Danspace Project’s Platform 2016: Lost and Found curated by Ishmael Houston-Jones and Will Rawls happened October 6-November 19, 2016. These responses come from five artists who participated in the platform as audience, performers, curators, or combinations thereof.
- Tess Dworman, co-editor
and now it’s winter winter in america weeks later people still look into eyes asking how are you how’re you doing meeting talking processing actions resistance planning oxygen sucked out of lungs can’t breathe so much to be done how hydra heads rising hell gates shattering upside down world over where found lost where lost where found stay awake stay with me don’t slip out don’t sleep eyes open listen to me now can you see me hear me stay with me or we are lost not found where my people where my people at everywhere everywhere everywhere it hurts....
Lost and Found was a testament to the courage of artists, then and now, just as a host of new struggles sprung up around us. I’m grateful for the good road opened by Judy Hussie-Taylor, Ishmael Houston-Jones and Will Rawls and the path blazed by twenty-one Black women/gender nonconforming artists who now call themselves The Skeleton Architecture.
- Eva Yaa Asantewaa EYA Projects curator, the skeleton architecture, or the future of our worlds
I am highly aware of the importance of honoring my ancestors (known and unknown, recent and ancient), as the paths that they have forged for me was done through, sometimes, violent and oppressive structures and because of that their wisdom surpass my own understanding of myself in this brief moment. I appreciated the invitation by the 2016 Platform to commune across realms with each other now and those who have passed. After my experience of watching Pamela Sneed’s All Black/An Invitation, reading the Platform 2016: Lost and Found catalogue, performing in The Skeleton Architecture, and watching the reconstruction of John Bernd’s work, I found that I was chewing over the question of ‘How do you memorialize someone without innately centering the living?’ In watching, I challenged myself to tailor my way of listening/seeing/reading work in order to “hear” all the voices, the living and dead. As I watched Pamela Sneed, Timothy DuWhite, Carmelita Tropicana, Terence Taylor, Yaya Mckoy, and Kia Labeija hold each other at the end of their night in an emotion-filled embrace and bow, I also felt all of the names and memories of loved ones that they were communing with in that embrace along with them.
- Angie Pittman
Memory Palace: A Vigil presented by Danspace Project and Visual AIDS. Photo: Ian Douglas/courtesy of Danspace Project
I am currently reading Testo Junkie by Paul B Preciado and one of the many facts mentioned is research and development on pharmaceuticals is costly, causing Western pharmaceutical companies to commit to developing the drugs that will make them money around the world (Viagra). Antiretroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS do exist, but patents on the drugs allow the companies to make prices extremely high (recoup the cost). Those living with HIV/AIDS in Africa who pay for medication out of pocket cannot access these medications, making them useless to Western drug companies. Dead people cannot spend money.
I thought about the continuation of this virus/disease as I attended the Platform, saw the promotions of the Platform, listened to people discuss the Platform....what is going on? What does mass loss and mass trauma do to a location, community, history, group thought, group expression? What will the next one look like?
- Laurel Atwell
Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes from a Life and other works by John Bernd. Photo: Ian Douglas / courtesy of Danspace Project
To you who survive, to you who live to speak:
Thank you for staying on this earth. Thank you for throwing your voice into the void. I was there, in the void with you with the spirits of your relatives, lovers, friends.
Kia’s tossed petals on the floor, the pale yellow, the voice of her mother, the letter across the void, the letter that said there is no void, there is not even a separation, there is only presence
The starts and stops of Terence’s video not showing whether pain or ecstasy propelled the body, the mouth, undoing at the same time as doing, tightening and loosening all at once.
Timothy’s gray dress conquered me. Life as an endless pysch intake - one big interview over and over and over again, as if that will change what happened, what the body houses, where safety is found (if at all).
Yaya, I kneel to you, I kneel with you, and so do my ears, the deep inner ear that can hear the silence around the words. If you take the meds or you don’t, you can’t stop the destruction in front of you, you can only sing into it.
There is nothing Pamela did not say about love and the fear for what you can not save. Her words covered the city, covered us all. That we keep walking, looking out on fire escapes and roofs as loved ones vanish, as oppression churns us through, if we can still recognize each other in the churning.
- Marissa Perel
Excerpt from “Scribbles and notes from Platforms Lost & Found”:
Damn! All that happened and I was there to witness bits and pieces of collective memory, remembering muses and mentors we lost, considering what can be found
While it’s hard to comprehend where I’m nestled in this history, it’s a beautiful luxury to see it conjured and manifest in the present.
But who does his-tory effect? Who does it forget?
It’s hard to fully comprehend the magnitude of the series, so I take it one event at a time...
Hosted in several places including St. Mark's Church, a historical landmark, marking space and time within the modern dance lineage. I feel the weight of its relevance materializes from myth to reality...PLUCKED from the pages of history books and annotated bibliographies.
I am one part of a whole. A member of a community and legacy that spreads across generations. Resources, tools, talks, reflection, memories. I feel seen. I feel heard.
Read the complete “Scribbles and notes from Platforms Lost & Found” on scenelaniereene.blogspot.com
- Melanie Greene