Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Arc of a Life (in art) or The Importance of Community (in art) or The Body of the Artist (in art)

I cried in the museum (Museum der Moderne- Salzburg, AU) today. 

Maybe it's that I have a little cold, or that I lost another audition or that I spent 10 minutes high up on a mountain side watching a feather that was adrift in the sunlit breeze but not falling endlessly before it got pulled out of view and I was all ‘that feather is just like us. Benevolence keeps it from crashing, but it’s powerless to direct itself.’ I might just be spending way too much time alone. Sooooo much time for existential pondering. 

But I was watching Charlotte Moorman’s 1982 performance of Yoko Ono’s Cut Piece. (Cut Piece, 1965, where Yoko Ono sits and the audience is invited (allowed?) to cut pieces of her clothing off, choosing how much or how little of her to expose. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYJ3dPwa2tI) Cut Piece is powerful and at first it was hard for me to accept why Moorman “stole” it from Ono. But Moorman, like Ono, like me, is a woman and not just a woman but also a woman who gave her body and her life to art. 

Moorman performed Cut Piece hundreds of times but this particular time was in her home for a private party of invited guests. It was performed 3 years after having lost one breast to cancer and a few days before a mastectomy on the other. Moorman was holding the vulnerability of a woman- our objectified bodies, the vulnerability of an artist in the middle of their career-the way a work we repeat grows with us with each eye that sees it to shift over time, the vulnerability of a body disfigured by disease, and the vulnerability of a human facing mortality- a woman on her way to death giving a gift (a performance)/soliciting a gift (an audience) to/from her friends. Almost a funeral before death. A way to look back over one’s professional, personal and physical life. A way of acknowledging the gifts the body gives us and the joys the body will take with it when it goes. 

Many of Moorman’s friends would cut away a piece of her dress (a piece of her soul/her creative legacy/ a souvenir of a human, admired and loved) and than they would give her a kiss. She just sat and allowed and received. 

I do not support the myth that to be an artist is to be any more of a martyr than other professions, but this is the martyrdom of which I am personally acquainted. Particularly the art of the body with it’s unique blend of responses; genuine artistic respect, sexual objectification, suspicious envy, moral shaming, na├»ve confusion. 

The art of the body with it’s inseparability from it’s creator, If I am the subject, the medium and the creator of my work and you do not like my work does it not logically follow that you do not like me? The art of the body with it’s exhaustion and it’s breaking and it’s tendency to whittle us down. (Calling to mind viewing Michael Sailstorfe’s installation in the Boros Collection in Berlin of a tree slowly wearing away from years of scraping on the floor. Our viewing is the motivation for it’s destruction. At the beginning of the exhibit it was green and leafy and now we have watched for years and it is brown and dry. In watching we are complicit in it’s destruction. Without our watching it has no purpose. Our eyes give it life as well as death. So it is with artist’s that use their body as their medium. We are here to be seen. Being seen wears us away, your eyes are like water over rock. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NGwPa3z8zU

And finally, The Art of the Body with the way it disappears when we do. When we die.  The art dies. More than that when we age, the works of the past either evolve into something new (a death and rebirth) or they die completely. More than that maybe as we age, you turn your eyes from us to other faces and than what are we but left to rot? 

We give you art and you give us eyes. We give you our existence and you give us a reason to exist. 

But that wasn’t all I thought about watching Moorman’s Cut Piece. I thought about the arc of a life and the peculiar nature of the arc of a life as an artist. A life when many people that do not know us well enough to know the superficial nature of our days will know not only our public triumphs but also the private heartbreaks, failures, disappointments through our work. What a thing to live a life in public. If your body is public property (as all art should be) and your body is eaten by cancer, than your art- OUR art has been eaten by a cancer. We all have these storms through which we steer our lives but how curious to have it all framed by the way it changes the product we produce. 

Finally I just thought how beautiful it is to allow space to invite your community to come and pay homage to you (and to collect their souvenirs) as you go into battle with a killing disease. I want to pay homage to my people before they die, to their face. I want my people to pay homage to me.

I love you. Let’s keep making art.  Let’s keep making space. Let’s keep looking at each other. Thank you. xo

Please forgive the quality of the photos they were taken on the sly while the security guard was in the other room telling some one else not to take photos.
(Art lives because we see it. A no photo policy of an object of art is counterproductive)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

God Like Physics

"The only place where he is happy is on a dive, the deeper the better.  "When I'm on the bottom everything is so right" Sitting alone on the bottom of the ocean I've witnessed the holy presence of God" 
"You mean God like Jehova?"
He says, "No, I mean God like physics".
-The Pugilist at Rest, Thom Jones

Anybody that has spent much time with me knows that the body is my bible.  Pretty much all of my spiritual development and much of any psychological progress I make comes from what I learn from a long-term regular engagement with physical practice. The struggles, triumphs, setbacks and failures of  ‘dance life’ have provided me with all the relevant metaphors for becoming a better human.  If you’ve ever rehearsed with me or indulged a movement geek out session of mine you know I turn to lessons in technique how one turns to biblical parables.  Sometimes though, I get disconnected from my practice, disconnected from my body, I lose myself. When I find my way back it’s always with awe that I rediscover the wisdom embedded within us. Everything I learn about my body correlates and supports everything I need to know about living. Than I get so filled with gratitude to have stumbled into a life path that enables a non-joining skeptic like me a way to experience grace. So pardon me while I testify.

Last Sunday I went to a class called Dance Church at Velocity Dance Center in Seattle, WA, USA taught by Kate Wallich.  Its basically an all fun, all welcome community cardio party. When I reached my aerobic euphoria state I remembered a lesson that I’ve learned before.  Dance is the constant. The thing that can be relied upon.  Jobs come and go, houses come and go, people come and go, dance will always be there waiting if you want it.  It doesn’t care if you’re broke, or broken, or confused, or ugly, or even injured, the music, the breath, the movement is free and yours for the taking.  It is there at anytime, to free you from yourself.  To free you from the world.  To remind you that you’re actually still alive and that’s pretty good.

Last night I shared a work for old and new friends at Studio Current’s Saloon in Seattle, WA, USA. A friend and colleague described my work in terms of a hurricane. There was chaos and in the center was me.  She said that my work created a sensation similar to when they eye of the storm passes over you.  This is an amazing  observation and a perfect metaphor for my relationship to dance. Dance is the primary way I navigate the storms of life.  I truly do not think I would still be alive today without dance.  For real.  Life is hard and I’m a delicate flower and honestly…. I’ve found myself in some crazy places, both within myself and also out in the world.  Dance holds my hand and lifts me out of it and gives me a reason to go on.  Dance is the eye of the storm.  The world is heartbreak and chaos but dance is that small window where everything settles and slows and you catch your breath for the next fight.

Today I completed a 6 day course in the Gyrotonic Leg Extension Unit.  It was a struggle. I have some real heartache in my life right now, grieving deeply and completely adrift in life. I’ve been feeling broken, weak, inadequate. Going in every day feeling small and powerless as I do and focusing in and tackling very difficult physical tasks, at times even with the elegance I’ve spent my life working towards, reminds me not only of the physical strength I possess but also of the strength of my will.  After completing the course I feel I can do anything.

And now for the parable.  While I’ll be grieving what I’ve lost for some time, the chaos of my recent life has subsided. I’m on the other side of the storm, but like a bird I’m circling for dry land. Wondering if I should land somewhere known and ‘safe’ or if I should, even in my current fragile state continue as I have been for sometime and travel further away from my home, continuing in new life experiences vs nesting in the familiar.  The LEU machine is an amazing bit of equipment.  At first it took quite a lot for me to manage it.  Many of my joints are a little too loose and it is easy when working with my limbs extended against weight to feel as if I’ll be pulled apart, and having had quite a few injuries, I like to feel my joints solid and aligned. However, I’m also an artisan and I crave that full extended expression of the length of my limbs at the max. Over the 6 day course I eventually learned how to hold my bones in socket while also letting the weights of the machine draw me into my fullest range of movement.  This magnificent feeling of being completely within oneself while also being completely extended past what I previously perceived to be a safe and comfortable place to be.  The parable. I’m emotionally stretched beyond a place where I feel ok.  I’m also soon going to be leaving my ‘home’ to expand my world again in an unfamiliar land.  My fluid and explorative identity has often taken me beyond the limits of myself.  Like dancing in the edge of your joints this is exhausting and wearing to the spirit. Sometimes it blows out entirely.  But like the body that can learn to reach beyond itself while still holding together, I think it’s possible that I can also learn to stay solid in my heart, solid in myself while still extending my life past the boundaries of what is reasonable and expected.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

From the Archives: Fugue

I'm spending some time in my parents home going through old files as I transition from my life in NYC to my upcoming life in Melbourne.  I found this text used in two performances (Cut Your Losses presented at 12 Min Max at On the Boards Dec 2011 and Fugue* presented at Henry Art Gallery in overlay with the Carolee Schneeman Retrospective Nov 2011).
This was written right before I left Seattle. I was clearly in a heavy head space. My head is clearer now but my obsessions with identity, mirror an the intangible quality of home we find in ourselves and others- still holds.
What an interesting time to revisit this as I once again am on the precipice of new life, adrift in a liminal space, seeking mirrors with which to build a home.

 *(Fugue in this instance is a reference to Fugue State- "It is a rare psychiatric disorder characterized by reversible amnesia for personal identity, including the memories, personality , and other identifying characteristics of individuality. The state is usually short-lived (ranging from hours to days), but can last months or longer. Dissociative fugue usually involves unplanned travel or wandering, and is sometimes accompanied by the establishment of a new identity" -from wikipedia



place of transition

between identities,

 stranger in new land, between selves,  without a home,  hypnotherapy, anaesthesia, dream states, sleepwalking, insomnia,  drowsiness, intoxication, dissociation, meditation, medication,  hanged man, step off a cliff

  usually change is so gradual we don’t notice it until long after it has taken place but sometimes the carpet is yanked from underneath you and you you are slapped with the awareness that you will never be the you that you were  before and the frightening emptiness that there is not yet a new formed you to take it’s place.

you are lost luggage.  no where to land, no home, not   even inside yourself. 

A tame bird set to the sky to circle not knowing where or how to land.

Could this circling ever be called freedom?  This rootless aimless circling, not freedom and all the hope it holds.  But a limbo,  a period of death.  

What if it never ends.  What if the bird never finds a new home, what if you never find a new home within yourself.  What if you live the rest of your life a stranger amongst yourself.  Never being able to settle into your skin again and say ‘now, this, this is me.’  Always looking into the eyes of a foreign body. How long can a human live without the house of identity it builds around itself?

 sure it can dress itself up,   wearing masks of selves .  the professional self, the fun self, 

I put on the clothes that I see the others around me put on, but what if it  never leads to a truth?  A realization of a newly developed self. 

What if it forever remains the act,  the motions of dressing and smiling and behaving the motions of brushing and cleaning and working the motions of laughter

 always with a detached eye asking who is this?  This can not be you?  Where are you?  Who are you?  Are you gone forever?  Will the rebirth ever come?  

Is spring dead?  New shoots forever just below the soil’s skin, buds forever on the verge of bursting open? 

Will we ever recognize ourselves as real and vital and solid and breathing again?  Will we ever be a necessity.  will we ever feel a place of sanctuary belonging at home within ourselves?

 Does it depend on the world?  The mirror?  Can it be put right by the reflection of someone who sees it correctly.  Did it fall apart because the environment was wrong.  The “other”  double quotation marks capital O other that reflected back at you reflected a picture so out of synch with what you’d had in your head that there is no reconciling the two. 

The cognitive dissonance imploded your already slightly fractured ego.  Leaving nothing no trace of self.  No sense of solidity. 

Could it all be fixed with the right mirror.  The right town? the right community?  A single person to see what really is there and give it back to you in the mirror of comraderie. A mirror showing that indeed it is you alive and breathing in a recognizable body, a recognizable costume, in a geographic location. 

A you with purpose place and future.  a you with a present. no longer a collage of so many broken and failed pasts but “YOU”  Capitol  y. o. u. 

here in this place standing  now.  but still moving towards a future, a future that can hold all of you every last shard of self and be big enough and strong enough and tacky enough to keep it all together and beautiful enough to give it a sense of freedom a place to fly to and fly away from.  Because freedom has an anchor a home. 

Freedom is the choice to have a home or to leave that home.  Choice requires hope. Hope doesn’t exist with out desire. desire has no home without identity.

But the mirror the right mirror maybe can build a home

give you hope

 an exit strategy

 from  endless free fall

 endless vacumm

 black hole of the future 


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Showing work in AUNTS!

friday april 3
7 pm
the invisible dog arts center
51 bergen st
brooklyn ny

in concordance with
blister pact 
ian trask

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

i have a new performance date after the blizzard cancellation

see an excerpt from 
Leda in Waiting 

march 10 at 7 pm

at eden's expressway
537 broadway 
4th floor
ny, ny

$3 suggested donation

in the meantime please enjoy this calming video of a sailboat on fire
"yea, let's get away from this. this is going to blow."

Monday, January 26, 2015

Showing Suspended Due to Inclement Weather

You will have to wait to see Leda in Waiting. 
The blizzard has hit and Movement Research has cancelled Open Performance this Tuesday 1/27/15.  

Stay tuned for the reschedule and in the meantime please enjoy this preview of things you may or may not see when you attend.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Leda In Waiting

Did she put on his knowledge with his power?

I mistook the web he was weaving for a nest we were building together.
In other words-
There will be no birds.  
There will be no babies.

WAXworks at Triskelion Arts

photo credit:  Eric Bandiero

Come again January 27th 
Movement Research Open Performance
537 Broadway- NY, NY- 4th Floor

Friday, September 12, 2014

upcoming materializations

mark your calendars

i'm conjuring up a new solo, with the working title of


sunday december 14 in waxworks at triskelion arts in brooklyn ny
tuesday january 27 in movement research: open performance at eden's expressway ny ny

From Eyes Like Arrows

November 2013
photos by Eric Bandiero

Thursday, October 17, 2013


em·bed (m-bd) also im·bed (m-)
v. em·bed·ded also im·bed·ded, em·bed·ding also im·bed·ding, em·beds also im·beds
1. To fix firmly in a surrounding mass
2. To enclose snugly or firmly.
3. To cause to be an integral part of a surrounding whole
5. Biology To enclose (a specimen) in a supporting material before sectioning for microscopic examination.
To become embedded: The harpoon struck but did not embed.