why I’m in a bad mood.

R- and I walked down the canal between Angel and Broadway Market yesterday, springing grotesque shadows on the towpath as we walked East. We talked about ourselves, our friends, and how it might be possible to survive pursuing a [whisper it] creative career.

Apparently, in America, freelancer is now a job role in and of itself. Not even freelance marketer. Just freelancer. What do you do? I freelance.

But I have to check the veracity of whatever my friends tell me on the Internet nowadays, because I realised how frequently I parrot whatever I hear, and this is the closest I found in one minute of browsing: “Freelancers predicted to become the U.S. workforce majority within a decade, with nearly 50% of millennial workers already freelancing, annual “Freelancing in America” study finds.” So not exactly, but still.

I wonder if this Movement will find a form as it goes along, an open brief being the enemy (?) of creativity, and the enemy of captivity. An open brief, open briefly.

Bruce Chatwin writes in Songlines that ‘Melody’ comes from the Greek melos for ‘limb’. That contradicts the Internet source I’ve found which says melos means ‘song’. Who do I believe? Both could be true. Limbs can be songs.

Maybe ask one of the several people I know who actually speak Greek, and not trust the Internet.

Never trust the Internet.


Movement One

Promotional sunset inset [Ekkehard Ehlers ‘Plays John Cassavetes 2]

There is form and function.

There is form and function.

None that would satisfy the great arts objectives, which are:

  • a) warm-fuzzy-feeling (for having generously funded the urgent and meaningful advancement of an urgent and meaningful topic)
  • b) money-spinning (in a commercial albeit slightly edgy way)
  • c) oh god, prop our hobbled organisational budget for the financial year

Still, there is a form and function and movement.

Of one thing you can be sure: there will be no genial conversations with arts programmers here because although they are lovely people, trying to do big things, a train journey for a free coffee and some hope and disappointment, well…

A blog in lieu of a career in lieu of a garden.



Big Other on Tate n Lyle’s Radio Play

Earlier this year I was invited by Paul and Rohanne at Tate n Lyle to contribute something to Radio Play: their quarterly radio broadcast where they present the creations of artists working across many, many different disciplines, reflect and speculate, and crack the overly-polished patina of so many other podcasts out there.

I really recommend listening: in this most recent episode I’ve discovered the work of John Giorno, whose faggy Beat Buddhist performance poetry conjures images of Allen Ginsberg eating Steve Reich’s ass while the latter twists some dials on a synthesiser. I really hope you’ll check out the whole episode, and all of Paul and Rohanne’s back catalogue too, because that’s what I’m going to do.


Anyway, since I started making work with Gemma Nash (as part of CUTTER // NASH) in early 2018, sound has become a big part of my practice, and I’m thinking about how I can branch out further into sound design / sound art. As invitations go, it was incredibly timely. I had a week-long residency at The Marlborough Pub & Theatre in Brighton in February, and with some time and space to start making something new, this is what I came up with.

The Big Other (or simply Big Other, depending on how I’m feeling about the word ‘the’) is a 6 minute track that’s primarily a way of me getting to know the capabilities of Ableton, the music software I’m using, a little better. I really like how Oneohtrix Point Never describes themselves as a science fiction music maker. He invents genres with names like hypergrunge. What would this be: electrodirge?

The piece evolved out of downloading and playing with Sam Kidel’s Voice Recognition Denial of Service patch. It’s a combination of phatic noises and rapidly shifting reverb that plays over your voice, a way of ‘disabling the silicon ear’, foiling voice recognition technology’s ability to eavesdrop on us. You can hear it from about 2 minutes in. I then took the reverb patch and applied it to a drum track. You can find out more about Sam’s work here.

This coincided with first learning about the term ‘surveillance capitalism’. I won’t go into detail about what SC is, but in a nutshell: companies like Google use the data we produce to predict and automate our future behaviour via an insidious information architecture that exiles us from our own realities. The phrase ‘Big Other’ describes this architecture, and the term resonated with me for its poetic qualities.

I decided to play with singing through autotune for the way it automates, predicts and corrects the voice, and riffed some text around the idea of being exiled from yourself and your environment (‘useless juices’, ‘lifeless piazza’ etc). I ran some simple MIDI notes from Ableton through my MicroKorg and played with the filters to create the sound of something hyperventilating and blossoming into something inescapable.

I wanted a contrast to the neat and tidy auto-tuned voice. Gemma and I have been talking lots about how we can use technology to move away from vocal normativity into something queerer, stranger. I added some Max for Live randomisers to a pitch-shifter and erosion sound effect to create this shifting, restless, difficult to pin-down voice, and recited the text. I manually made the pitch go way off a couple of times in post-production, at points where I think it needed to emphasise something.

There are one or two accidental Easter eggs. I’ve no idea where the little ‘beep’ at 00:10 comes from, and the second ‘beep’ at 03:34 comes from a pop-up notification on my laptop that was picked up by my mic whilst recording. I love the timing after ‘Data Kink’. I think it’s great.

And that’s it. As I mentioned, I’m really interested in what it would be like to work as a sound designer or composer for other people’s projects. If you like what you hear and / or my thought processes, hit me up.

Gareth Cutter, with thanks to Sam Kidel’s DoS patch.