Community Collaboration and Immersive Performance



As part of the body poetik, I create interactive performance art installations at museums, conferences, and universities across the country, using my own disabled body as catalyst. This is a kind of body work that puts viewers/participants inside the art and encourages a sensory experience, not just an intellectual one. In the photo above, I am lying on the gallery floor of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Gallery visitors, not necessarily aware of what was going on, were directed to "interact" with my limbs, in response to a narrative that was being read aloud. The narrative combined original poetry and quoted investigative reporting on chronically ill or disabled adults (50 years old and younger) forced to live in nursing homes due to lack of social safety nets  and lax enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I had been asked to develop this piece as a response to a photo of Iwamoto Scott's conceptual architecture design, Jellyfish House, a vision of sustainable housing. My interactive poetry and movement installation was sought to make visible the disabled body that takes a fall and it came out physical danger I experienced as well as the real lives of thousand of folks institutionalized in nursing homes across the U.S. 







The photos above were taken at a 2010 AXIS Dance Company performance, “Find New Way To Fall’, at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco.
“The heart of AXIS is the commissioning, creation, and performance of contemporary dance that is developed through the collaboration of dancers with and without physical disabilities. Our artistic vision to collaborate with high profile choreographers and cutting edge innovative dance makers of our time was an excellent strategy that has resulted in artistically stunning and significant dance works. More than any other company in the United States, AXIS has been at the forefront of the field, building a bridge between contemporary dance, integrated dance, and disability culture.”

Through classes AXIS offered to the community (non -professional dancers, with and without disabilities), I got the opportunity to train with AXIS in contact improv and other postmodern dance styles that underscore the avant-garde edge disabled bodies bring to the movement arts. “Find New Way To fall” worked disability into the everyday, urban landscape by centering the performance in the midst of an urban park with heavy pedestrian traffic. In this way it was immersive, there was not always a clear distinction between performer and audience.

I look forward to collaborating with individuals and organizations (especially disability, community-based arts, body positivity, and human sexuality/reproductive justice organizations) to create more site-based work.