DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGICAL FLOW / SEAN SMITH & BARBARA FORNSSLER
“Yield” was a site-specific movement intervention performed in the parking lot of the visitors’ interpretive center located between Bruce Nuclear Power Station and Huron Wind Farm in Tiverton, Ontario. What we have described as a “process machine for energetic topology,” the performance is part of a broader investigation into tempo, energetics and relational dynamics.
Tiverton offered a unique setting for this performance, with its location in the “energy hub” of Bruce County, Ontario. The ecological interplay between nuclear and wind energies formed the basis for the performance of “Yield,” which attempted a topological passage in movement from orbit and acceleration to drift and entanglement.
We begin the performance with the two of us tied together at either end of a 50-foot long rope. While one person remains stationary and maintains tension on the rope, the other begins to run in a circular orbit extended as far as the rope will allow—in the process wrapping the rope around the stationary individual. After a few revolutions, the first runner slows down until stationary and the other individual begins to run, with the newly stationary individual forming a new origin point to the orbit and consequently becoming wrapped with the rope. Every few revolutions the roles alternate back and forth, each time with a new origin point that begins to drift eastward; the radius of the orbit shrinks as the rope continues to wrap around each of us and running gestures become increasingly difficult. Eventually, we are bound together in tension.
Rather than simply unravelling the tension at this point, we heighten the entanglement as we continue to drift away from the direction of the nuclear plant toward the wind farm. Moving with (or as if) a breeze, we wrap the rope around ourselves and each other, sometimes binding tighter and sometimes releasing the tension. The drift continues until each of us is free of the entanglement, leaving only a subtle knot of process behind as trace of the event. We learn that one cannot initiate the reaction at maximum capacity, but rather that the intensity must be slowly increased to avoid the risk of rupture in a very real material sense. We reflect on the connection between energetics and relation, or between tension and trauma.