“Set”: a set of drawings, a theatre set, a set of rules, a set of game pieces, or a setting of the body into space.
Minimally constructed from masking tape, “Set” is a changing structure that can be used for games or performance and is activated by people moving within it.
This piece was developed during a workshop residency in Como, Italy. I created a set of markers with tape on the floor of the former church of San Francesco, where our workshop had been taking place. I asked my fellow resident artists how they might use these markers as a game or as a way to direct the body in choreography. I incorporated their input by altering the shapes or creating new ones, so that “Set” increased in complexity and could be used for different functions.
For the public presentation, I was given a time slot of twenty minutes. I asked the same people to perform in “Set” by following pre-designed instructions, which were based on their ideas. Prior to and during the performance, I walked around and handed out these instructions. The instructions included directions on how to play with “Set” as a game, a visual score, an architectural floor plan, an analytical drawing, a star map of a galaxy, a giant sticker set, and a visual poem. People crossed and navigated around each other while performing different tasks at the same time. They spent five to fifteen minutes carrying out their task, or multiple tasks in succession. Most attendees of the presentation watched from the perimeter and some walked through the performance space. The most resonant interactions occurred between those who were playing a sticker game, ripping up and repositioning the tape, and the rest of the actors who were following the tape as a guideline. This produced different positionalities, a constant instability, and interdependence.
“Set” can be thought of as an analogy for how bodies move inside structures of regulation. Arising from the experience of my own queer, racialized, gender transgressive body, “Set” considers how we navigate institutional space by innovating pathways and reconfiguring relations and boundaries.