Matter is lively. If you play the right frequency to your kitchen table, it will explode. Your discarded Coke can will fizz as it decomposes over decades. Your iron has a certain swagger as it glides over polyester.
We human animals prefer to think of ‘things’ as inanimate, preserving our dominance over the insentient world. Feeling Thing invites you to retrain your sensitivity to the liveliness of things. It asks you to listen more closely to your fridge and pay attention to the shifting moods of the cooker flame, to explore what happens if you are open to the vitality in things.
The camera captures 3 dances, 3 intimacies, 3 duets between object and dancer. Each partner autonomous, full of personality, vibrancy and agency, an equal match for each other, lovers if you will. The ASMR sound encourages you to listen closely and sense the life in them. This dance film invites you to lean into feeling as a sensory, illogical, uncanny space where all things are alive.
Those of us with the lived experience of disability may already know something of this potential intimacy, this strange kinship, as we dance the daily duet between our bodies and the people, objects and technologies that support us. This film seeks to challenge the prevailing view of bodily autonomy or what Mel Y Chen calls ‘the fiction of independence and uninterruptability’, instead celebrating a new kind of interdependence between our bodies and the world which surrounds us.
Are we allowed to feel this way about things…these non human ‘thing’ things? If we could embrace a radical interdependence of all things, how would we change how we live together? Perhaps we would do less harm. At the very least we would reintroduce ourselves to things around us and experience them as the dancing, feeling things they are.
About Jo Bannon
Jo Bannon is a UK based artist working in performance, choreography and live art. Her work is concerned with identity, sensory perception, and human encounter and explores how our physical bodies experience the world around us and how this sensory experience can or cannot be conveyed. Her work is informed by her identity as a disabled woman with albinism and attempts to unpick the ways we look, hear and sense our immediate environment in order to rethink or make unfamiliar these intrinsic human behaviours. Bannon’s work is led by form and so manifests in various mediums including intimate encounters designed for single or small audiences, staged performance, dance, film and installation.
Jo has presented work in the UK, Europe, South America, USA, China, South Korea and Australia including HAU Berlin, The Barbican, IBT Festival, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Itau Cultural Sao Paulo, The Times Museum Guangzhou and the National Theatre. Jo also works as a dramaturg, educator and writer and is a founder member of artist collective Residence.
Recent work includes Kitchen Alba (2021), Absent Tense (2020), We Are Fucked (2018), Alba (2015), Dead Line (2013) and Exposure (2011).
Reviews of Jo Bannon’s previous work
Jo Bannon’s Exposure, which questions the act of looking itself, is an extraordinary 10 minutes which considers not just how we look but what we choose to look at too.
Jo’s work is expertly edited; it is both a joy and a treasure to be given a moment which you may feel is unique to you…It is awkward, charming, comforting and true. Words are not needed by the end and this work is certainly very special. To fully know one’s self may be impossible, but Bannon gives us a chance to explore that possibility.
Ihsaan De Banya, Olivia Edginton, Anna Seymour
Director and Choreographer
Co-Director, Camera and Editor
Director of Photography and Colourist
1st Assistant Camera
Julie Rose Bower
Sound Recordist and Mixer
Production Manager and Gaffer
Julie Rose Bower, John Stephenson
Special thanks to
Jules and Mani Maxwell, Philippa and Matthew Stephenson, Cinewest, Rebecca Pierce, Mike Stoner, Harri McKenzie-Donovan, Laura Goulden, Sandy Deo
Past tour locations
Sadler's Wells, Sydney Opera House, Dance City
12+ (some adult themes)