october process

I have been busy preparing for my performance and show which is on the 19th of October.

The performance is open to the public, although people have to rsvp since parking is limited. Axle Contemporary, an arts organization located in Santa Fe is sponsoring and hosting the event. Here is a link to their website: http://axleart.com/index/Home.html

I am giving several 10 minute performances throughout the afternoon. For the past month I have been working on choreographing this performance. It includes several difficult elements strung together by controlled paces and salutes on the wire with various reclining positions. Two of these elements are still uncertain and are not where I would like them to be for public presentation. I may stumble or fall during the execution of some of the intricate sections. This is a challenge for me, but at the same time, it is the reality of any performance. Wire walking is notoriously uncertain and it is not uncommon for a performer to lose his or her balance and have to clutch onto the wire to arrest a fall. Last year in China an acrobat named Aisikaier fell and was unable to grab the wire while attempting to cross a gorge walking backwards while blindfolded. Luckily, or rather miraculously, he plummeted several hundred feet into dense forest and emerged with only minor scraps and bruises.

On a high wire one becomes the prisoner of a small morsel of “ground” No wider than a thumb, the wire finds a place deep in the sole of your foot, securely seating itself between the bones of the ball mound. The wire comes alive pulsing swaying and twisting in response to one’s movements. The balance is no longer generated by the muscles of the foot and toes as it is on the ground, but it is instead a dynamic dance which demands the entire body to be quick and gentle. The eyes should be steady and clear, the muscles and bones awake. The breathe should be long like the wire itself. One would be better off without the mind’s fascination, the commentary upon its attempt to control the chaos of such a balance. The desire for balance does not help. “I want to find balance and stop struggling,” says the mind and the body trembles in anticipation. So you think you can find the stillness of a perfect balance? What about the blood rushing through your veins? The very realization that such a thing has happened will destroy it in the next moment. Instead, it is better not to think at all. Try to avoid making the comparison between then and now, success and failure, but instead to feel. This is the hardest attention to maintain, harder still while in front of an audience. Soon I find out whether I can transcend the terror of an audience, or give a performance which is less than my potential. I hope that when the moment comes, I find stillness of mind and depth of feeling. My fear of the performance is beginning to turn into a curiosity. What will happen?


Jamie Hamilton Highwire_002
Jamie Hamilton Highwire_007


Photos: Nick Merrick, © Hedrick Blessing

In addition to the performance, I have set a smaller net (which I wove last month) low to the ground for guests to climb onto and experience the feeling of suspension which is both fascinating and fun. I look forward to seeing how people interact with the net. Does it evoke playfulness, fear, or timidity?

bruce  jamie little net little net  cable balls

little net splice ring detail


 A small practice rope will be tensioned several feet from the ground so those who wish can have a go at balancing on a tight rope. I can also provide advice and help those aspiring to balance on the rope without a helping hand. I always enjoy teaching, and am looking forward to helping people explore their balance!

The fourth element of the show is an art “pavilion,” constructed of two tarps. One creates a canopy. The other becomes a vertical wall for hanging my drawings under this shelter. Seeing the tarps together, the completed structure looks a little like Corbusier’s Ronchamps, which never occurred to me on the drawing table. In this space, drawings and prints will be attached to the vertical tarp with a sandwich of magnets. I like the idea of a place to show art which is a portable structure. The form is architecturally beautiful to me and I am excited to explore setting it up in a park and having a pop up show.

tarp pavilion


drawings detailThe research element of my project has been a bit on hold this month because of the intense building and rehearsal necessary to prepare for this show. After the performance I am looking forward to taking a break from madly building and rigging to working more reflectively and reopening the books which I think especially interesting to my project. The first book on the list is Nicola Tesla’s autobiography. I also want to explore Alberts Einstein’s work on space, time, and the fabric of reality. John Burrow’s comment at the last winter residency, “it strikes me that the medium you are working with is gravity itself,” stills floats about in my mind and I think that some research into the nature of gravity and time is now important. These two invisible forces permeate matter and weave everything together. The more I think about them and John’s comment the more I think he was seeing something important in my corporeal and structural explorations.