Katye Coe with Patricia Okenwa, Matthias Sperling, Hilary Kneale, and Siobhan Davies: Subject to Change; A Less Resilient Way. 16.03.2019, Siobhan Davies Studios, London.
Full confession: I arrive slightly late, panting as I make my way up from the thousand metres of escalators that comprise London’s metro exits, running wildly down the street through traffic, launching myself up the flights of stairs at the Siobhan Davies Studio.
When I reach the top, everyone is quiet, coupled up, eyes closed, touching each others‘ hand bones, delicately, deliberately, precisely, exploratively, as we listen to Hilary Kneale read Katye Coe’s text on bones. While there is a heavy dose of performative humbleness, some of the passages are deeply moving: a letter from a former student, read by Patricia Okenwa, details the complexities (and often injustices) of being a foreigner abroad, a pregnant woman, a dancing woman, and someone coping with coming off medication – a poignant line sings something to the effect of „we prepare the best we can, then we accept what happens, then we celebrate it“ – all of which is interspersed by Coe’s own insights from recent fieldwork in a hospice. Words to remember. Most exhilarating of all, though, is Coe’s still-in-progress final text which we heard with eyes closed on our backs, slightly shifting and moving through space, touching others, and letting go, as Coe speaks about the trappings of resilience, what bouncing back can mean (not being affected by that which you experience), and, most significant for me, working in a precarious artistic and economic climate and the relationship between resilience and capitalism – I feel emboldened to be tired, to be exhausted, to be broken down, to cry, to simply show that things in the world do affect me, that I cannot do everything, that I feel pain, that I see pain, that I cannot, and should not, always cope.