On Movement, Thought and Politics

On Movement, Thought and Politics is an ongoing collaborative project with Ashley Hunt born from our attempts to merge and challenge our respective disciplines: dance, visual art, activism and teaching. We look at what these disciplines and daily, political life demand of the body and mind. We explore how they shape communities and the theories and possibilities that each offers. The works that make up On Movement, Thought and Politics sit uncomfortably between dance, visual art, activism and teaching, belonging faithfully to none while pushing against the boundaries that separate them.

The collaboration is animated by an interest in the body as a site of knowledge, of new capacities and emerging agencies. Following our first two collaborative investigations, Undeliverable 1the single channel video, Engagement (2004), and the installation and ‘zine, Undeliverable Address: 53 Questions that will not be answered by the White House (2005), we developed a workshop of short pedagogical scores, micro-lectures and thought-movement exercises during a shared residency at BAK (Center for Contemporary Art) in Utrecht, Netherlands.

FOCA / MTandP 6Those workshops are the basis for continuing investigations, including the 2009 video and photographic installation, On Movement, Thought and Politics: Garment Worker Center, Los Angeles, produced through a series of workshops with members of the Los Angeles-based Garment Worker Center. In this work, scores for three tableau vivants are created with the education materials used by the Center to teach workers how to make demands for their rights. In each iteration, two different workers volunteer to direct, shaping their fellow workers into the postures and gestures that they understood the posters to suggest.

Par Course A, B, and C IMG_0239are performative sculptures that enact movement-thought exercises inspired by the exercise stations that can be seen populating nature trails and parks. They script, prompt and reflect back upon the viewer in order to engage their sensory, physical and political presence. Par Course A (2010) positions the viewer as the performer who “completes” a series of artworks, which are set up as an exercise circuit and “par course.” Par Course B: Labor Questions (2012) was created in collaboration with members of the Hyde Park Art Center‘s Youth Art Board. Par Course C: Formations, Maneuvers, Drills (2013) was made with members of the Veterans’ Resource Center at Cypress College.

During a 2011 residency at Project Row Houses, we spoke with members of the surrounding community about the ways communal safety is constructed and felt. A reflection on this engagement, Safety Words (2013), was presented at Documenta 13’s And And And.

[BLACKOUT] (2014) is a sensory installation with video and sound built upon the Par Course projects. It centers on a darkened room set up to mimic a black box theater stage with its lights off, with black felt hanging as wings and stage curtains, which the viewer can explore by touch and feeling as their eyes adjust and their ears tune in to a quiet sound score alternating between the murmur of an audience awaiting a show to begin and people moving through streets.

Most recently, excerpts from Par Course A were included in WOUND: Mending Time and Attention at The Cooper Union in New York City.

Wendy Vogel, Critics’ Picks: WOUND: Mending Time and Attention, Artforum.