Poised by Dryden Goodwin
Context and Rationale for the Project
To coincide with the London 2012 Olympic Games, Film and Video Umbrella and De La Warr Pavilion presented an exhibition of newly commissioned moving image artworks on the theme of sporting excellence.
I worked with artist, Dryden Goodwin to consider the state of being ‘in the zone’ and explore the way in which athletes achieve a heightened sense of performance in which body and mind operate in unison, at maximum impact and with optimum flow. Over a three month period, Dryden and I worked with divers from Crystal Palace Diving Club to explore the notion of flow in terms of their performance. In particular we wanted to unpick the state of being and the contextual factors which impacted on whether the divers were able to attain a flow state and if this flow state impacted positively on their performance.
Dryden’s 28-minute film explores the physical and emotional dynamics of a group of young female divers. He portrays the girls on their own and interacting with each other and their coaches and attempts to illuminate the intensity of focus and preparations before diving. Beyond the arc of the dive itself there is a metaphorical, even metaphysical resonance as a rite of passage between different states. In this, the title, Poised, has multiple meanings – evoking the space between practicing and perfecting a new dive, between stillness and movement, absorption and play; between being utterly ‘in the moment’ and on the brink of irreversible change.
Dryden and I shared much discussion and exchange in terms of what we observed in the divers’ practices in the pool and dive gym, what the coaches, divers and their parents told us about their lives and the processes of getting into the zone. We shared research methods, learning from how we each observe, interact and interpret what we find, across qualitative scientific and artistic methods.
Exhibitions and Discussions
Goodwin, D. (2012). Poised. Everything flows: The art of getting in the zone Exhibition. De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea: Film and Video Umbrella.
Panel Discussion Member. (2012). On Balance. Chaired by Quentin Cooper with Dryden Goodwin, Susan Pui San Lok, Nicky Clayton, Morten Kringelbach and Elsa Urmston. This chat-show style debate considered the physiology of balance and poise, including discussion of the aesthetic qualities of sport and dance such as grace and presence before moving on to consider neurological skill development in athletes.