When I was thirteen, I went to a friend’s beach house for a week in May. I think there was a crawfish festival going on, because I remember live music coming out of every bar and grill in the downtown square. I should mention that my friend and I were just starting our own band. (The first song we learned was Hootie and the Blowfish’s “Let Her Cry.”) On the drive home at the end of the week, we stopped at a place that had a lunch buffet. I remember my friend’s dad telling me that I sure made the most of the $9.99 All-You-Can-Eat-Seafood buffet.
One of the reasons I chose to attend Columbia for my MFA in Poetry had nothing to do with poetry at all, or Hootie and the Blowfish, for that matter. But it did have everything to do with Columbia’s interdisciplinary reputation. Although my program’s core curriculum makes it a little difficult to find space for interdisciplinary electives if you take advantage of the GSI program and editorial opportunities that the program offers, I wanted to make the most of the opportunities that were offered me. Whether it’s fried shrimp and hushpuppies or papermaking and video installation, I say sign me up.
Last fall, Columbia’s Department of Exhibition and Performance Spaces (DEPS) came to the Interdisciplinary Arts and Creative Writing programs about doing a collaboration to populate C33, one of Columbia’s South Loop gallery spaces. During the making and installation of our show, We Become Each Other’s Unmakers, I met my friend and collaborator, Julynn Wilderson.[flickr id=”14084247210″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
Julynn and I also blogged for Columbia at CAA in February. Julynn had mentioned a course in her program—Image, Time, & Motion—so I got in touch with Paul Catanese, Associate Chair of the IA Department about taking the class.
Between our collaborative projects for the C33 exhibition and our work in the Image, Time, & Motion class, Julynn and I were creating a lot of material, much of which could be traced back to a deep performative impulse. The only performance experience I’ve had was with a collective in Paris called Tropique Noir, when I was living there in 2012, so performative art is still a relatively new terrain for me. But apparently word still got out.[flickr id=”14084291967″ thumbnail=”medium_640″ overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
My good friend Marie and I both share my brother Sam’s Netflix account. So it seems we all have a way of keeping tabs on what we’re all watching. But sometimes, this happens:[flickr id=”14270849765″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
(Antichrist, Holy Motors, Fatal Attraction? What was happening in the universe that night?)
It was a great semester doing both performance and new media work, and I even have a 6-minute piece up on a formidable stack of microtiles at 33 E. Congress Ave., along with the rest of the artists in the Image, Time, & Motion class. This particular work is a projected performance that deals with the the invisible barriers and inaccessibilities that develop between us, whether culturally, sexually, racially, or otherwise.[flickr id=”14270427144″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
For MANIFEST, I was extremely honored to perform as part of Penelope Hearne’s thesis exhibition show, “Metal Skeletons & Lost Lands,” which explores the experience of individuals who were exposed to natural gas and energy pollution. Penelope and I also met in the collaboration for We Become Each Other’s Unmakers.[flickr id=”14084195869″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
This performance involved reciting the stories of people who have been affected by the damage caused from natural gas hydraulic fracturing. Penelope’s exhibition was a beautiful and moving blend of dance, performance, song, storytelling, installation, and guided tour.
Tonight, when I texted Marie to ask if I could use the screenshot of her text, she told me yes. But she had other questions as well:[flickr id=”14084195269″ thumbnail=”medium_640″ overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]