Through the years I have worked with different methods to enable and embody the cat, through scores, manifests, even a cat rap. The way I've done it the last few years is simply to begin with the invitation to be cats. But, rather than the mimicking of a cat, one tries to embody the mindset of the cat, not necessarily its gestures. I would claim that the neurological and performative skills makes the effort to create the space for new logics to take over, therefore my observations inside and outside of myself doing this practice, alone and with others, makes me think about the cat more as a concept rather than a thing. It becomes a platform or immaterial tool rather than a technique, or maybe just that - a practice.
The cat practice began formalising during my Masters in choreography at The University of Dance and Circus ( 2012-2014) in Stockholm. During my masters I was busy with an artistic inventory of previous work, as a way to rethink previous work, find new openings and recycling being an important concept (still is). During the education, poetry and the cat became the two main themes, thus starting to build upon a practice that later formed as the cat practice. It started with a fascination of the cat, and at the same time discovering cats being part of my work already, it somehow was always there, or slipped in without me really noticing. This was also during the same time as the cat “hit the internet” sort to say, as well as contemporary choreography was looking outside of dance and the theatre to find new modes of production. So there it was, this small animal with its piercing eyes, quick as the wind and friends of my friends (the witch, the poet, the lesbian, etc)
The cat on Internet, as a social phenomenon, as a body that is neither human nor alien. The cat as a companion/friend/witness/shadow to the human, with these specific relations. The cat practice produces a specific attention and presence of the performer as well as a rewriting of the gaze and the politics of attention. - the now stands in power, not as an infinitive, rather as radical shifts of focus and intention. It is a performative tool or/and performance practice, and has been part of several productions, The Poeticians, The wind escorts the sky, The egg the cat and the poem - where the surface tears and the latest att att katt this fall.
There are many aspects of the cat, and the cat practice that I find interesting. The question of time, and how we can hijack the imposed structures in our daily life as well as on stage, makes the cat practice for me, a resistance to an ever growing speeding of time, as well how time today, occupies our relations to almost everything and therefore for value i would argue. On another performative gesture, the gaze of the cat is an interesting thing/event. A direct bounceback, a nuding of the nude, or a reflection without content? My experience with the practice is that it overrides social codes and structures as well as engaging other physiological structures in the body. The perception of gravity, the body as a whole, the fascia etc - all enhances my doing, as well as speed, smell, hearing, reaction, the qualities one typically would give the cat. My aim has never been to try to look like a cat, my interest is how can this figure, or concept, its logic, produce other logics in me, in my moving, my doing, my body, as ways to enfold reality as we continuously claim it.
Some say the cat has never really been domesticated, in fact, if a cat is to stay in the wild, it quickly goes back to a more wild state. What we human do is linguistically and performatively trick/fool and infantilize the cat. By the stroke of our hands we continually make the cat a kitten (hand = mother's tongue) to name just one gesture where the cat and human interact with translational defaults. The idea of interspecies relation is of course an interest of mine, what i see, is the possibility to rethink the different ways of how we socialise, and being in relation to each other - cat to human, cat to cat, human to human.
In essay Time is out of Joint, Jacques Derrida writes that the time inevitably disappears. You can not mourn it - it "grieves itself". The cat refuses to cry, it not only hangs to the event - it is the event itself. In this way, no loss of what was once absent. For the cat it does not end, is not over or ended. It only is.
/ Pontus Pettersson
By Frida Sandström
By Anne Vigeland
By Peter Mills
Photo: Pontus Pettersson
By Peter Mills