Saturday, February 26, 2011

self entitlement: “yes ringmaster: dialoguing ghosting” with Alexa Wilson & Val smith- A Performance work by Sean Curham 'Ghosting 1-6 Part 2 Cabaret'







Discussion of Sean Curham's work 'Ghosting: Cabaret part 2' at Gundry St, Auckland Feb-March 2011 by Val Smith and Alexa Wilson.



Yesterday
[Alexa Wilson]
10:39
yo
[Val Smith]
10:44
ok good
right so yep, ghosting hmmmmmm
[Alexa Wilson]
10:47
yes 'what does it all mean?' lol
it has to be a joke right? the whole work is a satire
ghosting.. cabaret: part 2. did you see part 1? was there a part 1?
[Val Smith]
10:48
i think i did, if it was the part with the ballet studio girls at kmc
[Alexa Wilson]
10:48
ok. right. tell me about that.
it felt like ghosting part 2 referenced older works so in a way was self consciously ghosting himself.. ?
[Val Smith]
10:50
ok so yeah it was the ballet girls maybe 5 of them and these young theatre peeps [i use peeps to mean both male and female young adults, urksome], cant remember their company name yet
oh yeah ghosting himself, makes sense, ghosting memories, concepts, images, ideas
[Alexa Wilson]
10:51
its hard not to see sean's work without seeing it as referencing or being contextualised by past works.. he has a real prolific and long history of experimentation within nz dance/art/performance art.
i see parts of it from older stuff- even classes. and the setting- gundry street.. he has been the caretaker of it for a long time. its like his home.. and a home to a community of dancers he encourages.. also experimental. the setting was instantly very community. its a hall. Its HIS hall.
[Val Smith]
10:52
yes the history and reference of is defs in there, i think the role of the technical helper as other performer, kind of onlooker but participant, is interesting [anna and josh]
[Alexa Wilson]
10:53
yes true- and he has trained in lighting.. he has been a lighting technician for many dance shows so knows that role- and also changed his own lights a lot. that whole NZ DIY style
[Val Smith]
10:53
community is something he is working with for sure, like expanding, including, but in an understated way,
DIY. love that style, his lighting stuff is totally awesome to me, noone is doing that biz, concept lighting, body lighting
[Alexa Wilson]
10:54
true. yep he's always very humble with that ay. an unsung hero! it seemed to me very defined - the tone - by the audience.. having watched it 3 times (to document it with video and photographs)..
[Val Smith]
10:55
those theatre dudes at kmc were giving cues, and feeding in stuff, doing actions, like a toast scene that kept reoccurring [plus mics, and scripts or instructions on paper]
[Alexa Wilson]
10:55
ghosting part 2 was bookings and 10 only allowed- but more sneaked in 2 nights i saw.. and sat in various awkward positions around the space in the way nzers do- even when encouraged to sit on the roller chairs with headphones in the space- to hear the sound... people tended to avoid being in the 'performance zone'. This is quite nz.
[Val Smith]
10:55
what do you think about his movement, what is happening in his mind/body, ? < his inner experience is exciting;, its intense, and mysterious – what the hell is happening for said performer right now?>
[Alexa Wilson]
10:56
oh funny. it was the kid version at kmc? this was the 'adult version'?
i'm interested in this because for a long time he has investigated the techniques of dance and abstract movement using his own somatic techniques.. i saw a reference to this. an ocd- autisticness... a repetition. repeating movement like he's autistic.. an obssessive compulsive disorder that dance has.
[Val Smith]
10:57
maybe, i think he wanted to work with the ballet , they were really interesting to watch, well not always, like they certainly are not a josh or an anna to watch , there is a level of uncomfort < teenagers, self conscious, a certain awkwardness – paradigms of sean/choreographer/teacher as authority present?>
[Alexa Wilson]
10:57
and counting over and over.. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 8 very funny.
oh that's interesting. Wow we are getting an overlay of threads of convo by using an internet chat for this.
[Val Smith]
10:58
perhaps something about precision, discipline, self violence, perhaps self violence seems most on for me
yeah
[Alexa Wilson]
10:58
the kids created discomfort as opposed to the 2 performers anna and josh supporting- sean's solo?
[Val Smith]
10:58
the concentration in his choices around movement material interests me, why he'd want to go there. [correction – mind movement, what he is thinking/feeling]
[Alexa Wilson]
10:59
yes the self violence of discipline and dance.. the inherent and unconscious way it controls in a pathological way,
i also saw a form of 'acting out'
[Val Smith]
10:59
like his mind has to concentrate in a certain way , his eyes pop out, its not relaxing to watch.
[Alexa Wilson]
11:00
performance art from 70s/80s used this term 'acting out'- although its a psychological one.. for kind of grotesquely embodying aspects of our culture to an extreme... drunk people do this - 'act out'. So do kids and crazy people.
[Val Smith]
11:00
I have to admit i just loved the moment of softening when he has the rabbit head on and the music, it gets evocative for that one moment, soothing and he like cuts it off, im like mmmmmm that was beautiful , and i want more.. [my taste is questionable here. i enjoy disruption and contradiction intellectually, my body enjoys relaxed and heartfelt consistency that plays out to the end, like a fairytale, complete, aaaaah ooooo- cynical?]
[Alexa Wilson]
11:00
so the 2 things went in opposition to each other.. of course- the controlled repetition.. turning into a pathological acting out of kind of madness.. with spit flying and his voice reaching pitches that were uncomfortable at times with people covering their ears. [edit- we are totally entitled to response to works in a multitude of ways and infact i prefer the tension that this kind of violence creates- also for my own work and the authentic responses complex and problematic that arise in said audience when viewing stuff in this way- naturally we like peace.. but i aim to energise and enliven with that stuff myself and having talked to sean it seems the same]
[Val Smith]
11:01
i liked the spit,
i liked the violence, i wanted it to go further, i wanted to feel unsafe, more uncomfortable
[Alexa Wilson]
11:02
yes - i loved the 'mean entitled bully' dance as well. i chose that one on the first night i went from the smorgasboard he gave the audience to choose from.. and each time i saw it it was powerful. it seems the most earnest one.
[Val Smith]
11:02
it does stand out
[Alexa Wilson]
11:03
he spoke about - and again referencing old work- his research in dunedin with walking dogs and the socio psychology of it..
[Val Smith]
11:03
the stories of karekare, so known to us, again soothing somehow, gentle,
[Alexa Wilson]
11:03
he spoke of walking his dog on kare kare beach- but
[Val Smith]
11:03
oh thats cool, i dont remember him talking about the dogs in dunedin
yeah i remember him talking about walking his dog at K.K. [clumsy and disturbing abbreviation of karekare] every friday night...?
[Alexa Wilson]
11:04
in a way that was very personal.. his personal relationship to the change of that beach... no his referencing his past research in dunedin for me- about how he talks to his dog- questioning that.. and while pointing to his laptop to show pics of the beach like a conference-
[Val Smith]
11:04
yes the personal, the story, getting to know him as person, the photos, in that space
[Alexa Wilson]
11:04
oh true.. yes. i love the mash up of waiter (he's wearing a suit).. conference, wedding or 21st – speeches.. in a hall- all kinda gone loopy.
[Val Smith]
11:05
oh the waiter, thats right, [censored] i liked the clean cut suit thing,
[Alexa Wilson]
11:05
but in it there is this beautiful self aware moment.. amidst the satire- and he spoke earnestly a lot in rambling ways for each work- also highly self aware naturally- but for this- how he likes this destabilising... and i spoke with him after about how being honest can be very unstable- i speak from personal experience in my own work. I'm not sure if this was his actual angle but that's how i took it to mean.
[Val Smith]
11:06
the implication of relationship to dancers , other performers, techies, is interesting
[Alexa Wilson]
11:06
and he said he 'comes from a long line of mean entitled bullies'..
[Val Smith]
11:06
desire to know them, but not given much about them [who are josh and anna in this context?]
[Alexa Wilson]
11:06
that when he gets upset or agitated his voice raises and that's where he goes.. [edit- yes who are anna and josh as characters? techies.. back up dancers?]
[Val Smith]
11:06
yes i was there the night his sister was there, you were too i guess
[Alexa Wilson]
11:06
yes- and that all ties in to this concept in a way- that whole - control thing..
yes- very personal... his family was there 2 nights i was there.. his dad too..
so he's speaking directly to and for them. pretty friggin cool.
[Val Smith]
11:07
hmmm yeah, oh wow his dad.
[Alexa]
11:07
coz that kind of acknowledgment for the artist in nz is very rare.
the inclusion of and reference to family in a respectful and healing way
[Val Smith]
11:08
sorry what kind of acknowledgment?
[Alexa]
11:08
so in a way HEALING the long line of mean entitled bullies.
acknowledgment from the artist of the role of their family
within their art
in their life
the dance after that in the rabbits mask- which he got a random audience to put on... was sensual and self satirical. i saw a lot of self-deprecation.
how did you read it on a gender level? i know you're really into that stuff at the moment.
[Val Smith]
11:10
i like that he acknowledges his 'weakness' and that it is being addressed [i like how you ‘shouted out’ HEALING, haha]
[Alexa Wilson]
11:10
yes- that's the destabilising eh.
[Val Smith]
11:11
i didnt have much response to his work regarding gendering. . [censored, getting too personal i reckon]
[Alexa Wilson]
11:12
i like how he spoke about what to do in that space between- in relation to the mean entitled bully section- the 'real world' and then making it into art.. what that is.. how to do it.. and then when it turns into a show- what that does to it. he's very interested in investigating these in between awkward spaces.. which is brave and cool as. Even if academicised.. actually within academia is probably harder in a way.
as with all the stuff we've addressed so far. oh that's interesting.. some of my non-dance friends presumed HE was gay. [afterthought- in this way where performers are often if not always hyper-sexualised- because they're so embodied..? unlike most people]
my friends saw him as fred astaire..
[Val Smith]
11:14
i dont get that from him, i [noticed a fleeting] fantasy of him as a transgender, female to male, with a lesbian partner, bahah [should i leave this out? it’s on the edge of ok-ness for me]
[Alexa Wilson]
11:14
it did embody a dance formality- a wedding and 21st speeches and hall- and drunken lunatic losing control vibe.. i loved the use of random objects from the hall- to leap around on totally inappropriately- like ive done at many a party in the wee hours with equally drunken friends 'acting out'.. totally ANTISOCIAL. [edit- yeah HEALING needs to be shouted in this day and age esp in contemporary arts practice... like HALLO LOL OMG]
[Val Smith]
11:15
oh thats cool, thing about how he might transmute the real into art ...
[Alexa Wilson]
11:15
and friggin hilarious. but even more hilarious in a way in this context.
yes.
i noticed him embodying- on the gender front a slight piss-take of the female sort clubby booty shaking... thing.
its funny coz i always have booty shaking in my own work.. in the past 5 years anyway.
[Val Smith]
11:16
yeah, but totally controlled, as opposed to the mess of drunkenness, he is very tidy in his choices [on reflection i don’t really get a ‘booty shaking’ thing here, more just a grooving to music thing, i guess i think of booty shaking as like hard out ‘asse and tits’ kind of flavour?]
[Alexa Wilson]
11:16
like with the dance matt around his head gyrating to MIA.. on the stool
[Val Smith]
11:17
yes you do. who's mia, was that the music? i want to talk about that piece,
matt and stool, [self censoring my toilet humour immaturity here] [gyrating as a deliberate side effect of pelvis and head and ribcage articulation?]
[Alexa Wilson]
11:17
yes a lot of it is incredibly controlled and well thought through- satirising aspects of the world- including youtube spectacle and absurdity through himself. His pop-cultural references feed into his life and the low keyness of his mad presentation smorgasboard of selves.
[Val Smith]
11:18
the matt around his head part taking us through a class activity was so nostalgic for me, i missed his teaching enormously in that moment, and my body remembered it [ autistically repeating ‘lovingly’], i loved it then and now, it is so healthy and i love the spinal aspect.
[Alexa Wilson]
11:18
i think its well developed coz- its his MA project- thesis project at AUT in spatial design.. its a clever decision to present it over the weeks each thursday too.. to spread the word
yes that song is by MIA - um.. frig- whats it called- that bang bang one i love.. and i remember doing phrases to that exact song years ago when he was still teaching dance class more formally.
[Val Smith]
11:19
i like that its happening spread out, its very down home, i will go again, hoping still to see more pieces not yet seen,
oh god, yes the piece with the youtube blog, bahaha, that was awesome,
[Alexa Wilson]
11:20
it was funny then too, kinda perverse. there's a perversity in his work... again an underbelly of repressed nz sexuality i rex
[Val Smith]
11:20
so funny, that he chose that, random, another insight to him, expanding, little glimpses into his random art practice, making connections...
[Alexa Wilson]
11:21
that piece- what was it? - him lip synching to this woman's youtube video talking about how this perfume of ... ? bad memory.. smelt like 'crotch'
and how embarrassed but compelled the girl was by this... on the video- with him dubbing himself over her text. everyone's perverse fascination with it, her with the crotch perfume, him with her and us with the performance of it all.
[Val Smith]
11:21
hmmmm, ok cool lets talk about the sex of it, yes, repressed, yes underlying, yes, perversity, fetish,
the taming of the stoool, woah cowboy, get down, tie up its legs, rodeo stylez, sexy, dunno about that, but there is sex, and bondage as always, i remember the perfect lie, was that what it was called, the bits in mouths, DOGS again... [shout out to dogs in general x x homer!]
[Alexa Wilson]
11:23
[oh yes homer! home dog] very funny scene. and so funny with anna and josh- moving tech stuff around so seriously to aid the 'show'... all the time.. of something so absurd. as sean sitting at a table on its side projected onto the table of this woman.. and even saying things like 'laugh'... really heightening this repressed sexual tension within the whole narcissism of it. the piece was called - something about 'teenage boy'- oh 'i feel like a teenage boy' that's right.. pretty weird sexual gender shit [edit-feeling self conscious bout my swearing here] .. going on there... and the youtube exposure.. all of it.
[Val Smith]
11:24
teenage intrigue in anything sexual
[Alexa Wilson]
11:25
so innocent was her sexuality and his not.. and also how she's leaving herself vulnerable to perverts all over the world- as youtube does. i make stuff 'unlisted' myself on youtube!
[Val Smith]
11:25
hmmm yeah i hadnt thought about that yet, i feel like a teenage boy, i guess he might have been going into the territory of what feels uncomfortable and seeing whats in there, projected idea
[Alexa Wilson]
11:25
yes bondage... i see what you mean in a way
cables and cords.. all over the place.. and this latent aggression- very passive aggressive nz style. Latent control and gender issues squealing out of nz... on many levels. [edit-i like your projected observation val... its a very interesting observation mate. desire is so much about projection and performance always reeks of it..]
[Val Smith]
11:26
how bout when he dropped the microphone
[Alexa Wilson]
11:26
it made a lot of the audience laugh this piece
[Val Smith]
11:26
oh they laughed at the teenage youtube one?
[Alexa Wilson]
11:27
again - and i saw it a few nights- so it varied in its emphasis according to what got chosen- but i saw this autism... with the mic.. lots of counting many many times.. and movements so repetitive.. ocd. dropping it like a kid or 'i just don't care'.
yes they laughed everytime. Other things were more just uncomfortable.
[Val Smith]
11:27
matt and stool was pretty intense on the floor, as a user of the space i noticed i was like woah go easy, thats a community asset, then laughed at myself
[Alexa Wilson]
11:27
i kind of saw this bogan guy in there as well- pogoing around...
but always the waiter - at your service as a platter of entertainment...
[Val Smith]
11:28
his kind of marching thing, on the spot, and homolateral movemvements, if it was that, he likes to work himself hard..
[Alexa Wilson]
11:29
who is the real one in control. having worked as a waitress bitch you ARE the one in control... and you are ON SHOW.. it is all for show. its all about presentation working in restaurants.
for everyone
[Val Smith]
11:30
yep titillation, as you become the object of fantasy/imagination, so you can become the image they want or not, plus controlling how much flirtation is allowed or engaged in
[Alexa Wilson]
11:30
yes and like a performer too, presenting body as something to be consumed, very much playing with titillation- he has an almost flirtatious eyeballing engagement with the audience...
very self conscious.. its like how to be sexy and on show time. I always feel awkward being served in a restaurant in a similar way to maybe how an audience feels looking at a performer.
i saw a lot of control stuff directly referenced in there eh, he spoke about this- with giving over the choices to the audience- which he struggled with- on the choices.. some believe sex is power. Geez how did we get to this? that's pretty 90s ay.
[Val Smith]
11:34
haha all good.
[Alexa Wilson]
11:34
he makes sophisticated choices about how exactly to satirise nz culture through his own experiences through a humour which underpins an indirectness nz has. a hiddeness.. about real agendas.
[Val Smith]
11:35
SHOW, the lights, pink, popping pink balloons,
yes, i can so relate to that, a hiddeness about real agendas, geez, i want to get out of that, it creates a kind of sickness a leaking of desires in twisted ways.. [probably makes good art subject i guess...]
[Alexa Wilson]
11:36
the whole elephant in the room- no one should speak of things.. how we can't stand up for ourselves or speak directly. therefore this passive aggressive bullying and acting out can occur- a tyranny.. which is antisocial and socially backward. i saw this repression in nz culture in many contexts- creatively, academically, politically, business board rooms, clubs, at the table, in the hall in formal community events... he was the ringmaster of this particular circus. it was clever and funny.. and brave too. [edit-good art- what's that even? everyone's opinions differ.. in mine 'good art' makes you conflicted in some way.. and enlivened in others]
Val is offline.11:37
Val is online.11:37
[Val Smith]
11:37
honesty is the only way it seems, i feel his showing all of that helps to expose it for healing i guess, but also because of the nature of art being in codes etc, it compounds it as well, heightening the problem, fetishised secrecy
Val is offline.11:38
Val is online.11:39
[Val Smith]
11:39
yes ringmaster. but playing the gentle welcomer and holder of space, it is most certainly brave but do you think that is something significant for him, he seems comfortable, or perhaps i just cant sense, oh he has anxiety, like performance anxiety, but does he have art anxiety?
[Alexa Wilson]
11:40
good point val about secrecy. [edit- also defs welcomer of space- he has a firmly placed heart in terms of people and community no doubt]. Of course he has anxiety- who doesn't? It seemed tough after a show where there were less people- made it more awkward. But yeah its easy to make brilliant stuff and it go off the radar in nz. its almost safer. and i feel it is important to document this kind of work- in writing, video and photos- which slips between artforms and genres in nz.. dance? art? ... we live in a very mainstream dance culture here.. and this kind of experimental stuff from my recent experience of europe- goes on big stages.. but here is hidden away..
and sean doesn't like a big fuss about his work.. he is humble and just does his shit. its admirable but i would love nz culture at large to be faced with this stuff. he says people have had bad responses to his aggression- like not getting the psychological choices made to expose this passive aggressive acting out pathology of nz culture... [edit- sounds like i'm dissing nz culture when it could be humanity at large but this is our particular breed of humanness]
[Val Smith]
11:41
god that is so true and so frustrating for me,
Val is offline.11:41
Val is online.11:42
[Val Smith]
11:42
this work is totally brilliant and exciting and hardly anyone will see oit or have a chance to understand how important it is,
oh interesting that he thinks about how people have had bad response to the aggression
to me this is the work that should be in the arts fest, damnit
[Alexa Wilson]
11:43
its been a BIG paradox/contradiction i have been struggling with since going to berlin. that our work is really unique coz it deals with nz context - and sits well in europe in some ways- formalistically (though i found germany more repressed than nz at the moment- and i got called a radical anarchist amidst this minimalist grip- off topic but not really) but then we are speaking to and about nz which is VERY IMPORTANT. it is a frustrating dilemma as nz does not give cudos to the true experimenters in nz dance..
only the tried and true. Experimentation gets absorbed into the dance world regardless however.. from those who do it. With little acknowledgment.
Val is offline.11:43
Val is online.11:44
[Val Smith]
11:44
i feel like i dont understand his work, and i want to, i feel like i want to talk to him about what he thinks regarding his work, it goes over my head
[Alexa Wilson]
11:44
really?
has that always been the case or more recently? since his academicising of his practice?
[Val Smith]
11:45
yeah, like i didnt get the violence thing til someone said something, i was like oh yeah,
Val is offline.11:46
Val is online.11:46
[Val Smith]
11:46
hmmmm, maybe the more complex works, like the sugar rabbits and branding one, which i loved so so much, gosh i guess i really love the perversity of it, always desiring it to go further.. [your thinking is complex sean, would love some format of your thinking on paper, i’d be really keen to read about that aspect of your work..]
[Alexa Wilson]
11:48
so he taps your desires? Hehe. his work should TOTALLY be in the main arts festival in nz- its more interesting than a lot of the international acts they bring from 10 or 15 years ago - like jerome bel- and current... he would be better off to take his work to international festivals where he would meet international response. europe is very academic in dance.. anyway- its a bit of a strayed discussion this.. but i guess it gives it a greater context. this is the first work he has presented since Bedrock- that you just mentioned 5 years ago. what a drought. its really really really hard to make experimental dance/perfromance in nz - and sustain it. its vital that nz keeps making and supporting experimental work as it pushes the art form and our world we live in in new directions. its exciting! experimental is 'normale' in europa damnit. but its the reality here and its not going away. its a small country. sean had has to sustain himself somehow and grow- and studying seems to have given him a lot of nourishment. A lot of support too. And interesting new directions.. [lost track of what is an edit and what was original here. am totally projecting my own frustrations and desires creatively onto his work. i do feel that i do have time & energy to consider sean's work in this way despite being very busy because its very important work for nz dance/art]
is there anything more you want to say?
[Val Smith]
11:50
yeah, ummmm, perhaps to add on any after thoughts would be fun, just as they come, whenever,
[Alexa Wilson]
11:50
its interesting to have a discussion about the work rather than review it blankly as- it is very complex and veiled.. so digging out and comparing is a cool process as a review.
[Val Smith]
yes, it seems to be that, this is a dialogue in my mind, i'm not trying to evaluate it [bullshit], though i do have subjective opinions, [disconnect]
Your chat message wasn't sent because Val is offline.
Val is online.11:59
Val is online.12:00
[Alexa Wilson]
12:00
woah you keep going offline babe. and coming back.
[Val Smith]
12:00
slow connection here.
ummmm, alexa and val were students of sean's in the chris jannides era 1998-2000, [unitec, dude]
[Alexa Wilson]
12:00
yes its a dialogue. [edit-It's pretty intimate- i'd like to acknowledge that about this community in general but especially this discussion- which maybe or maybe not reflects the work itself.. intimate and with our desire to read into the layers of veilment there as fans, former students and peers. Hopefully that's not too ghastly for Sean.]

[additional- This dialogue was conducted via facebook chat. It seemed appropriate to use new technologies and an informal dialogue between interested speakers about this unique work done in the moment in writing. The result is a fragmented, layered discussion. Please note that after thoughts and convo were continued for a few days.]

[i liked my/your self editing/contextualising comments - self diminishments, and justifications, nz self installed tall poppy ing, god i feel guilty calling myself tall, how sick is that NZ] [i also notice i take on a following role in the conversation, that facebook chat format happens at lightning speed for my usual slow and deliberate process. I think this chat would be very different if it was done as multiple back and forth email thing, i’d like to try that with a different performance with you perhaps..?] [choice, thanks alexa x.]

You can still see this work March 3rd, 17th and 24th at 7 Gundry st in the Old folks Association Hall, Newton, Auckland NZ.

3 comments:

raewyn said...

I caught definite references to or echoes of Sean's earlier work Greenland here -- such as riding the horses, facing up to bullies, admiring his father, acts of public acknowledgment, sadness at lost glories, the healing poweres of Karekare, the sociality of a group who share a common purpose -- dog walking, being an audience...

These coalesced in the choice of movement vocab where he picked his feet up higher than usual and stamped them flatter than usual, with special shoes that resonated as if the sole were hollow -- a gaitlike someone who has had a stroke or some other kind of neurological impairment and has learned to walk again...

Alexa Wilson said...

That's so true Raewyn, about the movement.. and very horse like infact. I forgot to mention that his father was in Greenland, yes. A very personally reflective work but also connecting to the universal as well.. the culture of nz, the climate via self. Very performance art in this way.

carrie rae said...

I like this conversational style of looking at Sean's work. I really enjoyed the version of Ghosting that I saw.

Performance/experimental/dance art (or whatever you want to call it) is getting more attention in the dance sector. It's one of those very slow processes - the transformation and mutation of something considered 'unconventional' to a more 'conventional' (or mainstream/acceptable) artform. Works like these are gaining more support from the art world now - that Auckland FINALLY has a fringe festival that is supported by a major arts producing organisation is a good start. And I love the DIY element of performance art; I think it's very important that artists are able to be so hands on with their work. But that artists are beginning to be supported more to present stuff is encouraging. It's not perfect, but it's getting there. I am eternally optimistic.