#NOTTITLEDBLUR OR #BLUR (THIS IS NOT THE TITLE)
“#nottitledblur or #blur (this is not the title)” examines the effects imposed on our bodies by pervasive electronic communication. This interest draws upon my research of popular social dances’ circulation through the Internet and how cyberspace offers new trajectories for neoliberal performances of race. In the work, we consider what it is we feel (or don’t feel), and what it is we think we know, when we see almost everything, but much remains obscured. “#nottitledblur” asks what does it mean to connect and/or dissociate through “split phenomenology,” the experience of being both “here” and “there” that occurs through mediatization? How are we touched, how do we witness, and how do we respond to the images of human suffering and injustice that infiltrate our surroundings through screens? When we are bombarded with neverending visual stimulus and information, what it is that still goes unseen and unknown?
Created with two separate casts who did not meet until the first performance, the work has its own unpredictability and inherent sense of the unknown, as well as juxtaposition and splicing between/together of two worlds. Each cast has a set of task-based movements based on exploring the power of the gaze, the safety of darkness and the danger of light and overexposure, the experience of touching without feeling and feeling without touching, and risky experiments with destabilizing the dancers’ centers to generate unknowing.
We further interrogate the correlation between sight, knowledge, and power through exposing the power dynamics of the choreographer/dancer relationship. We use the light of cellphones, a laptop, and a small hand-held projector to disrupt mechanisms of visuality. Midway through the piece, I call myself on Skype and project this conversation of the performance into the performance. When I make eye contact with myself on the screen, my gaze focuses onto the audience and ignores the performers. When I watch the live performers, my projected image appears distracted and disconnected. In the first iteration, we performed in silence, creating a disquieting intimacy. Towards the end, the performers’ cellphones began emitting sounds sampled from drone operators’ conversations, 911 calls from Trayvon Martin’s murder, the video of Eric Garner’s strangling and a bypasser’s recording of Michael Brown’s shooting. In the second iteration, this became a soundscore for the entire work. The piece ends with me typing “it’s niiiice to here together. it’s not happening right now. it’s overcoming. it’s overwhelming. it’s over.”