Cleo Mees

I write non-fiction that is part scholarship, part creative writing. This writing aims to be both outward-focused and personal, both in love with concepts and rooted in the everyday. Last year it was a highlight to finish two essays in this vein, Letters to Sheila (2020) and Feeling Good (forthcoming in 2021). I also write arts reviews and wrote for RealTime from 2011 until 2018.

My PhD was in the area of filmmaking and was about improvisation in dance and cinematography. As part of my research I made a series of video portraits of people hanging out their laundry at home. The aim of the videos was to teach myself how to improvise with a camera — how to dance with my subjects (both human and non-human), and with places.

I also teach Media Arts and Cultural Studies at university, and volunteer in animal and wildlife rescue.

See www.cleomees.com


My favourite kind of dancing is a pleasure-driven, joyous response to music. Although I have a strong appreciation for dance practices that are less music focused, music and dancing have always been deeply entwined for me personally.

Bodyweather (a performance practice I’ve trained in for about 10 years) is not primarily pleasure or music focused, but it does make me feel an intense kind of joy. I love how it exhausts me; I love how it brings me closer to my body, to my surroundings (urban and natural), and to the weather.

Writing helps me think. It leads me to my next thought, to thoughts time has buried and to thoughts I might otherwise never have had. When it comes to writing about art, I admire writing that makes surprising associations and confessions, writing that wanders into compelling discussions, and (importantly) writing that doesn’t think it knows too much.

Recent articles for realtime

Other writing