Feature: 'Kissing time' with the Love Clock

Monday 13 June 2016 by Donald Hutera

Donald Hutera, with artist Lilia Pegado - part of Chelsea Arts Collective. Photo: Mike Massaro

Have you got just a little bit of time? If so, Donald Hutera, moonlighting from journalism and his curatorial duties as co-founder of GOlive, would like to tell you about Love Clock, which will be ticking away today, (Sat 18 June) from 12 noon in Dovehouse Green, Chelsea

Presented as one of the precursors to the nation-wide Big Dance, Love Clock is the second consecutive production commissioned by InTRANSIT Festival from Chelsea Arts Collective (aka CAC). The latter is a grassroots creative entity formed in 2014 by the visual artist and thinker (and Chelsea resident) Lilia Pegado and me.

CAC’s first InTRANSIT commission was Paradise on Earth, a two-hour ‘performance party’ presented a year ago this month on a sunny Sunday afternoon in the sunken garden of a Chelsea housing estate. Featuring a 36-strong, multi-generational and cross-disciplinary (but mainly dance-based) cast, this deceptively off-the-cuff show was spun round a theme of living in the here and now.

Love Clock also has something to do with time. For starters, it lasts four hours: 12 noon to 4pm, on Saturday 18th June. (And, as with Paradise on Earth, it’s a free event.) The setting is Dovehouse Green, a handsomely symmetrical former burial ground turned public garden on the King’s Road, near to Sydney Street and Chelsea Old Town Hall. Two ‘X marks the spot’-style paths neatly split the garden into quarters. Such spatial geometry comes in handy when you’re trying to structure a largely improvised, outdoor and durational performance involving a baker’s dozen cast.

Love Clock was inspired by Lilia’s desire to remind people of all stripes to ‘kiss time,’ which is a way of saying we ought to savour each and every moment that comes our way. InTRANSIT, meanwhile, is this year inspired by the theme of ‘Strange Bedfellows: The Attraction of Opposites.’ We’ve combined these two notions – time spent wisely and well or, if you will, loved, and how differences between people can sometimes pull them magnetically together – into one cyclical performance.

So, what will happen in Love Clock? Given that we’re subject to, amongst other things, the vagaries of British weather and unsuspecting passers-by, we won’t really find out until Saturday. What I do know is that heart of the piece will be encounters – repeated hourly and, inevitably, with variations – between cast members and whoever chooses to come along, or happens to stumble upon what we’re doing during our allotted time in Dovehouse Green.

I’ve been calling the ‘opposites’ who’ll be attracting each other ‘Love Clockers.’ Among them are the wiry free-lance dancer Jordan Ajadi and Housni Houssan (aka ‘DJ’), a member of the wonderful learning disabled performance company Corali. These two share an appealingly natural fraternal bond. Then there’s Tara Pilbrow, Jane Solomon and Dylan Elmore, a tantalising trio whose joint background stretches from contact improvisation to tango. Veteran arts journalist turned stellar performer (and GOlive* mainstay) Sarah Kent is adopting a guise as a lonely, lovelorn loony. Opposite her are Sara Evelyn Brown, Beatrice Bukantyte, Kat Bumbul and Ruta Vitkauskaite – three lithe Lithuanians and a Brit who’ll provide earthy yet ethereal vocal and instrumental (and completely acoustic, I’m happy to add) accompaniment. The ever-inventive Gloria Sanvicente Amor, meanwhile, will play with time and love opposite yours truly in my guise as friendly yet enigmatic Doctor Tic Toc, a figure so shape-shiftingly elusive I’m still trying to figure out who he is. Lilia will be present, too, observing all that happens, no doubt documenting it and making art – and manifold discoveries, as will we all – en route to our 4pm ‘curtain.’

Ideally Love Clock will plant at least a seed of enchantment in whoever experiences even a minute of it. One of the special features of Dovehouse Green is the three tombs that mark the central space (along with twenty benches, eleven lampposts and one obelisk). Perhaps the Green’s funereal past will add an extra dimension to the proceedings – acting as an incentive for us to take ourselves and the performance to ever livelier, but not at all loud or pushy, places. Again, we won’t know until the day – or when, in other words, the time comes.

Love Clock
Saturday 18 June 12 noon – 4pm. Dovehouse Green. Free.
More info
Part of InTRANSIT 2016, 17 – 26 June and Big Dance.

The latest edition of *Women GOlive (please note: men are invited too!) is at Oxford’s Old Fire Station, 13 – 16 July . The roster of local, London-based and international artists includes Ana Barbour, Richard Chappell, Jane Connelly, Susie Crow, Salah El Brogy, Ffin Dance. Jemima Foxtrot, My Johansson, Susan Kempster, Sarah Kent, Arunima Kumar, Anja Meinhardt, Anuradha Chaturvedi Seth, Lorna V, Mara Vivas and Hanna Wroblewski.

Donald Hutera is a long-time free-lance writer (The Times, People Dancing and more), curator (GOlive, Chelsea Arts Collective), dramaturg and workshop leader (English National Ballet’s Dance is the Word). Find him on Twitter: @donaldhutera

Photo: Donald Hutera, with artist Lilia Pegado – part of Chelsea Arts Collective, by Mike Massaro.

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