Multiple Bodies Project

Premiere June 6, 2015, Three Rivers Arts Festival, Peirce Studio
Concept Charli Brissey
Created and performed by Maree ReMalia in collaboration with Jil Stifel
Music by David Bernabo

The Multiple Bodies Project is a collaborative endeavor conceived of by Charli Brissey that will include multiple artists who will produce a series of interconnected works to be revealed in various cities and in various forms throughout the Autumn/Winter of 2015. Instead of one comprehensive and geographically specific premiere evening, we hope to extend these ideas and processes into multiple communities and through multiple iterations, maybe even happening at the same time. These collaborations will take on many forms and structures, including performances, sound installations, videos, photography, essays, and who knows what else. Cooking?

(So for example: A performance may be happening in DC while a related video is screening in New York). Not all events will be held in major cities, and some might only exist online.

We are interested in pursuing critically engaged ideas that develop from the purposefully vague prompt of ‘tomorrow.’ This could include interrogations of gender, habit, sexuality, socialization, transformative action, censorship, forgiveness, love, kinship, and all shades of queerness that resonate when considering these topics in relation to ‘tomorrow.’

Currently, the creative team is shaping up to look something like this :
(PS – Click on names to learn more about these rad humans)
Charli Brissey – dance/video/media artist (Richmond, VA)
Christina Carlotti Kolb – dance artist (NYC)
Maree ReMalia – dance artist (Pittsburgh/DC)
Betty Skeen – dance artist (NYC)
Kimberly Barnes – sound/video/media artist (Richmond, VA)
John Dombroski – sound/video/media artist (Somewhere Out West?)
Cynthia Henebry – photography artist (Richmond, VA)
Nikolai McKenzie – dance artist (Virginia Beach, VA)

Process Materials:
Charli’s thoughts on select text from Gloria Anzaldua, who curated two anthologies –  This Bridge Called My Back & This Bridge We Call Home – as well as several other essays, articles, and texts, such as Borderlands: The New Mestiza. She speaks about bodies becoming bridges, or being in a constant state of “bridging” that never fully arrives at an established destination, as a means of critically and responsibly being in the world. That’s a very brief contextualization, but her work is always addressing progressive/transformative action and making choices in relation to a future ideal or horizon that may not actually be in the world yet. Creating new spaces. Borderlands, grey spaces, liminal spaces, queer spaces. That’s a bit vague and cryptic, but is essentially where the theme of ‘tomorrow’ began. In this sense I am considering ‘tomorrow’ more theoretically than literally – as more of a consistent and unravelling forward trajectory –  a potential space for transgression, but that doesn’t at all mean anyone else needs to follow down that particular rabbit hole. Hopefully I can find some good Anzaldua excerpts to include here, she kinda rocks.  “Voyager, there are no bridges, one builds them as one walks.” – Gloria Anzaldua

Jil and I begin a Multiple Bodies duet October 2014

Screen shot 2014-11-18 at 9.51.14 AM
Extension of Multiple Bodies Project and Movement Matters Research

Video Experiment: Movement Matters Residency & Multiple Bodies Project
Pittsburgh Collaborators:
Jil Stifel, David Cherry, Blaine Siegel, David Bernabo
Ideas for location from Pittsburgh-based visual artist/collaborator, Blaine Siegel: So I am always fascinated by what I call “soft zones” “neglected spaces” “spaces of other”.  I am referring to areas that are man made but neglected and not used but usually exist side by side with heavily trafficked areas.  Next to freeway passes or commercial zones. I have been trying to figure a way to use  these areas of desolation.  Abandoned malls and the like.  I have attached an ariel photo of Pittsburgh Mills Mall, the zones highlighted are areas that always catch my eye when I drive by…I think that they are a possibility for a locale for what you and Jil have been speaking of.  The interior of the mall is vast and sad as well, nobody goes out to this mall and large sections are just existing.
soft zonesPerformer/Choreographer/Collaborator, Jil Stifel’s notes from our conversation discussing the experiment and explaining project to videographer, David Cherry.
Here are some notes that I took today while talking with Maree.
Although technology makes it easier for us to connect globally it can simultaneously make it harder for us to connect locally.
Something about heightened states, body level states, where are we aware of our self(selves) Perhaps these body moments exist as antithesis to our virtual lives?
Also, something about the created virtual self verses the live self.
For the shoot I think we are dealing with the theme of the individual verses the crowd and finding the quiet body level moments of heightened awareness juxtaposed against a setting that shows the sprawl of modernity. Maree’s notes and the score:
The video is black and white, the camera shoots as a partner. Also the camera could get bored and wander to looking at a foot, the sky, etc. Although It’s probably good to have wide shots also depending upon how things end up looking, maybe better for editing. Let me know if you want me to do something that I can repeat so that you can edit various shots together, see below for an example.Jil’s score:
choose three words from this list
Feel each word independently on a body level then begin to get mixed up. The words can layer. Quiet and internal moments are OK. Seek those places feel them then move back into the word dance. End.We could use some time-lapse, like if I am fairly still in a triangle of earth between on ramps/off ramps and the cars are moving very quickly around me. This is one idea I had that could show the individualverses the crowd and a sense of local loneliness also the choreography of the vehicles, and rapidity verses the stillness or quietness of body level experience.Resources from Kalindi Stockton:
Randall Park Mall Map
Randall Park Mall Demolition Images
Photos of Abandoned Shopping Malls

2.16.15 Remote Rehearsal Activities & Assignments 
Things to look at/read/do
We each did an inkshedding written response to the links below (you can browse art works lightly and skim the readings). We each wrote a bit about our experience of our bodies, highlighting our joys, challenges, ease, ongoingnesses of being physical in various circumstances, physical not always meaning moving. Writing is informal, did not have to be complete sentences, could include images/collage/etc.

We can also still consider the information from the video:
soft zones
neglected spaces
spaces of other
man-made but neglected areas near heavily trafficked places
global connection/potential local isolation
body moments/virtual moments

Inkshedding  responses:
Maree: The illusion of able-bodiedness. Visible disability. Visible diversity. What does visible diversity mean? Race? What are the ways in which we are invisibly diverse? How do we define able bodies? Constant, dull ache/awareness of ‘not rightness’ in my lower spine and the resulting limitations surprising me or being all too reliable. Moments of lower spine euphoria thanks to certain types of movement. Cursing this situation, accepting this situation. Finding new ways through. The all too familiar crunch of the spine and tightness in the pelvis after too many hours hunched in front of a computer. The hours I need to spend there to be able to free my spine. The conundrum of this revolving door. Trying to tune into the back of me when so much is filtered through the front. Memory of talking with Marita about the potential loss of dimensional bodily-physical experience due to our relationship with screens, her worry for children being robbed of experiencing the space around them, Karin’s concern for the loss of small physical actions that change up our rote ability to push buttons or touch pads, like carefully drawing the needle to the record. A constant question of what are we losing and what are we gaining? What are we willing to abandon to claim the new? What happens to the abandoned? Is there a world in between where we can eat all the cake? Shedding, making room. What does it mean when our modern material shedding doesn’t disappear like the snake skin, but hauntingly remains? Sensing, sensitivity, listening, embracing. Thinking of Matthew’s recorded voice in his performance, recounting his experience of leaving the church and religious affiliations and his mother asking about his faith, his hope. His explanation of his experience of environments for dance being the spaces where he now finds faith and hope. Positioning. New positions. My ability to even consider what it is to have meaningful experiences through the moving body. Being able to choose, usually, what I do with it/myself. How I move. Where I move and with whom. Privilege.

Jil: My borders are porous, sensitive, reactive. Sometimes too reactive. Riding my bike in endless circles singing cindylauper wind in my hair, riding my bike up a hill to work scarf around my face holding a cup of coffee trying to talk on the phone. All the bags that have been attached to my body: back packs, army satchels, cross body bags, grocery bags, attempts at fancy bags, and totes. How does all that carrying affect my body/my spine? a forty pound hiking pack chafing my skin after many days, my right shoulder permanently(?) dropped.  About those times without bags, and why is that so free? sitting on the beach feeling sand in a range of textures that sand likes to become. The cold beach that is heated from inside when you are walking with someone. . . The feeling of swimming and sunning naked in a cool secluded summer lake, no bags needed. My guts remember and forget. Many things are remembered on a cellular level. Why is sitting in chars so hard? I get physically sick from sitting in chairs. The feeling of eating chocolate candy when my throat was swollen shut with infection and tears after learning that I had leukemia. The force of lines being pushed through my vein into my arm past my shoulder and down into my chest, pressure from the inside. Breathing quietly in the early morning, watching, listening, being. Holding my child in all her many forms and states of happiness, contentment, stress and distress. She is still part of my physical being. I remember my borders growing during pregnancy, how do you do a seated twist with breasts? Hiccuping baby inside me. The quiet mammalian feeling of being a new mother. Dancing all day everyday. Not understand how some people can truly sit still. Oddly feeling shy and cumbersome in dance classes but strong and powerful in rehearsal ( sometimes.) Injuries and recuperation, plasticity and ever-changing-ness. My wide feet, hard to fit in shoes, but so comfortable for walking-running-standing-picking up pencils, trustworthy feet.

4.20.15 Individual Generative Explorations in Response to Writing
-create a brief phrase comprised of phrasey movement/gesture/sound for ourselves (including, but not limited to these things)
-construct a score that is more state driven that we can both move through together (can also relate to ideas of quiet in moment of rapidity, acceleration, productivity and other ideas we discussed for video that are on blog; something that can be generative and/or also possibly used in the performance).