Taking our Time

Daz and Martha from calico reflect on their recent Nest Residency. 
 
We recently completed our first ever residency with Talking Birds. On our Hatching Residency, the Talking Birds team granted us time, space, advice and support, to try out a completely new idea. We had a week to play and explore, to create without any time pressure or expectation to produce. It was joyful, transformative, scary, and at times, a complete nightmare.
 
This was the most time we have had to explore an idea in, well, forever. We are so used to time-sensitive making, to cramming rehearsal time into commission opportunities and giving ourselves impossibly small amounts of time to create entire shows. And we are good at it, we have found a rhythm to working to the tick of the clock, built up stamina for the create-perform-create-perform way of working. 
 
We expected to keep up our pace; that we’d finish our week at the Nest with a whole new show, maybe two, with reams of polished content and new ideas to deep dive into. But, in reality, when Talking Birds told us to take our time, and expected nothing from us, we stopped in our tracks. The clock stopped ticking. 
 
Sometimes, we were our own time-keepers, keeping our pace and continually pushing from idea to idea, medium to medium, trying out as many things as we possibly could in one day. We had this space, these people, this time, and we had to use every second of it creatively. We danced, we jumped, we played with shadows, with clothes, we drew, we wrote, we explored video, improvised, choreographed, imagined. On these days, the possibilities felt endless, that we could generate so much, interrogate our idea so deeply, all in one day. 
 
On other days, we had no idea what to do. There was too much time. We couldn’t keep up the pace. So we slowed down. We took more breaks, and longer breaks, basking in the sun by the canal. We abandoned The Nest and treated ourselves to a long lunch out. At first, we felt guilty for running out of steam, for killing time. But then we had new ideas, we reflected on what we had made and saw our ideas from new perspectives. We also reflect on the way we work, and on the landscape and reality that has made us feel like taking your time is time-wasting. But at the Nest, there is quite literally no waste. Everything is composted, recycled and reused, and this, like any good thing, takes time. 
 
Our Nest residency gave us the time to learn how to slow down. The reality of the fast-paced, product-focussed environment that we are now re-entering means that the clock will, inevitably, start ticking again. But we are so grateful for the Talking Birds, sharing their space, their ways of working, and their time, with us.

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