Perked Mar 29, 2014

by Dylan Ward


I saw zoe|juniper’s piece BeginAgain last evening and I thought it was beautiful. 


Here are the things I thought were beautiful:

-The reveal of the purple costume previously seen in promotion photos

-Peat moss 

-Movement which appeared to be like “Oh shoot what was I doing?”

-Unabashed ballet

-An 8th grade boy’s single voice crack


I thought that the combination of these things was beautiful, and I was willing to let my imagination run wild.


After the performance, I got distracted and missed the call to enter the theater for the Q & A (oops) and so sheepishly snuck in right as Kepler (the aforementioned 8th grader) was sharing his experience of the work.


(From here on I will do my best to avoid paraphrasing too much, but I may use brackets to block a particular symbol from being discussed because really I’d like to write about what was said and not what was read. This doesn’t make sense now but it will later.)


It was, to him, as though these images were happening in his mind, and then as though he was expressing these images through his real self. 


I thought, well, that this was a pretty cool thing to say. 


Then, something interesting happened. The floor was opened to questions from the audience, but there were no questions; instead there were several statements.   


The first was directed at Kepler himself, leading with something like: 


“You think this because you are coming from a [certain] perspective, but from my [certain] perspective…”  


I should have kept listening (oops), but instead I found myself looking around the room for how everyone was reacting. Because everyone perked up just a bit. 


Zoe|juniper’s response was forthcoming: everyone has a certain perspective on the work. 


Another audience member then delivered a fairly detailed semiotic analysis of what they considered a particular symbol in zoe|juniper’s previous and current works.   


In response, Juniper made a joke.


Zoe’s response was “I am not interested in [that particular symbol.]”


A single woman erupted into applause: perfectly intent, it seemed, on galvanizing a tremendous slow-clap 90’s movie applause moment. It didn’t work.


The final question began with “Would you agree with the statement that there is a tension between [some elements of the performance that you make?]”


It was perhaps in response to different questions, but I remember Juniper saying something like “I created your perspective,” and Zoe something like “We create space for people to be alone together.”  


Indeed, what do we want from artists if we follow their presentations by heatedly reinforcing the differences between different perspectives, performance elements, traditions of semiotics, each other? 


This is not a rhetorical question, and I do not know the answer, because there are lots of different perspectives, of course, not one, of course. 


Of course, we each want something different from artists, and indeed, a piece of art provides something entirely different to each person. Sort of like a stem cell, a 3d printer, the room of requirement, etc. The consumption of art can very good for you.


And historicizing art, technique, process, semiotics, etc. aids us directly in the future proliferation of art, and as well in branching anew.


But honestly, when we are this eager to fight for our perspectives, even against the people who spent months and months creating a tightly controlled space for them, what need do we express?


I spent a good amount of time recalling and writing down my version of the Q&A from a performance that was beautiful because of:

-The reveal of a purple costume previously seen in promotion photos

-Peat moss 

-Movement which appeared to be like “Oh shoot what was I doing?”

-Unabashed ballet

-An 8th grade boy’s single voice crack



I was thinking that writing it down would bring me to some more concrete conclusions, but actually now it’s a story.