artist statement

I am not a whore in the traditional sense. I want to give everything for free. I want to give everything. I want to give it to you, even if you do not want it. I need to give this to you,
Now. Because it matters.

My work is silent but loud. I want to gently strip away your skin and touch you underneath. I want to insert a needle, or maybe a thorn from a flower.
How do you feel?
Please tell me.
These dances come to existence from a need to speak, to ask, to participate. The form that they take is the form that offers itself for me to find a way in. I am looking for a way in, into your mind, your body. The work is created in our meeting. It does not exist without you.
I make work to understand the world around me, to make sense of what may have none. I dance to map what otherwise is incomprehensible to me. I am attempting to see the world through a poetics of the body, which is to feel and to be felt.
My work asks what is important. What do we care about? What were the choices that brought us here? They are questions I ask of myself, and I try to lie less every time I answer. I go towards discomfort, because it is a mobilizing force. I place naïveté above cynicism: it does not make me look good but it helps me see what is here. I move in a guise of confusion, of embarrassment and not knowing, because the constant reminder of how little I understand forces me to actually learn.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Days of the Trash Queen

It is the third day of performing my adaptation of Deborah Hay's Art and Life in Charlottesville, VA. The costume can fail or nail the whole thing. The costume is ridiculous.

The closest comparison I find to this, is giving an Art History lecture naked. I was at North Karelia College, talking about feminist art, activism and Carolee Schneemann. In order for the lecture to work, I had to be absolutely on top of it, to stick to the subject and challenge the students intellectually as I challenged their perceptions of proper classroom behaviour, so that despite witnessing the unexpected they would stay engaged with what I was saying. In the end it changed the reality of the classroom, so that for a moment in time it seemed normal that the lecturer was naked. I walked through the room handing out articles. They looked me in the eyes and said "Thank You". I talked about their power to change reality. And about the risk that the state is taking in educating them as artists, whose very purpose is to question the structures the whole education system stands on. The students said they felt empowered in their profession after the talk. Well done, naked dancer girl.

So, I am performing Deborah Hay's work, dressed up in whatever was in the trash can of the venue upon my arrival. It is kind of mock-haute couture and borderline sexy. It smells of coffee and salad dressing and looks, well, ridiculous.

Why do I put myself through this? I could just wear something that looks great on me, and dance. But I say: whatever is in your trash can, I'm wearing. Surely it is a comment on the take-out throw-away culture, the illusion that things magically cease to exist once we place them in the trash can. Surely it is commenting on the fashion industry, and on what is being sold to us by exhibiting a lot of young, photoshopped female flesh. But I suppose in the end I do it to keep myself on my toes. To not get too comfortable in my performing skin. To push myself off balance by taking on an impossible task and making do the best I can. There is no way to plan ahead. I can only practice the dance, to make the content clear, in whatever kind of house it will inhabit next.
It is terrifying, and satisfying. It triggers me to question and to play. Ready - fire - aim.
"What if where I am is what I need?"
Thank You, Deborah Hay.

No comments:

Post a Comment