For CHAOS


[ID: a vignette surrounds two identical person-shaped shadows that overlap, creating a third, darker shadow, each is surrounded with a rainbow hue.]


MASCCHAOS is rendered via experimental video, improvisational dance practice, written archive, and photographic still, and accompanied by costumes designed by Latina-futurist, Larissa Almansa. It imagines a choreographic microcosmos from beginning to vibratory end. With the shared knowledge of a cohort of women, queer, and non-binary co-authors from across the United States. With a solo performer, it chronicles the practice of seeing, watching, echoing, and of a shared experience of dancing alone together.

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At it’s genesis, originally titled “Daddy,” the work aimed to confront a complex fact. I have spent the time since coming out publicly as trans turning myself away from masculinity, from patriarchy, from maleness.

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In doing so, in presuming that my personal experience of gender is rooted in some rejection, I failed (in a necessary way) to conceive of the nonbinary affectation of that gender experience.

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I am this, AND I am that.

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With “Daddy” I aimed to turn back, to pick up the rug and see what I brushed under it, and I would do so via humor, anecdote, pop music, and camp.

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But, centering masculinity in a work that is ostensibly focused around my nonbinary experience of the universe, also, did not feel quite right. Who am I accountable to in that work? Whose stories am I holding in my heart and body as I dance to George Michael’s “Father Figure”?

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So I asked myself…”How the fuck am I supposed to make a dance about ANYTHING alone right now.”

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And I found the answer, for now, in this question. I cannot make a dance alone. I must be in community. I must be responsible for more than my self.

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I turned to Chaos.

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Chaos proposes a system in which the “order” (think hierarchy, vertical systems, separation) fall apart. It’s not necessarily “disorder” in the classical imagining so much as it is the absence of nodular, clustering force. It is an even distribution.

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With this in mind, I turned to imagining a choreographic process, a virtual rehearsal system rooted in this chaotic rendering of relationships. I imagined a system, in which I could be suspended within accountability to people, even after I left the person in their distant physical space.

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I rehearsed with 29 women and nonbinary artists, for a one-off, one-hour improvisational rehearsal. We warmed up, danced, chatted, laughed, and signed off via Zoom. I paid the artist a small rehearsal fee, and followed up with them months later, sending them each a personal letter outlining the ways that their contributions track, now, into this work.

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Our chaotic web is now rendered for you, oh faithful reader who has made it this far, via this website. The web of artists overlooks a composite letter, compiled from the letters sent to each artist, now addressed to “you” as an invitation into the cosmology of CHAOS.


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