Elisa Harkins, Zoe Poluch and I are collaborating on a new piece titled Radio III that will premiere at the MAI (Montreal, Arts interculturels) the first week of June 2019.

Departing from the ontological, physical, emotional, historical and political associations that emerge from the number 3, we materialize dance and music attempting to explore the basic units that compose narrative and meaning in a phrase. We are doing this through simultaneity, both as a working method and as a way of composing the performance. We are asking how we can make materials co-exist: our respective, autonomous artistic practices, our shared and not shared genealogies of art knowledge/making/education, our shared and not shared cultural backgrounds. Simultaneity has political as well as aesthetic implications; it calls for the co-existence of things and proposes a way of practicing the pluralizing of spaces. We are attempting to object-ify our individual expressivity, dance histories and aesthetic/cultural references. How can we propose a weak ontology of the art object, an ontology that is supple, fluid and relational?

Exhilarated by a common interest in minimalism in art and music, we are asking how we can work on the performativity and spatial principles of minimalism while being unfaithful to its recognizable aesthetic and its claim to so-called ‘neutrality’. We are on the lookout for a dance that haunts the recognizable toolbox of abstraction, form, repetition and pattern by making visible what should not be seen. We feel compelled to explore a dance that is vested in expression but not (only) in self-expression. How can we diffuse and displace the expressive and physical dynamics of the dance and music material? Where can we go after the minimalist turn, Yvonne Rainer’s dramatic No Manifesto’s negation of spectacle, virtuosity, image and style other than to Mette Ingvartsen’s subsequent Yes Manifesto’s reformulation of virtuosity? What could be a third? When in a bind, caught in the antagonism of the binary, add a third. We are interested in exploring the poetics and the politics of a third: not to locate and to position this third (do we really need more than left, center and right, beginning, middle and end?!) but to generate a methodology that works on positioning as a verb which entails noticing changing relations without staking ownership on a particular place (conceptual or physical).

We are using the notion of the background (as in background/foreground) as a way to investigate the relations through which things are made visible and invisible. We are looking into the image and function of wallpaper and the (invisibilized) backup singer to help us make dance scores, influence the dynamics of our dancing and music compositions, unison movements and the imprinting of a room with multiple and simultaneous patterns.

Elisa Harkins
My work is about Indigeneity, language, and the body. I’m interested in unearthing Indigenous histories and exploring modes of retelling these stories.

With influences such as Noguchi, Martha Graham, and Minimalism (Conrad, Young, Zazeela), new combinations are created by joining this with the Cherokee and Muscogee Languages and cultures.

Ever since taking lessons in my tribal languages (Cherokee, Muscogee), I find a profound interest to preserve the languages. Princeton University did a study with Artificial Intelligence and found that the English language is inherently racist. My work is interested in using the languages as a vehicle of expression as well as to document and publish it in digital as well as analog (vinyl record) forms.

And my work is also interested in repetition. The small tasks that we do every day that are repetitive are sometimes called ritual. In Indigenous ceremony, songs are sung several times in a row, and it is not unlikely for a ceremony to last 24 hours. As well as in rave or club culture, dancing can happen for hours and hours. It is through consistency of presenting ourselves a certain way every day that our identity to other people is perceived. My work is interesting in time/duration/repetition in an attempt to de-colonize listening.