Photograph by Rocio Chacon
TIMBER by Elinor Lewis,
is a suspenseful balancing act
about managing risk and finding space to flourish within precarious situations. The curtain rises on six, wooden, door-sized frames, balanced upright in a row - waiting to fall like dominoes. Two people defiantly occupy this precarious space, performing a delicate balancing act - knowing full well that one wrong move could bring everything to fall on top of them.
At its core, TIMBER is about reclaiming risky spaces, subverting limitation, and finding space to flourish within prolonged uncertainty. (For more information and footage of TIMBER, click here).
Risk is subjective
What feels risky and uncertain for one person, may feel perfectly safe and secure for another. So, before going into the studio to create TIMBER, Elinor felt it was important to expand her own perspective on risk and talk to other people about how they perceive and manage risk and uncertainty in their daily lives. She was particularly interested to talk to women and non-binary people who had been put a risk by other people in the past, to open up informed conversations about where risk, gender, consent, and control intersect. Elinor was also curious to explore whether past exposure to risk and/or prolonged uncertainty changed people’s relationship with time, space, their bodies, their feeling of agency and their thoughts surrounding self awareness and self care.
Elinor formed a thinktank of 10 women and non-binary people, holding restorative conversations about risk and uncertainty 1-to-1. This thinktank of people all had different lived experiences of risk and prolonged uncertainty, whether it be through their lived experiences, interests, or professions. The people Elinor talked to included an ex-professional snowboarder, a survivor of domestic abuse and an armed forces veteran. Some people she talked to were cautious around risk and others were self-confessed thrill-seekers. These conversations formed an integral part of TIMBER’s creative research, informing how Elinor framed and managed risk and uncertainty during TIMBER’s creative process.
This website houses all of the conversations Elinor had during TIMBER’s creative research and aims to provide an online resource for people seeking to understand and contextualise their own experiences of risk and uncertainty.
Click here to read the conversations
Throughout 2020 and 2021, most people have been touched by an unprecedented amount of pandemic-related uncertainty. Collectively we are still working out how to process and move forward from this. People who have experience of managing or overcoming prolonged uncertainty (such as people living with an anxiety disorder or people who have overcome drug and alcohol use) have had to develop rigorous methods of processing and navigating risk and uncertainty in order to thrive. An important part of this project has been about working with people to acknowledge their resilience and recognise the wisdom surrounding risk and uncertainty they have amassed through their experiences. Elinor hopes that this website will act to share their wisdom with others, raise awareness about the different types of risks and uncertainties that women and non-binary people face in the UK today, and celebrate the incredible resilience and resourcefulness of all those who took part in the thinktank.
Elinor Lewis, (she/they) makes work that playfully straddles dance, live art and installation
Elinor is interested in people’s attitudes towards risk, why people feel tense when confronted with uncertainty and what happens to people’s perception of risk when states of tension are drawn out over long periods of time. Her creative practice seeks to embody and playfully unpick themes of precariousness, ecology, and tension using bodies and objects.
Elinor is currently a Work Place associate artist at The Place. Other supporters of her work include DanceXchange, Pavilion Dance South West, Take Art, Arts Council England, Aerowaves Twenty19 and Goldsmiths College.
Photograph by Rocio Chacon
Many thanks to the generosity and openness of everyone who made up TIMBER’s thinktank on risk and uncertainty. The intimate, moving and surprising interviews you gave during the project were integral fuel for TIMBER's creative research. Many thanks also to consulting phycologist- Dr Sophie Jones, Elinor's mentor- Viv Gordon and Consulting Editor- Hamish MacPherson for supporting the interviewing and transcribing process with their expertise.
This project was made possible with support from- The Place, DanceXchange, Arts Council England, Take Art, Pavilion Dance South West, Artsadmin's BANNER Award 2017 - 2018, Taunton Pride, Somerset Lesbian Network, Diversity Trust and Chard WATCH.
Website- Elinor Lewis
Website Photographs- Rocio Chacon
People in Website Photographs- Elinor Lewis, Hannah Parsons and the frames
Collage Website Images- Elinor Lewis
Mentor- Viv Gordon
Clinical Psychologist- Dr Sophie Jones
Consulting Editor- Hamish MacPherson
TIMBER Creator and Choreographer- Elinor Lewis
TIMBER Creative Contributor- Hannah Parsons
TIMBER Performers- Elinor Lewis and Hannah Parsons
TIMBER Lighting Design- Nao Nagai
TIMBER Costumes- Berthe Fortin
TIMBER Set Design- Hannah Sharp