Margaret Morris: Blog

During the Sponsored Artist Incubation period at High Concept Labs (Spring 2018) …

Margaret’s Original Intentions for Spring at HCL—

  1. Original Project Title—> All the Way Up/All the Way down later became All the Way In, and finally Quantum Negress Tantras.
  2. Dump out all the Drawers together—> Prior to HCL  Margaret’s own work exclusively used the body as medium, sometimes tightly choreographed and others improvised with varying levels of constraints.   She used her technically trained voice primarily in musical collaborations that were lead by others, but not in works that she authored. Though writing has always been an important step in her choreographic processes, she rarely incorporated the text into the performances themselves.   She decided to stop compartmentalizing her art practice and instead to integrate herself at HCL. She developed a process and product that honors her various channels. SUCCESS
  3. Perform a series of body based devised activations for the purpose of self healing built on the principle that perpetually increasing one’s pleasure from one moment to the next is a path to evolution.  SUCCESS and magically.
  4. Begin the research with a series of interviews with holistic health practitioners, identifying the through-lines among them and letting their wisdom inform her physical, sonic, and other conjurations MIXED  She immediately realized that the practitioners she really wanted to interview were magical practitioners rather than holistic health workers. In the process of transcribing interviews she decided instead to look toward her own story, identify the demons within, and release them in order to increase her capacity for pleasure both in movement and in life and thus to evolve.

 

What the project evolved into so far—

  1. Current Project Title:  Quantum Negress Tantras
  2. Margaret inhabits a witch character named Moonbones Evolutionary, who represents Margaret’s true nature/higher self.  ME’s ritual tools include Margaret’s body both choreographed and improvising, classically trained voice with self taught extended vocal techniques, text both written and improvised whose primary source is out loud conversations between Moonbones Evolutionary and Margaret while sweeping floors.  Margaret’s rituals at HCL consistently began with sweeping to rid the room of dusty ol’ ghosts that needed to get on outta there and make room for liminality and magic. These talks now manifest in the form of monologues, direct communication with spectators/participants, and providing them with instructions for how to help Moonbones with whatever particular magical activity she is doing in the moment for healing.  There’s a reason why witches and brooms are a thing 😉
  3. Margaret knew throughout the sponsorship that she was performing rituals—in solitary practice at HCL and at various public and private performances at Links Hall, HCL, and Gallery 400.  But, it wasn’t until after one such ritual at HCL’s Season Send Off that an angel from the audience came to Margaret and brought it to her attention that she had finally succeeded in making work within the genre to which she has aspired since childhood, the sigil*.  Margaret said way back when she was a shorty, “I wanna make magic, in front of people, with people.” Now that’s precisely what she’s doing.
  4. The source material for the performances is twofold.   One is journeying along pathways of pleasure through release of physical and mental tensions–cultivated through a personal practice of Somatic Pilates and Releasing which Margaret devised from her backgrounds practicing and  teaching yoga and pilates, and from her training somatic practices connected with release based modern and contemporary dance techniques. The other source is ME’s natural response to the demons she finds within Margaret, to create pragmatic steps towards their ritual transmutation.  Some of the steps so far have included:
  • transforming the weight of tears from the heaviness of grief to the lightness of joy     -using the perceptual distortion of a spiral—because spirals can be perceived to be going in two directions based on the way one chooses to orient—to move backwards in time through the portal of her DNA, and comfort her infant grandmother during a traumatic moment
  • transmuting defeatedness into determination by redacting certain words from an apology so that it becomes a testimony
  • vocalizing prolonged mournful cries and layering them on top of one another  (using a looping device) in harmonies that produce delight for the ears

 

*Sigil is one name among many for an image or sign that carries the essence of a particular desire and is then activated to manifest the desire’s object in three dimensional reality.  The first step in creating a sigil is to identify the desire. A desire that comes from deep in the marrow is most likely to be aligned with the practitioner’s true nature. Choosing a deep one is good.  Next create the sigil. In many cases this can include the steps one takes to turn a spoken spell into a symbol. In ME’s case the symbol has flesh and the steps are the score of an improvisational journey to release a demon while incepting a miracle.  Step three is to charge the sigil, which ME does through impassioned vocalization and pleasure driven embodiment. Last is to magnetize the experience into the unconscious and allow the mind let it go. Margaret is still working out the last part, but she knows it has something to do with faith that the rabbit is under the hat—whichever kind of rabbit the evolution of the moment requires.

During the Spring, Margaret also made her first doodle of a dance film, one activation among many under the same name, Quantum Negress Tantras.

Margaret is slated to live perform new iterations of Quantum Negress Tantras at Links Hall October 25th, 26th, and 28th.