"There is immense power in being and believing the 'what if?'" @b_a_r_o_t is my current home base for tarot-initiated arts writing. Here, I use Major Arcanum XV, The Devil, to generate thoughts on creative practice and the power of conviction -- specifically, in relation to butoh.
Zena Bibler and I exchanged questions, notes, and insights about a performance collaboratively devised and performed by jose e. abad, Carlos Medina-Diaz, Justin Morris, and Randy Reyes. We were both reeling after the show — described as “an ephemeral micro-community” by the creator-performers — and wanted some time to process what we’d seen. What you see here is a lightly edited version of the ideas we generated together (via email) in the subsequent days.
"You would almost think dancers have a problem with being seen. And in fact many do...". An experiment joining two of my abiding interests: tarot and dance criticism.
What if we approach about [Childish Gambino's] “This is America” with a sense for its movement — that of Donald [Glover], his body, his ideas, the camera. What could we learn about the trickiness of trying to ‘tell the truth’ about Black life?
Let’s be a whir a whisk a whine snatched silk. Let’s not catch the crashing dishes. Let’s be the screech of ripping stitches.
Articulate dance can look like limbs and lines of logic darting from some stable center. There is, though, a subtler knowing.
I understand these things, but am not really sure I grasp the thing that makes one keep doing them. (A meditation on my time in Deborah Hay's Figure a Sea--and on the challenge of consciously practicing life.)
Studio trickery, racial/gendered politics, and wall-to-wall bangers collide noisily on Brit-Brit's seventh studio album. How could I keep silent?
In this moment, bodies are the explicit ground of political action. Further, animist-adjacent ways of knowing — including somatic experience, intuition, and spirituality — are used to justify all manner of gathering, from collective resistance to cult dynamics. As people who specialize in bodily knowledge, dancers are especially poised to ask the question uniting all these projects: When I work, who or what am I asking to claim my body? Pieter Performance Space hosted a conversation between me, five performers (Zena Bibler, Greg Barnett, Jade Charon, Dixon Li, and estrellx supernova), and a broader gathering of dancers to discuss these questions. This panel discussion extended into a broader dialogue on the deep(er) politics of dancemaking practice.