This is the first cycle of my MFA Thesis. I envision my thesis as a three part process (or more). This first component was part of an evening walk around the OSU Arboretum with my MFA 2021 Cohort. To see an idea of the full event around the lake and other projects click here: https://dance.osu.edu/news/tethering-iteration-1-ohio-state-dance-mfa-project (missing from this footage is KJ Dye’s beautiful docents/community initiators that guided the audience with intention and reflection).
See more images of this work here.
In response to Covid, the OSU Dance MFA 2021 Cohort held a collaborative outdoor event. I placed my first cycle (Iteration X: Extending the Body) in this space. Five scheduled and timed groups were directed through a cultivated experience while simultaneously acting as docents to view sites of art. You see John Cartwright in the video above, directing a small audience toward my work.
In this outdoor space wifi and power were not available. I used a hotspot on my phone to transmit from both my computer and VR headset. I also used a battery to power my phone and computer for the duration. Battery operated LED lights were used to keep me lit into the night so that the VR headset would still track.
Iteration X: Extending the Body asked the audience to follow the directions on the screen to listen to the soundscape, view the perspective of the performer, and imagine alternate and simultaneous worlds and bodies as forms of resistance but also hope.
Jenny Odell writes “To resist in place is to make oneself into a shape that cannot so easily be appropriated by a capitalist value system.” This piece “resists-in-place.” Referred to as a “cyborg ninja,” I painted in VR while tethered to trees by bright pink parachute elastic. Using the resistance of the elastic to throw me through space, it felt like a fight with space to paint. The improvisation of movement creating painted traces in VR while the audience watched bright traces in the space I performed.
This iteration was one performance short of the final steps. In future iterations, I will keep the durational performance, but add in subsections. As each group arrives to my performance I will create a beginning “tutorial” including slow movements where I look at my hand and it is very clear I am painting in the 2D representation. I will move into faster and more abstract movement after they understand the initial concept and in the transition between groups I will envelop the whole work in a transparent bubble. As the new group enters I will start over. Each work representing a group and visible when looking back in the direction of previous works.