Critical Questions for Platform

Written by Maurya Kerr

I am a fan of meaning, coming into an understanding of essence. Questions, wondering. 

platform
noun

1 she spoke her brilliance from the platform: a raised level surface on which people can stand, a stage.

2 the left’s platform of compassion: policy, program, party line, manifesto, plan, principles, objectives, aims.

I stand on a platform to express my platform… of otherness? From the stage I pronounce a manifesto of difference?

 Photo by Kegan Marling

Photo by Kegan Marling

Most of my observations of rehearsal were about what I perceived as otherness, honing in on its presence, wanting further exaggeration and exaltation. To become (not do) that other with specificity, to become that specific other so thoroughly and deeply as to leave no question, only confirmation.

So my overarching note is: “even more other.” Encourage the alien. How timely. (All of us, we who believe in freedom, are fundamentally other to the thuggishness of the great white right.)

Some questions:
How does otherness manifest into thoughts into body into life onto the platform of Platform?

How to not perform otherness, but instead be, in the performative space of the stage?

Does be-ing other evince in the gaze, the hold of the fingers, exemption from gravity or fatigue?

Am I noiseless?

Do I preempt music?

What do I see, and how do I see it?

Is my discernment haptic, sensate, visual, aural?

Am I quicksilver shape-shifter, able to experience and reveal centuries of textures in a second?

What is my connection to the other other beside me? Is it like an invisible umbilical cord?

Can our bodies reveal that cord thickening, waning, even disappearing?

Does that potential disappearance result in our loosening or fusion?

 Photo by Kegan Marling

Photo by Kegan Marling

Are we similar or dissimilar in our otherness? (Is ‘similar otherness’ oxymoronic?)

How to foretell independence (separation) versus connectedness (unison)?

Are we already one, but just in ways the non-others can’t recognize?  

Is departure from unison revolutionary? Or is commitment to connectedness even more radical?

As a woman-gendered other, what does it mean to be in simultaneity with a male-gendered other?

(And although not the case here, as a black-raced other, what is simultaneity with whiteness? Is it even possible?)

As a woman-gendered other, can my witnessing of those witnessing my nakedness be subversive? (Do animals in a zoo gaze upon our flabby, unadorned skin with pity?)

How can I perform coupling and avoid sentimentality? How to gaze upon my chosen without falling into the trap of romance?

Why leave the space?

Why stay?

Why move when I could be still?

How to show departure from the small into expansiveness? Is that break violent, welcome, or both?

What does silence mean to me, the work? Is it loud, meaning does it effect, produce affect, alter? Does my otherness become more pronounced, profound in that quiet vastness?

When do I settle my gaze upon the witnesses? Is it only when I myself become witness (to them [witnessing me])?

Can I offer an otherness so deeply embodied that its witnesses become more emboldened in their own distinctiveness, so that otherness becomes the norm and a comfort, instead of a technique of distancing?

Am I ever no longer other?

How does my privilege inform that possibility of un-other-ing?

 

Maurya Kerr founded tinypistol after a twelve-year career with Alonzo King LINES Ballet. Her choreography has been honored by numerous awards, grants, and commissions, including a 2011 Hubbard Street National Choreographic Competition award, a 2012 CHIME grant, a 2014 University of Minnesota Cowles Visiting Artist grant, and selection to Whim W’Him’s 2015 Choreographic Shindig. She is an ODC artist-in-residence, on faculty with the LINES Ballet Education Programs, and recently completed her MFA through Hollins University.

 

[Editor's Note: Choreographers Liane Burns and Charles Slender-White invited Platform collaborators to write about their experiences witnessing rehearsals and contributing to the development of the work. In addition to the writing above by Creative Advisor, Maurya Kerr, FACT/SF will also be sharing reflections from James Fleming (Creative Advisor), Cara Rose DeFabio (Dramaturge), and Liane Burns. In offering these thoughts, questions, observations, and impressions, FACT/SF aims to provide some insight into our creative process and a bit of context for Platform's conceptual considerations.]