Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rear Window | City Arts Festival Reflections

Here are some notes I wrote in the immediate aftermath of being installed in a storefront window (5' x 15') for seven hours with Jody Keuhner while Adam Sekuler was simultaneously installed in another window making a film.  The idea was for us all to "perform" the creative process, or put in in a fish tank rather.  We had no agenda except to learn about and document our rehearsal process and filmmaking process.  We were fed material from a steady stream of crowd-sourced videos, audio and photos documenting the "mundane, " the every day. 
Now the notes:

-Time cut offs force you to make crucial decisions

-Videos and photographs require a lot of distilling to get something meaningful and readable in the body.

-Why work with the mundane?  To create something mundane?  To see the mundane as extraordinary?

-What does collage look like in dance?  Is it possible with one body?

-Is it possible to to be in the process of making something without an agenda?



1. “Wasting Time”

2. I need these gadgets, even if they are crutches.

3. What are we looking at?  What are we looking for?

4. NOW IT MEANS SOMETHING – How documentation creates the opportunity to read more into something than it has undocumented.

5. Rigor, Interrupting yourself, breaking the rules, sticking with it

How do I mesh the desire to dance around with the commitment to make thoroughly considered work--to go somewhere with a concept or material in my body that may or not look like “dance,” all the while still really loving and wanting to just fucking dance.   The answer in another question. . . Why does watching “just fucking dance” bore me so? Okay, that is definitely NOT always the case.  I love the masters.  I do love straight up codified modern dance. . . but generally from the 40s-60s.

7. Is it possible to remove the performance of “being watched?”


9. This is no time to be a wimp/safe/think too hard/do to much/try to prove something aka
If we had to walk into a theater right now, what would we perform?


Here is what Jody and I made in our performance of a rehearsal:
If we were ever to perform this part of the performance again, it would have to be in a 5 x 15 foot glass box.

Here is part of Adam's performance of filmmaking:

Friday, October 19, 2012

all we need is a little bit of time, a little bit of space and YOUR material.

Saturday, Oct 20th 10am-5pm (Seattle, USA)


Rear Window is a seven-hour live dance and filmmaking project I'm undertaking tomorrow with dance artist Jody Kuehner and filmmaker Adam Sekuler, digesting and distorting ordinary images, sounds, and video crowd sourced from City Arts patrons, artists, and peers all over the world. 

We have a particular interest in the beautifully mundane or maybe not so beautiful everyday realities.  This could be taking out the trash, clipping your nails, watching a leaf blow by, working at your job, doing your daily artistic practice.

Can you appreciate something you don't always appreciate by being asked to document and share it? 

We will be installed in the City Arts Culture Club for the day making something from your material.  
 We are coming with no plans.  Just a couple wigs, funny coats, and notebooks from every composition workshop I have ever taken and can find notes for to be our guide.   

The film will screen in the front window of the Culture Club tomorrow and elsewhere in the future.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Croutons make me hungry. Saying we’re “Honoring Women” instead of we’re “calling out” or “ending sexism” makes me angry. I’m tired of both of these things

I sat inside on the computer for almost the entire day today.  I thought I would go to the gym before heading down to SAM’s private opening of Elle but as I headed out the door with backpack of sweats and water bottle, I reneged.   My vision of mounting myself onto one of the 100 elliptical machines under the weird blueish-white light, flashing cable TV in the ice blast of too much AC clashed with my idea of feminist preparations.  I mean, I guess that is the surface of what I was thinking.  I actually feel totally ambivalent about the gym at this point.  Underneath it all, I was worried about getting hungry during our 45-minute performance of “no.”

So I walked down to SAM, feeling the gravity of downhill glide my legs down Pike into the sunset on Puget Sound.  I navigated through canvassers in the downtown shopping district. 

Do you have a few minutes to . . . .? 


I thought, is the problem that canvassing is the worst job ever and shouldn’t be part of our political system or is it that I need to get over my problem with stopping to engage with a stranger on the street and thinking my time is more precious than everyone else’s?  And thus the issue of “no” is raised for me.

No always makes me question myself.  Should I be saying no?  Why am I saying no?  What am I helping/hurting by saying no? Do I mean no?   Is saying no privileged?  Is it empowering?  Does it protect me?
I enter SAM and immediately feel a tiny sense of dread.  This concept and performance is inspiring to me.  The artists involved are completely compelling but I feel a sense of disempowerment creeping in as we begin our performance of “no.” 

There are many beautiful silly moments.  I find relief in laughing the word no.   In partnering with Syniva in a supportive hands-on “no.”  In stepping away slightly and turning my back to feel the chorus of “nos” like a structure I can rest upon as I release myself from the task.  I’m aware of my class, my race, my age, my status as artist, the place in feminism I’m locating myself in in this act of separation and rebellion.  I wonder what the “nos” would feel like if our group included some of the trophy wives, museum employees, caterers, and men.  I wonder if I'm just bad at saying no.  After another while of performing “no” I step over to the window and look down and see a man pushing another disheveled man in a wheelchair past the museum.  I turn and watch the group of women from behind and then see Mimi stand in front and wave her arms.  It’s over.
Mimi hands us all little packets of croutons to take into the galleries to crunch when we “encounter a work that provokes” us.  The whole time I’m holding the packet, I keep having the urge to tear it open and eat the crouton and realize that there is something about the content and scarcity of a crouton that makes me uncontrollably hungry.

More musings of the no no girls can be found here.

More info on the Elles exhibit is here.


send photos of "no" to me anytime

shannonkstewart at gmail dot com