notes on what we’re doing here

legible according to the dictionary is
: capable of being read or deciphered : PLAIN
: capable of being discovered or understood

etymology: late 14c., from Late Latin legibilis “that can be read,” from Latin legere “to read”

reading dance, reading as processing, as responding, as reiterating, as extending, as searching out/making/elaborating meaning from dance: reading as a mode of access to the thing, as a process for creating impressions, recollections, after-the-event understandings…something said on Tuesday night at the Placing Performance discussion: how can Legible/Illegible open conversations, performances, and social spaces that drift away from the realm of “about”ness and head towards communal enactments of healing practices – not so much “what” as “this, here, now, and then…”

this keyword of the festival has a direct relationship to language
the curators made a choice to involve writers and to hold a discussion (read, discursive session; language exchange) about how words and places (including virtual language spaces, e.g. our current “location” here with you) shape performance’s “communicative power” and its consumption.

said discussion on Tuesday night wandered and trailed off gently from its verbosity, so perhaps the crucial thing is not to fight against words themselves but rather think through the relationships we produce and respond to through them: the kinds of rooms we can make with them.

dance’s fraught relationship to language:
needing it / getting caught between it
the description / the review* / the curatorial statement / the interview / the grant application

*uses of the review: as pre- or post-perception, as a reason to go to the show or a way of processing it after the fact; as an archival capture of the performance, an archive of one person’s experience of it in words that might stand in for one’s own; a piece of a larger (though impossible to fully ingest) puzzle of discourse/language/imagery/conversation/response that floats nebulously around a performance, always – just one among many pieces of the way the performance works in the world along with tweets, vines, post-show talks, chats over beer, marketing language, curatorial statements…maybe even a choreographer’s process notes and debates in rehearsal.

judson monday’s and AUNTS say no to reviewing
these events are usually free
both venues encourage risk & risk is not to be evaluated, yet

and MR @ Judson also becomes emblematic of Movement Research as artist/process support organization; and AUNTS shies away from over-languaging, over-describing their events – so that the DOING can have room to take place and get done.

what we are doing, tara and I, is, in a sense, unproductive, out of circulation – useless? speaking into the dark?

what does that do? – maybe we’ll be famous. indeed, all of us. and isn’t it funny that we’re getting paid this time?

does it create a new kind of writing? – we are our own editors, our own filters, our own constraints. – our writing is both singular and plural now

a new platform for performing? – as in, we are performing? or as in, we are relating as writers to performances and performers differently than reviewers…even differently than other edited forums? – yes AND if the expectations around language and representation (because that’s also what we’re talking about, where it gets sticky, right?) are lifted or shifted, how does this/can this impact the work being presented? – what might be gifted to both writer and artist at once? and reader. and viewer.

illegible bodies (to who and in what context), read into violence, read with violence.
illegible as in unread, erased, unrecognizable and holding potential for productive mystery, blindspots, unknowability, opacity – not “about”ness.

what if reviewers and writers language not only what they don’t know but also the experience of not knowing while watching something unknowable?

“who do we think we are?” i.e. what do we think we know about ourselves in relation to others? what do we think we know that we might not actually know or be able to know?

freedom stations—not just the designated events but all the events
a place of legibility? a place of freedom in the sense of “do what you need” “be how you need” (healing, openness, not beholden to allowance/prohibition structures.

“One day I thought I could fly
one day I woke up and I could fly
I’d look down at the sea
and I wouldn’t know myself
I’d have new hands
I’d have new feet
I’d have new vision
My eyes would be open a little better” – Nina Simone)

what would it feel like if we didn’t have to worry about our futures / our ratings / our survival?

maybe what we write in the dark is written by who we are in the dark
when we return to who we are in the light, could we try to see the gaps
not write over them but towards them?

I’d like to try.

— Jaime Shearn Coan & Tara Aisha Willis

  • May 15th, 2015
  • Spring Festival

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