FORENSICS OF THE CHAMBER
The prompt for this performative dance was an invitation from poet j/j hastain who asked if I would originate a set of motions/choreographed gestures to usher in xir forthcoming book, Forensics of the Chamber—an exuberant text that explores biorhythms, embodied language and gender display. j/j’s work has to do with organic largess, so I thought large civic expanses: sidewalks, the park and backyards that merge with each other + sky, bodies, camera, air, signs, significations, ideas. My friend, the filmmaker and poet Stephanie Grey graciously agreed to film the roving somatosensory confluences. The dance became a multi-site, durational occasion to open up the constellations of meaning in j/j’s text by extending those meanings with the social-ecological matrix. The opening movements occurred in a backyard garden in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. I used two mirrors as a platform on which to perform. This cellular narration of gestures concerned itself with the body as multi-dimensional communicative channel. I moved with environmental cues from the trees, wind, clouds, soil, etc. The mirrors distorted my body, magnified angles of the body, cast light and doubled me. I danced with shadows and mirrored doubles. I then moved to a chain-linked fence surrounding a parking lot where the impetuous was to explore what honor (sans war, patriarchal aims or nationalism) might look like. Gestures became volatile, rebellious and chaotic. Passersby paused before my motion-filled body and made commentary. Here I performed the beauty of open emotional registers by exploring vulnerability and exposure. The site recalled systems of incarceration such as Guantanamo Bay—all the institutions within the industrial-prison complex. At street level, gesturing by the chain-linked fence, I felt reordered by the semiotics and mechanisms of the state (the street grid, the flow of traffic, the encasement of private property). My torso made repeated contact with the metal fence and the concrete sidewalk. The dance continued as I made my way with Stephanie to Prospect Park. The transitional energy brought forth mutating impulses. j/j’s text opens up the body-gender axis so it was important to originate movements that signaled a body open to change. I demonstrated this ethic by sharing my sex with rock formations, radicalizing the crotch of the statue in the park’s entrance, fondling the sky, swaying in the park with the ball players, sparking with debris and cast off objects. The social energy of the park was vibrant and replenishing and my body acknowledged the reciprocal energy of this commons. What is my anatomy willing to initiate in order to share discursive engagement? How can I open up in appearance? How do the boundaries between human, animal, gendered beings, the environment and ideological constructs dissolve? Research movement around these themes felt necessary and stimulating.