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Kim Keyes

first performed on May 6, 2011
Ford’s Gym, Madison, WI
performed once in 2011


Madison, WI,


Our collaboration was driven by longings for forms of live art that bring performers and spectators so close together their defining qualities might cross. For a moment. Or more? We believe extending the art-making and viewing experiences to sites not primarily meant for “art” creates opportunities for exchanges that allow performers and spectators to meet. We are driven by possibilities for intimacy in these site-specific encounters, and seek this intimacy through participation. Equipped with wireless microphones and workout skirts, we welcomed our fighters into the boxing ring.

I’ll take this one 				You’re with me

They ducked under the ropes. Outsiders watched through the glass at Ford’s gym. We each sat our fighter in a corner and made promises.

I’m here for you				I’ve got your back

As we wrapped their hands with the shirts off our backs they spoke to us about pain and healing.

What comes to mind when I say damage?

What comes to mind when I say repair?

As performers we depended on our fighters’ responses. Though we prompted, they took control and qualities of their responses affected the event. With their offerings we searched together for all the things that pain and healing might mean. Meanwhile, the outsiders overheard. Five minutes earlier our fighters were outsiders. Now they were on display. Their words became performance text as outsiders wondered if they might like to be next. We guided our fighters’ bodies into position. We asked them to look into each other’s eyes.

Whatever you do…don’t let go.

The sound of fists on a speed bag filled the gym and was amplified to the street outside. In structuring the work’s form and content we drew from the boxing site’s history and the sport’s associations with the intertwined roles of opponents and partners. We left our fighters-holding on to their partner’s eyes. Someone rang a bell. We threw punches. Our breath and blows were amplified inside and out. Another bell. A little girl circled the ring marking the round’s end. With needle and thread we bound them to each other and made new promises. To them? To each other? To ourselves? They left us to follow the little girl. It began again.

Hey Fighters

I’ll take this one 				Come be with me