Wrongness by Thinker-in-Residence Hester Chillingworth

I’ve been thinking a lot about queerness and failure, childhood as a queer space, and the spaces within Live Art. I made this list, about wrongness.

Things that (I think) are wrong. (I could be wrong):

  • Live Art is easy to define
  • Queerness is easy to define
  • Hope is easy to define
  • Transness is measurable
  • Youth is measurable
  • We will all live to be old
  • Gender is binary
  • Gender is an actual thing
  • Cultural forms that perpetuate and celebrate and venerate tradition are the most important kinds
  • Language gets us closer to understanding
  • Mess is worthless and always a by-product rather than an intended product
  • Virtuosity is what we should aspire to
  • Destruction is always destructive, never generative
  • There is no value in mistakes
  • Mistakes can’t be the and end in end and of themselves
  • Theatres are accessible enough
  • Theatres are accessible enough to push for and bring about radical thinking and action in any large way
  • The theatre that young people encounter and sometimes participate in has a lot of space for Otherness in how it represents gender
  • Theatre has a lot of space for Otherness in how it represents most things
  • What you can do is more interesting than what you can’t do
  • Creation is more interesting than decay
  • We talk about despair enough
  • We are realistic about pain
  • We know what to do
  • We know how to do
  • We should keep producing at the rate we are now
  • We are not responsible for the future
  • We are realistic about despair
  • We talk about hope enough
  • Our lives are not, by their very nature, performative
  • Children cannot handle the truth
  • Children are good at getting things right
  • Adults are good at getting things right
  • We should aspire to get things right
  • We should aspire to succeed
  • Success is measurable
  • We should keep reproducing at the rate we are now
  • Productivity equates to value
  • Other people can make you whole (either for the first time, or again)
  • Children don’t want to think about difficult things
  • Things breaking is bad
  • Things not working is bad
  • Things going wrong is bad
  • Things collapsing is bad
  • Losing things is bad
  • Looking hard at hard things is negative
  • We are all given too much permission and affirmation to carve out our own space, throughout our lives
  • We are given far too many tools 
  • Carving out your own space isn’t important
  • The margins wish they were the page
  • The page wishes it was the margins
  • Carving out your own relationship with language doesn’t matter
  • Language is an actual thing
  • Learning strategies for dismantling is not the same as discovering a power
  • Live Art would be better if everyone loved it
  • Lists are not ever even a little bit lazy
  • Lists are lazy

Banner image credit:

Hester Chillingworth, 'Right You Are' (part of the artist's Signs of the Time series), photo by Claire Haigh.

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