EXPERIMENT #49: FULL-BODY POETICS
Any of my artistic performances are poetic ones, intentionally created to extend the concept of poetry, even when returning to its origins in performance. My performances always include the display of visual poems, the singing of extemporaneous songs, and the movement of my body through space. These performances are intended to be expressions of the body in space-as voice, as expression, as gesture and dance. Each performance is prepared ahead of time but is different in content from every other. Even though I know what poems I will perform and have practiced those against my tongue and body, what I don’t know until I’m there is how I will use my body to take advantage of that space.
Every planned performance is an extemporaneous one contained and permitted by a certain space, and the problem of my performances is to determine how to make use of the space I am in and the people I am surrounded by.
For my performance in the Red Rover Reading Series, curated by Laura Goldstein and Jennifer Karmin, in Chicago, I found myself in a wide, long room with a smooth blond wood floor leading to a bank of tall windows. I lived in this space for an hour or so, setting up the projector for the images I would splash onto the wall. During the performance, I would exclaim unreadable visual texts, play a short videopoem, and read texts in French, Spanish, and English.
With time in that space, I understood how to perform within it. First, I ranged over its entire length, starting at the farthest possible distance from the audience and moving in towards them, only so I could continue to move before them. I would occasionally snatch a page from the floor to read the words thereon, then drop it and move on. Every performance is an unending stream of data, even if ever-changing.
While the videopoem played, I knelt on the floor and photographed the audience, who watched, captive, only the images on the screen. During my ending poemsong, I bolted from one end of the room to the windows, leaping at the very end up onto the window ledge to climb that ledge as I continued to sing. And I ended by sitting back in the audience, still singing but soon going silent, not asking for applause and not directly noting the performance had ended. Because it never ends. And the space makes it so.