When we are tapping our feet, strumming our fingers, or twirling our pens, we are wishing to be somewhere else. These movements – both reflexive and intentional – are ways in which our bodies manage the present tense by chipping away at a block of time that, though inevitable in its passing, seems to last forever.
Tapping often coincides with daydreaming and nightmaring. We long for the past or dwell on false steps. We wait for our moment of engagement or dread participating. Anxiety or anticipation can make our future seem insurmountable. In all ways, the present tense can find itself embedded in both the past and the future simultaneously. In this way we are trapped by the present knowing that it is the only temporal position that allows us to move forward or backward.
In Book X of St. Augustine’s Confessions he says: “So they wish to listen as I confess what I am in my heart, into which they cannot pry by eye or ear or mind.” In this way tapping, strumming, and twirling betray our inner world whose intensity cannot be contained and yet must remain unutterable. Annoying and distracting, we infringe upon others while seeking to unencumber ourselves. It is a type of confession that either wishes to be absolved, reiterated or dissolved completely among the audience of those who cannot know our confession at all.
In this way, tapping epitomizes St. Augustine’s idea of the infinite which is a situation the merges past, present, and future together into a moment of clarity.
Tap Dining is a participatory performance work that explores tapping, strumming, and twirling.
Unnoticed Art Festival (June 2016)