Beginning Middle Ending

April 29, 2009


When I started Beginning Middle End I was thinking about what the bear in The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare would have done when it left the stage. When we performed the piece I don’t leave the stage at all. The theatre in a city in a country very far away from home didn’t have any wings. So there was nowhere to exit pursued by a bear. I was going round in circles.

We premiered the show last night and one of the most interesting comments made by an audience member was that we were always present in each others’ worlds. I thought we would be marked by absence; absence from each others’ processes; absence from the rehearsal space; absence of time. We worked apart for more time than we worked together and I was concerned there would be gaps in our logic as a result. As Jochem Naafs put it in his introduction to the performance;

The question is what it means to have such a structure for both the making process and the performance you’ll see tonight. Next to collaboration and autonomy this structure also provided content. What is beginning? What is ending? What is it like to be in the middle? And how do a beginning, a middle and an end relate and interact? In the end this last question is perhaps the question I was thinking of as a problem in the beginning while reading the proposal. Now I would rather see it as a challenging idea to work from rather then a question that needs to be answered.

It is the longest I have stood still onstage. It is the longest I have stood still in my underwear. It is the longest I have stood still. I was not doing anything. I was not the focus. I was not the centre of attention until the end. When I started Beginning Middle End I was thinking about what the bear in The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare would have done when it left the stage. Now we have left the stage it resonates in different ways for me. I am no longer very far away from home, but instead very far away from the theatre where I was standing naked in front of a room full of strangers.

Working with other artists, I have learned how to express myself and respond to feedback I was not used to receiving in new ways. Sometimes it was, as Adrian Heathfield describes post-event writing, a beautiful catastrophe of misunderstanding. We wrote letters to each other in our own languages, in our own handwriting. As Mole Wetherell says, the thing with letters is, by the time they arrive the whole world has changed around you.

This process will continue to shape my practice beyond the end. We said in our proposal we wanted to find a way to enter each other’s practices and exit our own. It may be too early to tell if we succeeded but already my work has been informed by wearing, as Andrea says, someone else’s glasses.

Michael Pinchbeck 2009


Beginning of the end

April 16, 2009

Dancing Bear

April 13, 2009

Beginning: A riddle

April 12, 2009

What does a man love more than life?
Hate more than death or mortal strife?
That which contented men desire,
The poor have, the rich require,
The miser spends, the spendthrift saves,
And all men carry to their graves?

(Leemings, 1953, 201)

The answer, Nothing, can only be seen through a kaleidoscope of equivocations.

Beginning – Leibniz

April 12, 2009

“Why is there something rather than nothing?” G.W.F. Leibniz

Another beginning

April 12, 2009

Leo the Lion




April 12, 2009

A drawing by an earthquake


‘The seismograph is made by human hand but the drawings it creates are independent of it, made by the movements of the earth.’ from The Drawing Book by Tania Kovats

1st law of thermodynamics:

In thermodynamics, the first law of thermodynamics is an expression of the more universal physical law of the conservation of energy:

“Energy can be transformed (changed from one form to another), but it can neither be created nor destroyed.”

The increase in the internal energy of a system is equal to the amount of energy added by heating the system, minus the amount lost as a result of the work done by the system on its surroundings.

Once upon a time there was a story

April 12, 2009

Its end came
Before its beginning
And its beginning came
After its end

Its heroes entered it
After their death
And left it
Before their birth

Its heroes talked
About some earth about some heaven
They said all sorts of things

Only they didn’t say
What they themselves didn’t know
That they are only heroes in a story

In a story whose end comes
Before its beginning
And whose beginning comes
After its end

translated from the Serbo-Croat by Anne Pennington

Work in Progress – The End

March 22, 2009

Work in progress

March 16, 2009