The Retreat : One Week
June 18-24, 2018
The culmination of this project, The Retreat : One Week, runs continuously for 168 hours, fostering a quality of attention like wilderness wandering: expansive and still, full of unexpected discovery, engendering retrospection. Like the wilderness, The Retreat is ongoing, preexisting your visit and remaining after you leave. Guests were invited to visit for the evening, linger for a day, or camp out for the week.
The Retreat is a world of fabric and light, sound and movement. It is dance performance and music concert. It is shared meals and participatory meditative movement practice. It is art sleep-overs and curated conversation. Sprawling and minute, mesmerizingly repetitive and chaotically unpredictable, it functions as a retreat, offering deep engagement and a state of beneficial boredom, positioning this often-suppressed form of attention as radical engagement with time and self.
The Retreat began in 2014 with the practice called Orders from the Horse, which posited the questions: is there a way to engage in dance improvisation by relinquishing control? If so, to what is control being ceded? Julia and Jonathan began an inquiry into sub-cortical improvisation. Sensing, choosing, and moving from a low-brain state, like the nebulous alertness of infancy, or the hypnagogic awareness negotiating the shadowy hours of the night.
Orders from the Horse saw multiple iterations of development and performance before becoming a core practice within the larger world of The Retreat, which expanded to include a larger cast, cyclic choreographic patterns, participatory workshops, and more. Presented in the fall of 2016, The Retreat : One Night was a variable-duration show, with audience choosing an evening-length format (2 hours), a long-form experience (4 hours), or an overnight stay (12 hours).