Essential Departures Workshop
July 18 - 24 , 2016
A public performance series will follow the workshop on July 23rd 2:00 pm-11:00 pm
Link: Essential Departures
A week-long feminist experiment testing (and subverting) the parallels drawn between women’s bodies and Nature at Rosekill Farm, performance venue in rural Upstate New York. Our testing grounds will be copses, swamps, and overgrown meadows. Our site buildings are hay barns and sheds. Our human bodies are earthly, biological bodies, yes. But our female-identifying bodies are not ‘closer’ to nature for that identification, nor is nature a woman to be wooed or plundered, bewitched by or won. Our time at Rosekill will be spent in an attempt to make distinct our bodies, their actions and our connectivity on site.
Jessi T Walsh
Claribel Jolie Pichardo
Madge of Honor
Tif Robinette (Agrofemme)
What happens when female identifying live artists rattle essentialisms around being intrinsically bound to Nature? Knowing these analogies are historically tied to sexist, racist and colonialist discourses around purity, fertility, and the earth, can we form a new politics of the rural?
In this second incarnation of ESSENTIAL DEPARTURES, we push further afield! Drawing from the base laid down by last year’s collective, we return to Rosekill Farm to make new action, to feed our relationships with site and with one another, and to hear new voices. We return to negotiate, modify, and expand conceptions of gender and ‘the wild.’
Women are subjected to discourses around property and bodies, whether those bodies be flesh bodies, soil bodies, or bodies of water. We are contested ground-- possessed or dispossessed. And, no matter where we stand, how we move, where we come to rest, we will find ourselves on contested ground. We propose Rosekill as site and opportunity to explore these bodies, exiled spaces and liminal grounds. Exploring these cracks, cracks as much on our skin as in the planet’s fault lines, may allow us to consider complicity in and articulate resistance to oppressive colonial and neoliberal discourses. We may depart from our usual roads, but we do not come to Rosekill to escape or retreat. Through performance we have the power to act in these in-between-places, places of boundaries and borders, to form new bodies and to diffuse our embodied knowledge through space.
Our week at Rosekill will be collaborative and rigorous. We will approach our subject with workshops, seminars, discussions, culminating with the presentation of solo work. We will balance structure and contributing content with time and space to create and collaborate.
Rosekill Farm will provide a space to incubate and collaborate. Radical practitioners can share in a process of exploration, and present developed works on our communal core subject of articulating ourselves as distinct from, yet responsive to and activist in, our surroundings. Autonomous in our identities as women, we will consider the immediacy of the body and its potential for compassionate communication through the nonverbal. How are we complicit in our own fetishization? We need distinction from essentialized notions of the feminine in nature to regard ourselves clearly and to act in proximity to-- not mired in-- our realm.