Friday, September 15, 2017

Choreographic Residency: Week 9


Greetings from Singapore.  I'm writing you from across the Pacific Ocean in Singapore.  I'm on tour with an outdoor aerial spectacle theatre company performing for the Grand Prix.  It's a fun gig, but cars are loud... Anyway, on my flight to Singapore from LAX, I flew across the boundary that I’ve been so obsessed with lately, the California shore.  At midnight on Saturday, I perched over my window seat and saw the huge ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier, lit in its glory, bidding me adieu. I thought, wow, in a month from today, I’ll be performing about a mile north of that site. Mission organization.

I've been working tirelessly in airports, my hotel room, airplanes, and cafes organizing this event.  I've sent out a call for performers and have gathered a few dozen artists to help me on this project.  I'm super excited about it.  I've been quite busy, possibly even too busy to write a proper posting.  But let me leave you with the work of Ai Weiwei, someone who has been creating compelling work surrounding the topic of displacement and the plight of refugees. His influence on my creative audacity is monumental.  Here are a few of his projects that directly relate to what I'm interested in exploring while at the Annenberg Community Beach House.  Oh, and lastly, here is the event info. RSVP here if you haven't already done so.



Monday, September 11, 2017

Choreographic Residency: Week 8

Today is Labor Day, and I'm in Santa Maria, CA (my hometown) for a family reunion of sorts that my father helped start a long, long time ago.  My father immigrated to America in 1933.  I mentioned this earlier in a previous post about the treacherous venture across the Pacific he took to get here. He came here in a large steam boat of Filipino men, landing somewhere in Northern California.  A few of those men were some of his friends and family from the area of Loon (pronounced: loh'ohn). When they came to America, this group of friends and family hailing from Loon sought solidarity and community.  They created a network of friends that met every Labor Day.  It started off as a small party with just about a dozen men, and now, almost 100 years later, has grown to an organization of over 500 members and attendees.  I spent this holiday with my family and friends contemplating how large it has become... and perhaps how distant we've come from our immigrant, founding fathers.  

I think my dad would be proud of me now, continuing to research the work of his histories and unspoken narratives.  

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I am thinking of changing the title of this work to Out of Bounds. Somehow I don't think LUCID is appropriate anymore.  I thought of two titles that I'm going to share with you, whoever you (the reader) are:

  • I thought of "The Lines Between Us and Them" after reading about Alejandro Inaritu's VR installation simulating what it's like to cross the Mexican-American border, now on view at LACMA, called Carne y Arena.  I just scored some tickets, excited to see how it might influence the work.
  • Then I thought it was too on-the-nose, title-wise, so then, "The Grey Between Us" came to mind.  I likened of us/them to a Venn diagram.  I thought of the boundaries that categorized one entity from another, and where they overlapped.  These boundaries then led me to think of the title I think I'm going to stick with:


It as a sports connotation, which I don't know yet how it relates to the work.  Somehow, changing the title to this is liberating my process.  Excited to explore with this in mind.  



Images by Andrew Mandinach 



Monday, September 4, 2017

Choreographic Residency: Week 7

I performed a new work at homeLA last week.  It was a huge learning experience as far as navigating the line between conversation and performance.  I will be sure to apply these skills to the performance at the Annenberg Community Beach House.  

The title of my work was Reverie, Regret; Revisited.  I added two words "reverie" and "regret" because I felt the original title "Revisited" was a copout  for a more meaningful name.  I like the prefix "re" because it applies to the meaning "again" or "backward," which lends itself to support my interest with memory.  

Reverie because I'm a dreamer, an American Dreamer.  I've mentioned before that I'm a first generation American and how my father has kept me conscious of how there are more opportunities in America.  More about my father later when I discuss what I did for Labor day...  

Regret because I am often apologetic for things I shouldn't be apologetic for.  I think it has to do with the pressure of pleasing others or striving for perfection.  Reverie and regret are two things I do often... 

As the audience walked up to the carport, the site I chose for my performance at homeLA: Larchmont on August 26, I asked spectators if they could help me build a wall with the cardboard boxes.  I then asked if they could remove boxes from the middle of the wall and add it on top, sort of like Jenga.  Then I asked them if they could fasten/secure the wall with masking tape.  What emerged was a community involved project where they were working together for a common goal.  



I have been playing with the idea of blurring the line between conversation and performance.  As people immersed themselves in the space, I engaged in conversation.  I felt comfortable to leave them when they began working together to build and fasten the wall.  I then went into the carport and began interacting with the contact microphones on the cardboard walls/floors.  I really enjoy the effect of looping, distorting, and echoing the sounds created by the movement vibrations on the cardboard. The amplification and alteration of these sounds creates a reconstruction of memory and experience.  I'm excited to further explore this at the beach house.


photos by Andrew Mandinach

A little bit of feedback I got from people was that it was short and I can take my time in moments...  I get it; I'm anxious.  I think every section in this dance could probably be 15 minutes in length -- there are 3 sections.  The entire work was about 20 minutes.  I was rushing because I was worried about people losing interest.  This is me trying to prevent regretting an experience.  I will take my time.  I must take my time.

I came across a preying mantis at a boutique a few weeks back.  It was on my shoulder, of all places.  The woman working there thought it was a pin, and when I looked down, I saw the mantis on my shoulder.  How it got there, I have no idea.  Somehow, it landed on me. It chose me.  I read up on it and when one comes across a preying mantis, it usually is a reminder to slow down and breathe.  I needed that.  In addition, I was gardening in my front yard last week and I was propagating some succulents, casually, and as I grabbed the plant, a preying mantis emerged onto my hand.  Omen.  I will take my time.  Breathe.