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  • Kim Senklip Harvey

The Arrival

I don't think a lot of people know that I'm a bit of a sci-fi space geek. My first dream job was being an astronaut. I was obsessed with the Apollo missions and on one family vacation we went to Cape Canaveral and I was blown away by what was being worked on. I eventually realized my math skills were not the greatest so I landed on being Tom Hanks who was an actor and got to play being an astronaut which seemed plausible and has resulted in me being whatever the fuck I am now.

One of my first profound literary experiences was reading Arthur C. Clarkes 2001 Space Odyssey, the end of that book still freaks me out in the best way possible. It's my theory that the closes cinematic execution of that books ending was the landing in the tesseract scene of Interstellar which captured dimensional exploration in a fascinating way.

I love the movie Arrival with it's exploration on non-linear time and it's astonishing investigation into communication, I've watched it ten times over. Fun fact I also wrote the dimension bending moment of Kamloopa to this song from the Arrival soundtrack which I listened to on repeat for almost 7 hours.

I'm an avid reader of the Scientific American Journal which has some of the most mind fucking articles on the worlds most brilliant astrophysicists theories on ideas like the edges of the quantum universe, infinite multiverses and time and twin paradoxes. I'm currently exploring the idea that dark matter and dark energy, which make up around 95% of all matter in the universe, the greatest scientific mysteries, unseeable in the 3rd dimension - our dimension - are our Ancestors from a different world - which is the foundation for my next artistic ceremony Break Horizons.

This obsession with time and dimensional exploration has led me to direct shows like Quelemia Sparrows newly titled "Skyborn" which is a canoe odyssey that reclaims and honours the original peoples of these lands on the Coast Salish. 

The second one act play I wrote was called An Exquisite Waste of Time, which explored how time and love intersect and fold into one another. I've got another play idea rolling around in my head called, Trains of Thought where all the ideas you lose actually end up travelling through space and end up in a metaphysical train station. My first TYA commission with Green Thumb Theatre is about a young Indigenous girl who can travel back through time via her bloodline and she visits her 5x Great Grandmother. The young girl is taught that our culture can never be taken away because we are the direct result of thousands of years of our peoples triumphs and everything we need is inside of us and our spirits.

I think these spacial explorational narratives push us into a breach of understanding, a cognitive crisis of sorts and they challenge us to land safely. I believe that this disorder is necessary to create more protective systems and ontologies of humane and equitable living. 

I'm very much, if not explicitly interested in exploring what happens to our humanity when we undermine what's almost dogmatically presumed by the majority of society. The moment that pushes us beyond the break of this dimension, the rupture of the bondage to our sense of control and safety. I find these moments of deliverance the most courageous voyages anyone could risk traversing and I'm utterly fascinated by them. 

I struggle with writers essentializing death to be the foundational ontological tension of living because I believe what's far more threatening to the ethnosphere of human aliveness is an apathetic existence - an unconscious disconnected embodied state.

I believe our truest freedom lives in breaking ourselves from unconscious living and remembering our connection to the universe. That awakening is the only viable path to a life lived with choice and where in that clarity can we choose to meet and experience things as profound as love.

I think many of us have yet to truly meet sustained free states of unconditioned love because so many of us become conditioned products of systems we never chose or are unconscious that we are a part of and maintain.

I could go off on a tangent about things like diamond rings. Diamond fucking rings. Who actually chose that? Who actually likes diamonds? Who likes rings? Why do we have to wear them on a particular finger to send public messages of possession? Don't they look like purchase tags? They might be the most anti-love symbol in my opinion. 

Uh oh, I might've just pissed off the white ladies.

Look, if you consciously made your way to wearing one - great. If you investigated the systems that resulted in the oligarchy deciding for us that diamonds are how we socially communicate love and worth in a euro-centric paradigm and want to participate in that way great, I'm alllll bout people making decisions but let us make sure it is a decision.

Diamonds removed from the commercial state run, controlled and monitored system of marriage - are elementally dope. They are the strongest known material which is a capital K Kool characteristic. But I don't know if I want my love to be the strongest most immovable substance. I kind of want relational love to be permeable, nimble and responsive so maybe vegan jello could symbolize love?

You want to know what I wear on my left finger? A tin painted ring shaped in a circle that I got in Aotearoa for $13. I wear it as a refusal to colonial hegemonic systems of state sanctioned love. The circle reminds me that the greatest act of Indigenous love I can do is remember my connectivity to all things. That the greatest service to myself is to nourish my spiritual connection to the Universe, it reminds me to serve my people.

My friend and I were talking about this the other day and they joking said, ya it's so strange that you fall in love and then want to take it to the next level by getting the government involved? No thank you.

I am so about ceremony, so if you've consciously created one and want to participate in that, kool but again have we troubled how much of a choice that ceremony really is? I just want lives to be made of true choices because that's freedom to me.

Tangent over.

But do you get what I mean. I move slow because to arrive somewhere, with agency and conscious choice, it takes time because so much of our lives have been systematically decided for us before we even have the opportunity to arrive sovereignly. And if I'm going to decolonize and Indigenize my life, I have to be acutely aware of all the systems I'm participating in and maintaining and that my slaxts, takes time.

Arrival in artistic spaces that I help create and lead takes time because being present to presence and full body listening takes time. It's my job as a Fire Creator/director or a part of an artistic leadership team to help build spaces for people to be vulnerable and brave so we can create moving stories. So I make artistic decisions that allow us all to be present and arrive fully to do that.

In euro-centric normative theatrical practice we have that 10 mins before the table read and then we're all good to go right? Sometimes we even get to meet the BOD or company staff in the room and we all know having funders, people with institutional power and more strangers always leads to people feeling safe to create art right?

Of course not - we all start acting!! Acting like we're here, acting like we're ready, acting like this is going to be good - acting like this is safe and to me it doesn't lead to outcomes of safe and sovereign art making.

So, I hold space for people to arrive because if you are able to get your body, spirit, mind and culture into that room by 10:10am that's an extraordinary privilege. And if we're trying to create inclusive spaces, we have to be thoughtful and honest about making sure everyone can arrive to be able to do the work in a healthy and equitable methodology. 

Too many theatrical spaces are built on unconscious privileges which push too many of us further from the art making practice and thus the opportunity to participate and enjoy safely.

Being conscious of respecting peoples arrivals is also not that difficult. I open with a talking circle and instead of focusing on peoples resumes and "you might recognize this person from" moments, it's like whatchu been up to.

On my most recent space creation for arrivals we spent the first half of the 6 hour work day letting people get there. People coming from places, trains and automobiles and spirits don't always travel the same way, so we gotta respect that. Let people get to the present because if we don't not only does the art become exclusive, in my experience, it actually becomes unavailable. 

People struggle to participate because they aren't there, which is totally understandable. I feel like the first read is disrespected because you set up a read in an unrelating environment where the only real connectivity happens when some people have some type of pre-established relationship and that's another privilege that creates inequitable power and privilege imbalances in the space. 

Time over time, I'm realizing just how integral the art of the arrival is to inclusive space making, equity, safety and efficiency. People, because of conditioning get concerned we're not "working" but to me it is The Work.

Theatrical creation, for my Indigenous Theatre and methodology, is relational and I can most effectively do my part when I arrive and when I see others arrive - and you can. It is a beautiful thing to bear witness to peoples arrival, it informs and feeds the work and allows me to make decisions that foster artistic safety and realization. The relationality to arrive and meet the story is also the most integral assembly of the entire creative practice and I fear we miss it far too often. 

So this is an offer to make that space, for people, your art process, the story and for everyone to arrive.

With an adventurous spirit as I continue voyaging into and with Indigenous love for you,



Here are a few of my favourite cinematic moments of humanity fighting for it's freedom through the conduits of people.

Arrival - Amy Adams in the end scene

Contact - Jodie Foster speaking to the senate

Phenomenon - Human Spirit scene.

The Fountain - The road to awe scene.

p.p.s I am going to try and meet my 4/month blog deliverable by writing 3 blogs in 3 days because I'm going on a tech blackout for some deep work as of Friday afternoon - this is #2/4 slaxts.

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