I was in a bar the other day.
It was the busiest bar on the street.
One of the groups of drinkers broke out and two girls started dancing something like an Irish jig or the Riverdance.
The sound drew me in, their energy. It was a good few seconds before I noticed I was even watching them. And I felt like it was not rude to watch them.
They seemed to get a bit nervous after being observed and they went back to their seats, slightly awkwardly.
Later I wondered why I didn’t feel like I could carry on watching them after they stopped ‘dancing’. It felt so normal to watch them because they were ‘dancing’. Or was it because I was hungry to just witness other bodies and the notion of dancing gave me a validation to just look at them? Did it make them self conscious? I often crave a freedom to watch people and for them to knowingly let me watch them, even outside of the performance context. Sometimes I do it but mostly just of my periphery vision, ‘seeing’ them from other parts of me, like my torso or belly. It feels reassuring, like we are in the same ocean, that we are somehow connected… perhaps via our feet on the ground or the energy radiating from one heart to another. It sounds cheesy but it feels great.
Antony Gormley: Feeling Material