I started a PhD program this past fall. It is in “Electronic Arts” at RPI, Rensselear Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, where I have been living for about 4 years now. Being in a PhD is weird in lots of ways. I am astounded by how absent feelings are from these spaces. I am quite sure that most of the individuals I am interacting with feel and even care about feelings and even orient through feelings in the work they do, but in a seminar, lecture, or discussion it seems there is an rigid and unspoken agreement for feelings not to be visible or relevant in the room. I feel seriously at risk of losing respect and credibilty when I make feelings visible or make transparent the feelings that course through the “work” I am doing within the container of school. And I am really bad at not feeling and not being transparent. And I don’t want to get good at it. When will it come down, this dangerous charade? How much more heartbreaking and unjust must the world be before we let ourselves feel and be seen feeling as part of making art and doing scholarship?
All that said, I am discovering a very satisfying engagement and understanding of the overlapping layers of work I and others do in the world. It’s thrilling when reading things makes art things pop and life things pop pop, and back again! And everything I am working on is in deep collaboration with humans, communities, students, and other critters and creatures: Kamryn Wolf, Julia Handschuh, Jonah Moberg, Jesse Marshall, Isa Coffey, beavers, the Wynatskill and land surrounding it, my meditation community, my ancestors, the radial diamond kinetics family, Troy Bike Rescue, and my main bu, Daniel Lander. Sympoiesis, making together (Donna Haraway from Staying with the Trouble).
At the heart of all of it is Audre Lorde’s Uses of the Erotic and the Buddha’s teachings, particularly the Satipathana Sutta and the stories of Kuan Yin/Avlokiteshvara. From there the research ripples out into the erotic, intimacy with all things, fluidity/uncertainty, and grief/imagination, then to the psycho-somatic technologies I learn, teach, and practice in my dancing, the classes I offer, the one-on-one work I do with people, and a handful of other contexts, then to creative practice in the form of video, sound, performance, participatory frames, and simultaneously to the community-making projects I participate in and contribute to in Troy. Donna Haraway, Alexis Shotwell, Paul B. Preciado, Walter Bruggeman, Thanissara, Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Nancy Tuana, Ursula K. LeGuin, and others provoke and challenge the whole web of actions and questions.
Sympoiesis and Saying Goodbye: a ceremony. As part of Moonbow #2 at the Skdimore College chapel, Saratoga Springs, March 23, 2019 at 7pm. A performance ceremony with sound by Joan Kelsey and performers Kamryn Wolf, Adam Tinkle, Rachelle Stahlman-Smith, and Eli Berkowitz. Open to the public, sliding scale entry.