One of the durational works on Saturday afternoon is the six-hour Silent Dinner, where a group of D/deaf and hearing performers prepare a large meal without communicating in their native languages. There isn’t the rush of a professional kitchen, and sunlight streaming through the windows and lighting the rich colours of fresh ingredients is stunning in it’s peaceful simplicity. Watching them is a meditative exercise as they move around the rows of tables, silently and slowly preparing food that they will then eat together. It would be easy to sit with them all day as they take pleasure from the communal experience of cooking and eating.
With the glorious sunshine and packed building, it’s a great day to see some of the outdoor work. Sexcentenary, a collective of older women addressing issues around gender, feminism and ageing are performing around Govan. In promenade and site-specific work Now You See Me, Now You Don’t, four women in black skirts and white blouses challenge passersby’s expectations of older women’s behaviour. When I catch up with them, they are sitting on stools in a row, knees akimbo and knickers on show. The bold, silent protest against the expectations of female behaviour is powerful in its simplicity. They then move to a statue of a man in front of the Pearce Institute, each holding a portrait of Lady Dinah Elizabeth Pearce, the founder of the institute. There is no statue honouring her memory, and the distributed leaflets about Lady Pearce combined with the performance need no further explanation.
Outside Govan subway station, we congregate in the sunshine for Rosanna Irvine’s Ah Kissing. A voyeuristic work involving pairs of strangers meeting, then kissing for half an hour, is an utter delight. Passionate and loving rather than frantic and sexual, each couple (both straight and gay) has a distinct energy and progression after a slow walk towards each other. They evoke a reunion or a farewell, enhanced by a circling bagpiper.
The majority of the audience are from Buzzcut and are unfazed by the performance, but reactions from members of the public are a joy to watch. From confusion to wonder to discomfort, they say more about attitudes towards PDA than the piece itself.
Also outside, Emily Walsh is giving Free Haircuts to anyone willing to queue. The Buzzcut audience and others out and about in the neighbourhood love the idea and her generosity.
Back inside, One Hit Wonder by Bridie Gane evokes the silent film era in a short dance piece. With white court shoes on her hands, the piece is performed on stage in the main hall. There’s a clear progression from dancing along with the music to completely disregarding it. The simple celebration of freedom from traditional forms is both joyful and anarchic, and effectively captures the spirit of the festival. She performs several times throughout the day, and each performance is different.
I also try to catch Katherine Araniello’s The Araniello Show, but it’s so crowded that it’s hard to see much. This piece from the disabled artist uses projections and karaoke to mock the patronising language used in charity adverts and fundraising endeavours. You know the sort – “from just £3 per month, you can help Johnny lead the normal life that he’s always dreamed of from his wheelchair”, etc. This mode of thought disregards the idea that disabled people may be happy with themselves and the lives they lead, and it’s the ableist world around them that has the problem. The Araniello Show is rude, in your face and a bitingly funny social critique.
On the busiest day of the festival with work in The Pearce Institute and out, the weather is a great boost to the vibe and the quality of the work is high. There’s one last day of the festival but even if I don’t manage to make it due to work and travel demands, Buzzcut has provided a host of artists absolutely worth looking out for in future.