Claire Cunningam on ‘The Way You Look (At Me) Tonight’

Photo © Sven Hagolani.

Photo © Sven Hagolani.

How do we look at each other? How do we allow ourselves to be seen? How do our bodies shape the ways we perceive the world around us? These are some of the questions raised by a new work by acclaimed Scottish disabled artist Claire Cunningham, who will be performing – for the first time in more than a decade – with international choreographer and performer Jess Curtis, the man who originally introduced her to dance. Paul F Cockburn spoke with Claire about the origins of the show and its place in her ongoing career.

“I was beginning to note threads through my work, which are also shaping the direction of a lot of my practice; for example, the fact that I look at the ground all the time is a big factor in a lot of my work and therefore affects the environments that I create, and manifests in the way I move in the world. I’d also been developing an interest in how that articulates in other people’s lives, particularly disabled people’s lives. How we perceive the world was kind of already filtering through my interest.

“Then I began to think that it might be quite interesting to work with Jess again. He is one of the few people that I have always felt very comfortable dancing with – one of the few people that I trust to dance with. Also, when I’d worked with Jess [back in 2005], we had met Dr Alva Noë, who is a philosopher at Berkeley.

“Alva often…

First published by Disability Arts Online.