Soapbox the Memorious. Deena Odelle Hyatt and Natalia Panfile 9/13
This Thursday’s Soapbox takes on memory and ritual in two divergent ways.
This Thursday’s Soapbox takes on memory and ritual in two divergent ways. Moldova-born, Baltimore-trained and now Albuquerque-based Natalia Panfile’s The Body of Christ deals with personal and familial action, considering and spreading apart a long-standing religious ritual. Deena Odelle Hyatt’s The Meeting of 1,000 Gates was developed in part as a personal ritual for breaking detrimental thought cycles. The Meeting of 1,000 Gates will be performed by Catalina Lavalle, with sonic manipulation by Ivan Khilko. Deena’s work explores the memory contained within the muscles of the body, and seeks to ‘reset’ that through performance. Natalia’s piece uses interaction with an auto-biographical physical material to evoke personal memory in herself and the viewer.
One of my favorite Jorge Luis Borges stories is Funes the Memorious, (also translated Funes, his Memory) written by a fictional first-person narrator, recalling his encounter through the distance of time with a teenager who remembers absolutely everything in minute detail. “It occurred to me that each one of my words (each one of my gestures) would live on in his implacable memory; I was benumbed by the fear of multiplying superfluous gestures.” Please just read it if you haven’t (here) and we can talk about it at Fab Lounge after Soapbox.
Now some Q & A
EA: How long have you been working in performance, what brought you to it?
Natalia Panfile: I did my very first performance in April 2005. Before then I mostly painted and made sculptural installations. I specifically remember the moment that prompted me to do a performance...I was working on a sculpture for about 4 months, which was supposed to be my main work for the semester, but all of a sudden I felt the need to make something new and different. Most of my work up until then was about the female body, specifically about its ability to birth and give life. For me the first performance felt like a rebirth and like a more accurate way of experiencing that. Even though at the time I did not know much about the formal issues of performance I was attracted to its power directed at me as well as the viewer.
EA: Tell me about your piece for SB?
NP: The Body of Christ is a new performance, but parts of it have been incorporated in an installation for my solo show in February 2012 at Montpelier Art Center. Like my other work from the past 5 years, this performance is derived from my personal experience as well as my cultural background. For this performance I will be making Christian Orthodox wafers the same way I used to make them with my grandmother when she made them for the church in her village, except for the fact the the dough will remain raw and be placed on the floor to be walked on. This is a reference to the loss of cultural memory and to its change through time and space...the wafers representing the tradition/culture and the people walking on them as the act of forgetting or not really putting too much value on it (tradition/culture).
EA: Who are some influences on your work?
NP: My first influence in terms of performance was Ana Mendieta, an exiled Cuban artist who died in the 80's. She made many earth works type of performances where she used her body as a tool in the landscape. The other is Janine Antoni, who also has many performative aspects to even her sculptural or photographic work. The one that has influenced me the most though is Marina Abramovic. Many of her pieces have made me think about my own work, my own experiences and she is really the one that keeps me inspired in terms of work ethic and constantly thinking about the act of art making. [Read When Art Makes us Cry by Francine Prose]
EA: Anything else we should know about you?
NP: That I'm married and have a 4 year old son :-)...
EA: Tell me about The Meeting of 1,000 Gates
Deena Odelle Hyatt: I developed this language of voicing and movement to release tension and work through phases that I would get stuck in. It was in response to chronic pain and noisy static thinking, which create a feedback loop. I illustrate this phenomenon sonically through looping.
The first Meeting of 1,000 Gates was for the New Media Art and Sound Summit in Austin in 2011. (see images here) The second was two months later, also in Austin, at Guari Movement Studio.
This will be the third meeting. However, since I have injured my knee playing soccer, I have explained the concepts to Catalina Lavalle and she is developing her own movements. I will be doing the voicing and Ivan Khilko will be helping with the sonic manipulation. This piece asks everyone to examine the archetypal phases we go through and to take time out to create their own personal practice of release.
EA: What are some influences on your work?
DOH: Joan La Barbara, Meredith Monk, Alexander Technique, Dart Procedures and Alejandro Jodorowsky's tarot numerology.
Please note that this month’s Soapbox is 8-10pm, as opposed to a more usual 7-9. Natalia’s piece will continue duartionally*, and Deena’s will begin around 9 and will last no more than twenty minutes. And yes, everyone is invited to Fab Lounge afterwards.
Short URL: http://bit.ly/NYOFh3