GESTURES OF LOVE
A multi-media performance exploring Love and finding your way how to yourself.
A white wall.
A projector on the floor, projecting a white rectangle onto the wall,flush with the floor, approximately 7'x9'.
The performer: white pants, white long sleeved overshirt, white and blue collared shirt underneath, collars out, and blue socks. Her hair is in a french braid.
She stands on the stage right side of the projected area, facing towards its center. The performance starts with a whirring sound, subtle but present. The sound is electrical, and at times intense like cicadas at night.
In the projection area words are being written, handwritten. We only see the tip of the pencil slowly write works on paper: "COPY", "FIND", "FOLLOW"... "DRAW OEVR", "MARK", "LINES", "DISCOVER"....more and more words appear that relate to the act of tracing, and the performer begins to follow the word 'ORIGIN' with her finger, which brings er across the interface onto the other side, words now being written onto her body. She clings to the wall. She is calm, neutral. Quiet. So is the piece.
When the word 'BODY' appears she engages with it, moves through it and touches her arms, legs, face, back,... "BODY" is projected onto her face. The writing speed increases, more and more words and lines overlap. Lines connect individual words and individual loose ends of letters with one another. At the center an eye is being drawn. the performer moves her face into the pupil of the eye. The drawings disappear and she sits brightly lit sitting with her back against the wall.
From stage right a huge face, the performer's face, appears in profile. gentle, calm, eyes closed. The projected face offers itself for observation. A bit poised. The chin is the furthest into forward space, reaching toward the crouching performer. The big face remains at 3' distance. The performer stares at her bigger self. She reaches to its lips, the face's eyes open, see the performer and the profile responds to the outstretched hand with a small yet blocking kiss. Both response and rejection. Her discovery and the sudden response of the face causes the performer to withdraw her hand. Touch was requested but when given, was second guessed, and perceived as ever so slightly defensive.
The hand that moves to the lips could also be understood to motion the face to not speak, not respond. Both feel rejected for the time being.
The face slowly withdraws from the screen, the eyes are moving, the chin tips downward. This gives a sense of slight disappointment, or resignation, or giving the space over to the performer. It was a brief meeting. A reconciliation of forces: face big, whole body small. The face is largely seen as the focal point, the super intersection of emotional expression. The face is standing opposite the entire body. In this case, the face retreats and we leave the entire body centrally located, for audiences to observe.
The performer follows the dace to the edge of the screen until she is left alone.
A big hand is tearing off some scotch tape and the sound of tearing tape is audible. The hand attaches a something off screen. The performer picks up a stack of papers from the floor on stage left and begins taping individual pages on the wall, making tape tearing off sounds, framing the stage right edge of the screen. The largeness of the taping action is representative of a command, of a larger-than-life presence of a particular activity: framing, tracing around the screen area, offering thoughts/words for the audience to read and consider as being related to the piece. Everything that is taking place in the space-time-reality of the performance is part of the meaning/message of the piece, inevitably. In this case we are in a museum, within an exhibition on love and we are seated fairly closely to the performer and facing the wall. The actual performance space is small and at its downstage most point juts our in between audience members.Occasionally this space will be onhabited by the performer, leaving the 2-dimensionality of the wall and the frontality of the projection and entire presentation. I think I choose this kind of frontality often, because I am interested in having audiences more or less have the same viewpoint. Seeing this performance, if that were possible, from the back or side would be entirely different and many of my intended narratives would get lost or replaced by other aspects. I am centralizing their focus onto specific elements, knowing that the experience and analysis will be manyfold and diverse, so I want to give them as much a central converging point as possible.Words and sentences are printed on the papers: "What is a gesture?".....As this happens a hand appears and a voice speaks: "I almost caught the rain", " "Water running down my", "distal" "my fingertips are tingling", "Will you come stay with me?", "slight bending...", "it'snot smooth", "reminds me of the little jumping spiders", more and more sentences overlap, two separate narratives are being interlaced, played parallel to one another to where they will interfere with each tracks original meaning.
I describe my choreographic work as psychological, philosophical, and socio-critical storytelling. I am motivated to create dance performances in order to incite conversation with and feedback from audiences around the topics explored in my pieces. I approach choreography and performance as kinaesthetic forms of communication and expression, manifested through movements that I see as a kind of 'amplified full-body gesturing' that is intrinsic to us and part of our physiology's complex intelligence.
For Cameron Art Museum I am creating and performing a new dance piece entitled "Gestures of Love", with which I play through a thought and movement experiment where gesture serves as the basis for dance, and dance is a form of language. Within a 'meet-the-artist' format, I will be offering a view into my choreographic practice, how I create movement, how I work with language, meaning, and storytelling. I examine how the body's movements speak to me and through me, and I am inviting an open discussion around how we assign and discover meaning in art in general, including the works of the current "Love" exhibit at CAM. This presentation traverses the fields of art and film theory, philosophies of embodiment, and practice research considerations around notions of move-thinking within academic contexts.
Click HERE for the "Gestures of Love" post-performance audience survey
PREMIERE: September 9th, 2023
as part of the "Love" Exhibit at Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, NC
Gestures of Love is available for touring in 2023/24
A film version of the performance is in process. Technical requirements are minimal. Solo performance. 40 min.