Karma Dance: Make Bad Art


Transcript:

[00:00:17] [Indian music playing]

 

Raina: [00:00:28] Hi, I'm Raina Peterson,

 

Govind: [00:00:30] And I'm Govind Pillai.

 

[00:00:32] (Raina)
and we are Karma Dance.

 

[00:00:34] We're both trained in classical Indian dance, 
but in different forms of it.

 

[00:00:38] I'm trained in Mohiniyattam, which comes from
Kerala, India.

 

[00:00:42] (Govind)
And I'm trained in Bharatanatyam,

 

[00:00:44] which comes from the south of India.

 

[00:00:46] (Raina)
And we use our training in classical Indian dance

 

[00:00:49] to create experimental dance works,
exploring the themes of gender, sexuality, diaspora,

 

[00:00:54] colonialism, time, and other cool things.

 

[00:00:59] [Indian music playing]

 

[00:01:04]  (Raina)
We've created four full-length works:

 

[00:01:07] Our first was In Plain Sanskrit, which premiered here 
at Footscray Community Centre in 2015,

 

[00:01:13] And that was an experimental classical Indian dance
work exploring diaspora and tradition.

 

[00:01:19] The second was Bent Bollywood, which came out
in 2018, and that was a queer Indian dance...

 

[00:01:31] How can I describe that? 

 

[00:01:33] (Govind)
Cabaret style.

 

[00:01:34] (Raina)
Yeah, exploring the themes of gender and sexuality.

 

[00:01:41] Then there was Third Nature, at Arts House
which was an experimental dance work 

 

[00:01:47] where we had hundreds of strands of Jasmine
and we used this gorgeous set. A Jungle of Jasmine.

 

[00:01:56] (Govind)
We had about one kilometre of Jasmine.

 

[00:01:59] (Raina)
Yeah, yeah.

 

[00:02:01] (Govind)
A quarter of a ton. 

 

[00:02:03] (Raina)
It was a lot! And it was really beautiful!

 

[00:02:05] So we used that to create a fantasy world 
without binaries.

 

[00:02:13] And last November,
At Footscray Community Centre.

 

[00:02:16] As part of the Due West Arts festival, we had Kāla ,
which is a classical Indian dance about death.

 

[00:02:23] (Govind)
Our practice also includes teaching.

 

[00:02:26] So we run one of the largest classical Indian
dance academies established in the 2000s in Australia.

 

[00:02:32] And we train children from the ages of four,
all the way to professional artists that are hoping to either

 

[00:02:38] expose themselves to classical Indian dance,
or from a different discipline,

 

[00:02:42] or to develop a practice of their own in the art,

 

[00:02:45] (Raina)
And yoga.

 

[00:02:47] [Indian music playing]

 

[00:02:53] (Govind)
So I started dancing when I was about seven,

 

[00:02:55] But I took a really long break through my teenage years,

 

[00:02:58] I guess I was sort of finding my place as a male assigned 
at birth dancer, in a predominantly female discipline 

 

[00:03:06] and was a little bit cautious about how I identified
with my dance form,

 

[00:03:11] and didn't really find a place I could just slot into.

 

[00:03:14] So I stepped away for most of my teenage years,
but realised there was something missing 

 

[00:03:20] that was so core to me,
and I had to rediscover it again.

 

[00:03:24] So I was about nineteen, twenty, 
and through to twenty one, 

 

[00:03:28] when I started formally training in classical Indian dance
and really reconnected with something,

 

[00:03:33] that I feel I'd left behind for too long.

 

[00:03:36] From there I think meeting Raina and
dancing classical Indian dance,

 

[00:03:41] as well as looking at what else it can be, 
has not just been a profession or a kind of art pursuit,

 

[00:03:48] but it has also helped me discover who I am, 

 

[00:03:52] as I've explored the intersection of classical dance
with sexuality and identity,

 

[00:03:59] And finding kinship in collaborators,
and others like Raina, that I can work with.

 

[00:04:05] (Raina)
So I was born and raised on Gurnaikurnai land, in Gippsland.

 

[00:04:12] I'm Fiji Indian, and for some reason 
a lot of other Fiji Indian migrants 

 

[00:04:18] are located throughout Gippsland. 
I don't know why.

 

[00:04:21] We found each other, and all the adults wanted the kids 
to stay connected with their culture,

 

[00:04:32] Because it's really intense growing up as a person of colour in regional Victoria.

 

[00:04:38] So they wanted us to retain a connection to our culture.

 

[00:04:42] So we had dance lessons for the kids.

 

[00:04:45] Every year for Diwali, we would do a dance
performance as part of a little concert celebration.

 

[00:04:53] So that's how I started dancing and I loved it.

 

[00:04:57] When I was eleven or twelve, we ran out of aunties 
who were willing to take on the task of teaching us dance.

 

[00:05:05] So my parents were like, 'okay, let's
sign the kids up for a classical Indian dance class.'

 

[00:05:10] And kind of randomly they saw
an article about Taraj Kumar's latest show.

 

[00:05:19] And they said 'oh, yeah, let's go to that!'

 

[00:05:21] It was awesome!

 

[00:05:23] So they signed us up and I started learning
Mohiniyattam from Taraj Kumar. Just randomly. 

 

[00:05:29] My parents didn't really know
what Mohiniyattam was

 

[00:05:32] or how it was different to any other classical Indian dance.

 

[00:05:35] So Mohiniyattam is actually 
a quite obscure dance form.

 

[00:05:40] It's very popular in Kerala, it's State of Origin
 but it's not very popular anywhere else.

 

[00:05:48] And there's hardly anyone who teaches it in Australia.

 

[00:05:50] So it's really random that
I'm learning this obscure art form.

 

[00:05:54] I started learning when I was twelve 
and I just love the the art form.

 

[00:06:04] When I was at uni, me and couple of my friends, 
we were very frustrated by the racism that we

 

[00:06:13] were experiencing in the world and we
thought 'Let's do something about this'

 

[00:06:17] You know 'what should we do?'

 

[00:06:18] Should we organise a forum?

 

[00:06:22] Should we publish something?

 

[00:06:23] 'What are we going to do?' 
And one of us said 'Let's do a cabaret show'.

 

[00:06:26] 'Of course! It's a great idea!'

 

[00:06:28] And so, we did an Antiracist Cabaret show.

 

[00:06:32] We performed that,

 

[00:06:35] And then I started performing around 
the queer scene as well.

 

[00:06:41] That was the start of my professional performance life.

 

[00:06:45] And then one day I found out about a classical Indian 
dance performance that was coming to Melbourne.

 

[00:06:56] And thought 'who is this person? Govind Pillai?'

 

[00:07:00] 'I don't know who this is'

 

[00:07:04] I had something on that night and I wasn't sure 
whether I could make it.

 

[00:07:08] But this this Govind guy was pretty slick
and he had a trailer for the show,

 

[00:07:13] And watching the trailer

 

[00:07:14] I thought it looked nice.

 

[00:07:16] I could check that out.

 

[00:07:17] And then I saw the Youtube recommended videos,

 

[00:07:21] and was an interview with Govind and his sister, Sandya,

 

[00:07:25] Who was in the performance as well.

 

[00:07:27] So as I was watching the trailer, they were
talking to the camera and then Govind says three words.

 

[00:07:35] And I thought 'oh my God, he's gay!'

 

[00:07:38] I was so excited! So excited to know there was
another classical Indian dancer who was gay.

 

[00:07:45] So I decided I'm definitely going to this show now.

 

[00:07:48] We went to the show with my partner,

 

[00:07:51] Watched it, and it was amazing.

 

[00:07:54] Afterwards I went and said 'Hi, Govind.
My name is Raina Peterson.'

 

[00:07:58] I'm a Mohiniyattam dancer, we should work together'.

 

[00:08:01] And Govind is thinking 'I don't know 
who you are... what is this?'

 

[00:08:06] But also he's very polite.

 

[00:08:08] And then I introduced my partner, my girlfriend.

 

[00:08:15] So Govind introduces his partner as well.

 

[00:08:22] And so we both kind of...

 

[00:08:25] (Govind)
...Had this little secret conversation

 

[00:08:26] about sexual orientation in the classical Indian 
space, which was quite special, actually.

 

[00:08:34] It really was. Even just to find a classical Indian
dancer in Australia that was interested in a similar thing,

 

[00:08:40] And then to have a kinship, 
I think was pretty special.

 

[00:08:47] (Raina)
And I was right. We should work together.

 

[00:08:50] And we did.

 

[00:08:51] It was great.

 

[00:08:54] So we started off by performing little gigs here and there.

 

[00:08:58] We were really keen to do all this stuff 
that we weren't paid properly for, [Chuckles]

 

[00:09:04] But we just loved working with each other 
and trying new things.

 

[00:09:10] I think an important moment for us was when we went to the Malaka Arts and Performance Festival in Malaysia.

 

[00:09:16] And being in a different country allowed us
to loosen up a bit and just try new things. 

 

[00:09:25] And try doing the stuff that
totally go down well in a festival.

 

[00:09:30] And that would not fly for our 
classical Indian dance community, necessarily.

 

[00:09:37] So we got to play with some ideas and think
about what was actually important and interesting to us

 

[00:09:45] And make some weird stuff.

 

[00:09:48] (Govind)
I think we moved our practice through that,

 

[00:09:51] From 'What is classical Indian dance?,
'What is that training and our practice?' 

 

[00:09:56] To 'who are we?'

 

[00:09:57] We started asking the questions around, 

 

[00:10:00] Who are we, and how
does that manifest in our practice,

 

[00:10:02] Because we didn't have the watchful eyes of, 
you know, the places we grew up in. So we came back unleashed.

 

[00:10:12] (Raina) 
And actually, it was from the Arts and Performance. 

 

[00:10:18] Festival that had the seeds of what became 
'In Plain Sanskrit'

 

[00:10:24] Being able to play and give yourself permission to 
just be weird is what really helped us to. 

 

[00:10:35] find our creative voice, and find what 
was important to us creatively.

 

[00:10:41] The work that we are actually most proud of
is Bent Bollywood,

 

[00:10:50] Which premiered in 2018 at the Brunswick Mechanics Institute,

 

[00:10:56] and it's a queer South Asian dance show.

 

[00:11:03] And we use classical Indian dance, and Bollywood, and queer performance art to create a work about gender and sexuality.

 

[00:11:13] And we were so scared making it. It was the scariest 
show ever made because, we were using classical Indian dance,

 

[00:11:22] Which is High Culture.

 

[00:11:24] It's just held as this very solemn, sacred tradition.

 

[00:11:30] And we're using this art form that we've
inherited to make a gay, slutty dance show.

 

[00:11:40] We were really scared and
we had a lot of doubt.

 

[00:11:44] Asking ourselves 'Can we do this?'

 

[00:11:48] 'Are people going to hate this?'

 

[00:11:50] 'Are we going to get in trouble for this?'

 

[00:11:52] But there was something telling us this
is important, because queer South Asians exist.

 

[00:12:02] We felt like there was something in this work that was
really calling to be to be created.

 

[00:12:12] And so, we created it. 
With a lot of fear, but we we created it.

 

[00:12:18] And it was the most rewarding thing ever,
because we got incredible feedback from people,

 

[00:12:27] particularly from queer South Asians, but even queer people
of colour in general,

 

[00:12:32] saying things like how moved they were by the show,
because it was really powerful for them,

 

[00:12:42] To be able to see that being queer and being ethnic
are not mutually exclusive categories.

 

[00:12:50] That there is queerness in tradition and tradition in queerness and those things,

 

[00:12:56] Being queer and being ethnic 
are not mutually exclusive categories.

 

[00:13:01] So we've got incredible feedback about that.
And we've just been shortlisted for a stance award.

 

[00:13:09] (Govind)
And we were so scared about losing community, 

 

[00:13:12] because community is so important to artists.

 

[00:13:14] And we all work so hard to build community
and collaborators and experiences. 

 

[00:13:18] to the point where old Govind from those days 
went through my Facebook account 

 

[00:13:24] And carved all my community into two buckets,

 

[00:13:28] Ones that I would promote Bent Bollywood to, and the ones
that I wouldn't for fear of loss of community. 

 

[00:13:35] And I would never do that now, but I had to go through 
that feeling of. 

 

[00:13:40] 'I'm going to lose community through my practice.'

 

[00:13:43] 'What am I going to do? 
Community is important for art.'

 

[00:13:46] But then what we've realised over the years, Raina and I 
have talked about it so much to understand, 

 

[00:13:52] why we have a strong community today,
strong collaborators.

 

[00:13:56] And I think it's because we haven't followed the
textbook approach around building community,

 

[00:14:00] Which is so deliberate and so strategic and
very focused and targeted.

 

[00:14:08] What we've done is being very authentic with our work
and just try to make what we can

 

[00:14:13] in the face of the fear of loss of community. 

 

[00:14:15] And that has allowed instead of building community, 
for communities to come and find us.

 

[00:14:20] It's a longer journey, but it's more sustainable.

 

[00:14:22] And I think audience and community development that
comes from being really true to your form,

 

[00:14:28] allowing yourself to be found by your community,
will last a longer time and is a lot more

 

[00:14:35] rewarding and fulfilling.

 

[00:14:37] (Raina)
Also, with Bent Bollywood we have tested it and 

 

[00:14:47] before launching Bent Bollywood, we've actually performed
excerpts of it at places like Unicorn's. 

 

[00:14:54] And the Cocoa Butter Club. Queer parties and people
of colour art spaces to test stuff

 

[00:15:02] and to see what what people's vibe is,
how people are kind of responding to that.

 

[00:15:08] So we're not creating work in isolation necessarily.
There's still contact with community. 

 

[00:15:18] 
We still have the feeders out to allow them to inform us about the work, to see what is needed and to feel that.

 

[00:15:27] [Indian music playing]

 

[00:15:35] First tip:
Making art is to make bad art.

 

[00:15:40] We make very bad art... 
No, I'm Kidding [Both laugh]. We make great art.

 

[00:15:45] But I think it's important to allow yourself
to make that art and to make mistakes.

 

[00:15:51] It's through exploration, play, fun and
silliness that you can come up with some really cool (ideas).

 

[00:16:00] Just try new things and innovate,
explore and tease apart what's actually important.

 

[00:16:06] So embracing play and connecting with curiosity is really important in art making.

 

[00:16:17] And it's also important to not take yourself too seriously
and to hold your practice too solemnly,

 

[00:16:25] As classical Indian dancers that's been quite difficult for us. Our art forms are very, very traditional.

 

[00:16:36] So it's been actually quite difficult 
to try and unpack it a little bit 

 

[00:16:43] And to ask questions of what is actually
essential to this work and what's important to us.

 

[00:16:49] This is how we've been working, and obviously 
there are some traditions where 

 

[00:16:55] it's important to seek permission 
and to consult with elders.

 

[00:17:03] But for us, allowing ourselves to be silly 
and have fun has allowed us to crack ourselves open,

 

[00:17:14] to crack our art practice open, and find out what's inside. 

 

[00:17:18] [Indian Music Playing]

 

[00:17:24] Our second tip is about ideas. The thing with ideas is 
that it's perhaps more about quantity than quality.

 

[00:17:32] So with Raina and I, we often have a thousand
ideas we say and a lot of them are really bad.

 

[00:17:39] But amongst them there are a few gems.

 

[00:17:41] And those gems have actually ended up turning into
the works that we've made today.

 

[00:17:46] And it might sound a little basic,
but with every idea, write it down and commit it to paper,

 

[00:17:53] Because our brain has this way of filtering
things out for us that perhaps shouldn't be.

 

[00:17:57] So we might filter ideas out for various
reasons: 

 

[00:18:02] Viability, you might say, 
'oh, I don't know if that's even possible'.

 

[00:18:04] It might be for reasons of judgment, or things that you're judging yourself about, or what you think others might think. 

 

[00:18:13] So, before you even get a chance to
filter them out, put them down on paper,

 

[00:18:16] Capture those ideas, because if you close the door on
ideas, they might not come knocking back again.

 

[00:18:22] And the greatest asset you can have is a breadth
of ideas and potential creative pursuits,

 

[00:18:30] or angles, perspectives, or options to then play with. 

 

[00:18:36] [Indian Music]

 

[00:18:43] Our next hot tip is to keep the creation and criticism
processes separate.

 

[00:18:49] So there's a time for editing, refining 
and evaluating what you've come up with.

 

[00:18:54] But it's not when you're creating 
and having fun and playing. 

 

[00:18:58] So have fun and be silly; generate your ideas.
Make art with abandon. 

 

[00:19:02] And then, afterwards, you can refine and reduce.

 

[00:19:06] (Govind)
I think words like abandon and silliness,

 

[00:19:08] what they do is, they allow you
to connect with the joy in your art practice.

 

[00:19:13] And it is work for a lot of us, 
but there's fun there as well,

 

[00:19:17] And that's been a big source
of pleasure for us over the years. 

 

[00:19:22] (Indian Music)

 

[00:19:27] The next hot tip we have is that
perfection can be the enemy of good.

 

[00:19:33] Some say perfection can be the enemy of progress.

 

[00:19:36] So don't be too hung up or invested
in trying to get the perfect outcome early.

 

[00:19:46] The last bit of perfection of that journey
from 85 to 100 percent is often the hardest,

 

[00:19:51] and where you end up investing so much energy for very
little.

 

[00:19:56] So knowing where to cut your work or to stand back and say
'it's good enough',

 

[00:20:05] will allow you to progress and then involve ideas rather
than trying to get them perfect.

 

[00:20:10] It reminds me of a beautiful
story my grandfather told me.

 

[00:20:12] He took me around to the grounds of a temple in
South India where there were about three or four elephants

 

[00:20:17] playing in the sand in the temple.

 

[00:20:19] And the elephants had this practice of drawing patterns in the
sand and they would just while away their time doing that. 

 

[00:20:28] They'd leave these beautiful imprints in the
sand with their trunks.

 

[00:20:32] And if you spent enough time watching them, each
of them knew and had a particular point in time

 

[00:20:37] when they just stopped, and they got up and moved on.

 

[00:20:41] They had formed an idea in their minds that the
work was done, that it was finished.

 

[00:20:46] And they could have gone on forever.
There's no boundaries in this practice that they had,

 

[00:20:52] but they all had an innate sense of
'when is good enough'.

 

[00:20:56] And that's always reminded me about how you can
go on forever, but at some point 'it's good enough'.

 

[00:21:02] (Indian Music Playing)

 

[00:21:09] Our next tip is to have a think about how the
audience may experience the work.

 

[00:21:14] So as artists we spend a lot of time looking inward
and introspecting, trying to express what's inside.

 

[00:21:22] But it's also important to spend some time thinking 
about how the audience might experience the work,

 

[00:21:28] and how they might connect with the work.

 

[00:21:30]  We're both classical Indian dancers,

 

[00:21:32] and as classical Indian dancers we're performing an art form
that a lot of our audience may not be very well acquainted with,

 

[00:21:43] So by necessity we have to think about how we make work
so that audiences can connect and engage with it,

 

[00:21:54] and not feel too lost and have some sense of
understanding and connection with the work.

 

[00:21:59] Emotion is also an important part
of our work, as well.

 

[00:22:03] We think about how we feel and how
we want the audience to feel and how we can connect

 

[00:22:11] with the audience and the
emotional journey of the work.

 

[00:22:14] So feelings are quite important to us.

 

[00:22:17] (Govind)
I remember when we were making third nature that,

 

[00:22:21] Like most artists we charted out on a whiteboard
the flow of the show.

 

[00:22:25] So we said, 'this is happening, and
that's happening, and then this is happening'.

 

[00:22:28] And then we kind of actively went,
'But what's the audience feeling?' 

 

[00:22:35] And it wasn't explicit, but most of our conversations
ended up being about what the journey was in

 

[00:22:42] the room for the people, apart
from the artists and the creators.

 

[00:22:46] And we only realised that when we were making
our next show, which is in a digital space.

 

[00:22:53] We found that one of the strengths that we were transposing from that that experience,

 

[00:22:58] we were thinking about how is the audience
going to experience this digitally,

 

[00:23:02] and how do we play to that and ensure 
we give them a journey.

 

[00:23:06] Thinking about everyone except those that are
the creators, at some point in the work, is really powerful.

 

[00:23:14] (Raina)
And following on from the idea of perfection,
it's also important to note that making art

 

[00:23:21] Is not a perfect moment in time.
It's a cumulative journey.

 

[00:23:25] You've got your training in your artistic practice,
but you've also got your life experiences,

 

[00:23:33] Your story and your your skills,
and your emotional intelligence.

 

[00:23:38] And you can rely on them. You're using all of these things 
to create and you can rely on them.

 

[00:23:43] It can be useful to identify and create the optimum 
conditions for all these things to nourish you.

 

[00:23:54] Create those conditions and relax, and open yourself up to them allowing them to nourish you and help you make your work.

 

[00:24:04] (Govind)
I think the beautiful thing about recognising the
cumulative nature of the journey is that

 

[00:24:10] we live in an environment that values novelty,
but values something new.

 

[00:24:15] So we always, as artists, feel
like we have to create something new.

 

[00:24:18] How is this different to my prior work, or how
does it grow my prior work,

 

[00:24:21] Or how is it different to what else there is.

 

[00:24:26] (Raina)
But like Raina says, if you know it's a cumulative journey
and the word seeds that you used,

 

[00:24:33] makes a lot of sense to me, because they're
seeds that you've planted in a prior work or in a

 

[00:24:38] conversation you had with your mother in law that taught
you something, or your child, or your sister, 

 

[00:24:43] or your brother, or your sibling, that that you can draw
on their seeds just planted through your life

 

[00:24:48] that you can you can harvest in work.

 

[00:24:52] Even my guru once said to me, don't hesitate to perform the same thing over and over, and over, and over again,

 

[00:25:01] because each time it evolves differently as 
different layers add.

 

[00:25:06] and as you're growing your practice. 

 

[00:25:08] (Indian Music Playing)

 

[00:25:16] So for a contest of ideas, it's important to
have diversity, of course, that's well understood,

 

[00:25:22] But it's really important to have an alignment of
ideas, as well,

 

[00:25:25] and having people in the mix that create a safe space 
for ideas to evolve that you do align with.

 

[00:25:31] And the two together make powerful collaborations.

 

[00:25:35] (Raina) 
And also alignment of values, 

 

[00:25:39] Prioritising relationships and process over outcome. 

 

[00:25:42] (Music Indian Playing)

 

[00:25:49] (Raina) 
So this is an activity that you can do. 

 

[00:25:52] It is a 10 minute quickie.
I want you to do is get a piece of paper

 

[00:25:58] and write down all of your creative ideas, 
it doesn't matter how half-formed they are,

 

[00:26:03] Just write them all down, even if it's just
a theme or an image,

 

[00:26:07] Or a question that you're trying to answer in your work.

 

[00:26:09] Just write down all your creative ideas
and then cut them all out from the piece of paper,

 

[00:26:15] And fold them up, put them in a hat, shake the hat,

 

[00:26:19] Do a little lucky dip and read what you wrote.

 

[00:26:24] And then you set a timer for ten minutes,
and you've got ten minutes to make an art about this. 

 

[00:26:31] Ten minutes! No more!

 

[00:26:33] See what you can create in ten minutes,
and you'll probably find that you can create quite a lot

 

[00:26:40] more than than you think.

 

[00:26:42] And I think it'sh hving these limitations are also good
because ityou know kind of because you know, that you are limited,

 

[00:26:49] and you know that you can't create a masterpiece in
ten minutes,

 

[00:26:52] Or maybe you can, who knows! Give it a shot.

 

[00:26:55] But it allows you to quiet down your perfectionism
and just do it.

 

[00:27:00] So that is my hot tip.
A ten minute cookie.

 

[00:27:03] (Govind)
I'm going to go try that.

 

[00:27:04] So I have a little tip of something 
you can try at home.

 

[00:27:09] And it's based on the idea that a lot of us
have so much to do as artists beyond our actual practice.

 

[00:27:15] These grand applications to write,
emails to follow up.

 

[00:27:18] There are videos to edit, profiles to fill in.

 

[00:27:22] There is so much work that is not your core practice, 
and this can feel really overwhelming.

 

[00:27:28] So, how can you address that and deal with that?

 

[00:27:30] A practice that I have is, when things get overwhelming, 
as they often will,

 

[00:27:35] I sit down and I choose a time horizon. 
Sometimes it's a day, a week,

 

[00:27:39] And I write all the activities that I'm thinking of doing,
down on a piece of paper,

 

[00:27:43] And I make sure each one has a separate line.

 

[00:27:46] And then next to each of those
activities, I draw an emoji.

 

[00:27:51] It might be a smiley face, it might be a sad
face, it might be my brain exploding 

 

[00:27:56] And it expresses my emotional attachment to the activity.
How I feel about it. 

 

[00:28:01] And what I end up doing is, I look at everything that has a negative energy associated with it,

 

[00:28:05] The stuff that's weighing me down,
the stuff that's not me prancing about in the studio,

 

[00:28:09] creating art, but is doing everything else
I need to do as an artist.

 

[00:28:13] And I ask myself a few questions.

 

[00:28:16] One question is, can I actually avoid doing that activity?

 

[00:28:20] Is it actually necessary?
How superfluous is it?

 

[00:28:25] And if it is, I try to find ways of eliminating that activity, because sometimes we create (extra) work for ourselves.

 

[00:28:31] The second thing I ask is, is there another way of going about it that I'll enjoy more?

 

[00:28:36] What alternative approaches are there
to doing that activity?

 

[00:28:40] And the third question I ask is, is there anyone
I can lean on, any resource, any person, any supporter,

 

[00:28:46] any collaborator to help me do that activity that might
be better at it,

 

[00:28:51] Might find more positivity and joy in that activity.

 

[00:28:53] And can I bring them in to support my practice?

 

[00:28:56] You'll be surprised, and I'm often always surprised 
that one of those three answers is often true.

 

[00:29:02] And I'm able to eliminate that of my
burdensome list of things to do.

 

[00:29:07] Sometimes it's not, it doesn't answer those questions and you
do have to deal with it, but you're dealing

 

[00:29:13] with a much smaller
list than what you started with.

 

[00:29:17] And eventually you end up with a list
that has more smiley faces [Chuckles].

 

[00:29:21] So, just consciously stopping to question your approaches
and clean the energy in your work profile is really helpful.

 

[00:29:32] (Raina)
I like the idea of checking in with how you feel emotionally

 

[00:29:36] about things, as opposed to forcing yourself to do it.

 

[00:29:38] Checking how you actually feel,

 

[00:29:41] And sometimes even acknowledging that 
'hey I feel shit' [Laughs] 

 

[00:29:48] And 'OK I feel very bad about this. I'm going to just...'

 

[00:29:55] 'I feel kind of crummy about this, but I'm going
to soldier on', but having that sort of recognition,

 

[00:30:01] acknowledgement and acceptance 
can feel like less resistance.

 

[00:30:10] (Govind) 
Often is about asking you to trust your intuition,

 

[00:30:14] Because the reason you're feeling icky about 
something is often because you don't have enough support, 

 

[00:30:19] Or it's too hard for you because maybe there is a 
skills gap and you need someone else at the table with you. 

 

[00:30:24] Or you are genuinely trying to do more work for
yourself because you're overdoing things,

 

[00:30:29] because you're an artist and you probably have an element 
of perfectionism about how you project manage your life.

 

[00:30:35] So it's right. Getting in tune with
yourself. And your intuition is possibly right.

 

[00:30:40] If you're not feeling good about an activity.

 

[00:30:46] (Raina)
So in our latest work, Drishti, which is at The Arts centre 
for Fringe, is part of a takeover program.

 

[00:30:55] I've got a little scene where 
I've got a metal bowl of water

 

[00:30:59] and I'm just moving my hand in it and it looks really cool.

 

[00:31:03] So I'm going to guide you through the
process of how you can do this at home,

 

[00:31:11] Because I really enjoy the process of coming up with that.

 

[00:31:16] I found it really like meditative and soothing.

 

[00:31:24] It really raised my awareness about how simple
things in my life can be a source of sensory delights

 

[00:31:36] And aesthetic beauty and pleasure.

 

[00:31:40] So what I would like you to do
is to grab a large metal bowl,

 

[00:31:46] If you happen to have one, or any other kind of receptacle,
even a sink would would be fine, and fill it with water.

 

[00:31:54] This is ideally done in a dark room, with a small source of light shining on the water, to add a cool lighting effect.

 

[00:32:06] And so, once you've got that set up, bring your
awareness to your hand. 

 

[00:32:12] A hand is really expressive. As classical Indian dancers, 
we have this whole gestural vocabulary with our hands.

 

[00:32:21] There's a lot of character that you can have in your hands. 

 

[00:32:28] You can move them so that they're really fluid and graceful,
or make sharp and pokey, and jagged movements.

 

[00:32:37] And try moving with different kinds of textures of
movements, like fluid and sharp,

 

[00:32:47] fast, slow, constant, erratic.

 

[00:32:52] So, just playing with your hands or even just one hand.

 

[00:32:54] And notice the kind of shapes and the movements,
and how it feels, how you can use these movements in

 

[00:33:00] your hands to express different emotional states or ideas.

 

[00:33:06] So play with your hands for a while and then,
with your bowl of water, slowly submerge your hand in

 

[00:33:15] and observe how your hand looks different under
water.

 

[00:33:23] And as you move your hand in the water, notice how the light shines off the water, and the different ripples that occur.

 

[00:33:33] Then see if you can make sound using your
hand and the water, like splashing it 

 

[00:33:40] or letting the water drop, bringing your awareness to 
the kind of sounds that you can create.

 

[00:33:48] And with all this knowledge that you now have,
all this playing that you've done,

 

[00:33:54] see if you can create a duet between
your hand and the water.

 

[00:34:00] Playing with the sound, the shapes, the movements,
the light and the colour.

 

[00:34:10] Playing with your hand in the water to explore
an awareness of light, colour, shape and sound,

 

[00:34:18] and also sensation; the feeling of your hand
in the water.

 

[00:34:22] And creating, creating beauty and expression through this simple act of putting your hand in a bowl of water.

 

[00:34:33] (Govind)
Thank you for watching, we hope you found 
the tips really useful!

 

[00:34:37] (Raina) 
And make bad art! 

 

[00:34:38] (Govind)
Do it!

 

[00:34:40] [Rhythmic Indian Music Playing]

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