Some images from Working Together/Declarations of Independence at the Williams College Museum of Art with Asher Woodworth, Audrey Kwon, Kelly Wang, Monel Chang, Tracy Hu, Stephen Simalchik, and many beautiful, willing audience/participants…
photos: ©kate drew miller
how do we practice to prepare ourselves to inhabit post-capitalist bodies? how can we practice being and moving in bodies that continually re-frame slippery genders, sexualities, and relations?
I arrived back at Sassafras in Liberty, Tennessee a few days ago. So good to be back on this beautiful land, in this magical house, with these phenomenal people. The dance octagon is undergoing some rejuvenation. Noah, Griffin, and Heather passed through on their way from Louisville to New Orleans to paint the octagon all white — floors and walls — with a gold trim around the bottom. Tricky majik, it looks amazing. After another couple of coats of finish it’ll be ready. I can’t wait to move in the glow of the white container! Layard is off in Jesup, GA for a 10-day Vipassna sit. When he gets back we start our research again, inside the octagon and out in the woods. I found a pair of white Rebbocks mounted on top of huge white sponges. A starting point, maybe? In the meantime I’m weeding the asparagus patch and walking and cleaning and wondering about how to weave a dwelling out of bamboo. I’m also working remotely every day with Emily Mast on our collaboration with five pregnant women. Emily is also pregnant. Stay tuned for more deets on our March 16th performance at the Onion Church in the Valley as part of Machine Project/Getty Center’s series of work taking place in notable LA architecture sites. So far I am loving Skype rehearsing with these brave ladies as they balance, squat, lie down, bounce, and walk lopsided.
Tomorrow, a trip up to Columbus, OH to visit Harmony Bench, Esther Baker, and Sabela Grimes, and teach a workshop at OSU. At OSU I’ll continue with embodied propositions around internal and collective governance. I’m still teeming with gratitude and inspiration after the work I did with Asher Woodworth, Karl Mullen, Kelly Wang, Stephen Simalchik, Audrey Kwon, Monel Chang, and Tracy Hu at Williams College, which culminated in Working Together/Declarations of Independence, a four hour party, performance, participatory event for the Williams College Museum of Art series WCMA at Night. Some texts and reflections from Working Together/DoI below.
Performance texts from Working Together/Declarations of Independence (1.17.13 at the Williams College Museum of Art)
as audio piece here (this is how the audience heard it before entering the performance/party space): initiation
Welcome to Working Together/Declarations of Independence. Thank you for coming. You are important. Thank you for coming. Now that you are here please enjoy yourself and experience something. Maybe pleasure. Though that is not required. Maybe make a new friend. That would be nice too.
When you leave this room you can go upstairs.
There you will encounter bodies and space.
Experiments will be performed. You may be invited to become part of an experiment. Some experiments will just happen and you may watch and/or listen. These are experiments about internal governance, cooperation, disagreement, agreement, order, disorder, time, attention, value, and intimacy.
Upstairs there will be food for part of the time and drinks and some words and some videos, well, gifs, really. A great deal of people were responsible for making this event possible. Like the person who mounted the flat screen TV on the landing going upstairs, and the person who sanded the floor in the rotunda, and the person who made sure the art didn’t get damaged when we rehearsed, and the people who constructed the clothing that we are wearing, and the people that transported the gas that went in Monel’s car so that she could drive to Williamstown for rehearsal.
You know, to name just a few…
We spent $10,000. We rehearsed between 4 and 7 hours per day for 14 days. And then there was the time for rigorously developing our concepts, making gifs, driving to and from the Goodwill to buy costumes, processing and crying, and drinking and decompressing.
Anyways, when you leave this room you can go upstairs.
There you will encounter sounds, liquids, gold, momentum and stillness.
Or chaos, quietude, heat, coolness, ugliness, and beauty.
You might come across spontaneity, breath, spandex, and cooperation.
Or saliva, the suspension of time, revelations of space, eroticism, null hypothesis, actualizations, and exhaustion.
You could happen upon physical anarchy, negotiations of internal governance, activated questions, and direct democracy.
You will probably feel joy, surprise, wetness, resonance, confusion, and disgust.
Or delight, boredom, and disagreement.
Or disorientation, physical touch, and enlightenment.
You are likely to feel stimulation, vibrations, negotiations of internal governance, heat, spontaneity, breath, stillness and movement.
Or you will experience skin, chaos, and apprehension.
Or the suspension of time and revelations of space.
If you’re feeling uncomfortable at any point you can go to the bar and have a drink, or have a nice snack (they are free from 6-8pm), or go to the bathroom and sit on the toilet in the stall and take some deep breaths.
Or you could go into the coatroom and hide between the coats until you feel more relaxed, or find a friend or stranger and tell them you feel uncomfortable. Tell them over and over until you feel better.
Or, if you feel uncomfortable, you could find a painting in the museum you like a lot and curl up on the floor underneath it with your eyes closed and rest until you feel better, or sing a song quietly to yourself, or very loudly. Or you could sit on a cushion stare into space. Or you could leave.
Welcome to Working Together/Declarations of Independence. Thank you for coming. You are important.
Welcome. Please proceed to the second floor.
No where to go, nothing to do
Look. This is a group. How does this group interact? How do the individuals interact with themselves? M is touching her face. She touches. A and T are in physical contact. They touch and feel that they touch. Look.
How do they decide what to do? They try not to decide. They don’t know what is going to happen next. They are trying very hard to not know what will happen next. Or how to do the next thing. But they do things. Look.
An arm is swinging.
A head is shaking.
A foot is stomping.
A spine is undulating.
This room is not empty. There is art in this room. You are in this room. This group is moving around in this room. They do things and let go of things they do. Or they keep doing the same thing. Or something that is almost like the same thing. They work very hard to not experience it as the same thing. They work hard.
Who are these people? What can they do? K can go over there. But she stays over here right now. S is on the ground. He is still on the ground. He made an angle with his elbow. He tries to not know what he will do next. Whether or not he will keep making angles.
Look. They see. They see each other. They see the space. They see things that others are doing and they sort of, like, let those things be incorporated into what they are doing. But you might not see that. Or you might.
See how it is not very interesting right now.
See how its getting interesting now.
They are pretending they have nothing to do and nowhere to go. And they do stuff at the same time. Do they like it? Do you like it?
Look. They make cracks in their consciousness and fall through them.
They make sounds. Listen. With their bodies they make sounds. Sometimes with their voices. Why do they make those sounds? How do they make those sounds? A said something. What does it mean? He doesn’t know. It doesn’t matter. He is now, here.
Look. How does T move like that, why does she move like that? Why isn’t she standing up? Or raising her leg up high? She is doing the thing that she is doing. K does another thing. They do those things near each other. Maybe sometime they will touch.
Look at them now. Look at them now. Look at M. Look at everyone. Look at them all the time.
It is always changing. Look at it now. Look at S now. Look at him now. And now. Look at A. She is doing something. What is she thinking? What are they all thinking? Are they thinking about you? Are they thinking about the other people in the group?
They see things that the other people in the group are doing. They don’t react. They translate, sort of like incorporate the other people’s things. They make cracks in their consciousness and fall through them.
They try not to do anything, not to go anywhere. They imagine they are not doing anything, not going anywhere while they do stuff. Like touch and roll and shake.
They do that. They can do that here. Now. They can. They can. Do.