Workshop: Mapping the Transgressive Body
This workshop considers and discusses the critical position of fabulosity when situated inside a complex environment. How does fantasy serve as a survivalist strategy inside an ever-shifting or seemingly non-coherent pressurized space? What creative possibilities can psychogeographic trauma reveal in and through the architecture of the body? Set to a background of the cultural divisions, fractions, and schizophrenic behaviors currently embedded inside the contemporary political landscape, this workshop queries the ways in which people collaborate to archive their own freedom narratives as a way to negotiate and navigate through culturally charged fields of systemic oppression and loss. Participants are asked to bring costumes and various materials/objects that transform the visual state of their physical presentation.
“Indeed, Blackness provided the occasion for self reflection as well as for an exploration of terror, desire, fear, loathing, and longing.”—Saidiya V. Hartman, Scenes of Subjection
Chameleon is a performance project by Jaamil Olawale Kosoko that examines the shapeshifting, illegible, and fugitive realities of Black diasporan people. During the Within Practice Symposium, Kosoko in collaboration with dance artist Ima Iduozee will explore live feed technology, augmented reality, and complexity theory (the study of adaptive survivalist strategies inside complex networks or environments) as a choreographic device. They will explore and share their research through collaborative actions that archive the process and development of the work.
Creative Statement: ”My work grapples with what queer and oblique readings of society and modernity can reveal about the narratives, political realities, and aesthetics of Black life, indigeneity, and decoloniality. I explore connections between my own autobiography and larger political issues. My works address the policing of Black bodies, fear of the Black male body, Blackness and colonial power, madness and mental health, and the ritual and spiritual practices taken up or passed down by Black diaspora communities. Although often interwoven with theoretical texts, as performance, my work is an immediate, layered, analytical, and visceral embodiment of certain ideas beyond dialogue. This means that I am constantly exploring juxtapositions between certain ways of knowing, decoding, and recognizing the body and its behaviors. My work examines the survival tactics used by Black and queer people and holds them up not only as strategies for art making, but also as necessary tools for creating new ways of living and building community. This is where I have difficulty drawing a hard line between, for instance, my performance work and other ‘engagement’ elements of my practice. For me, they are co-extensive. It is through teaching and workshopping through a community and healing oriented creative process (just as through archival research and choreography) that the “work” evolves. This concern is captured in the idea of the transgressive body and brings up questions such as: how does concept operate inside choreographic formation? What are the constraints, patterns, and avenues for future experimentation that influence how bodies might radically present themselves? What frames (classroom, community, performance or gathering) make deep intimacy, appearance, and engagement possible? In Chameleon, the ground shifts and the skin changes; through lighting, live feeds and interplay between identities and roles, observer and observed I aim to capture and comment on certain aspects of the the Black experience, the queer experience, the experience of the immigrant and the colonialized subject.”
—Jaamil Olawale Kosoko