I did this interview a few days before Lorene performed at a Queer Trash event at Silent Barn (rip) link here to a video of that performance and embedded at the bottom of this page. I was also late to this interview, late to that Queer Trash event. But you know what? The interview is here now, and it's terrific. and I apologize.
NOW Lorene will join us THIS SATURDAY at QUEER TRASH the SYMPOSIUM!! Can't wait to talk to them more!!
Queer Trash - Eames Armstrong
hi hi how are ya? sorry i'm late
LB it's ok!
i'm pretty good i'm jamming some stevie wonder on vinyl
half crying but feeling good, as he does ya
EA oh nice!
i'm thoroughly enjoying the open window fall morning situation
maybe we can start at the beginning, could you tell me about how and when you started making performance?
LB i started in college. i knew i needed to but i was really uncertain about solo work at first, so i would do really despairing work in the studio alone then run away (which is a pattern that continues today). so i did a group work, which helped me understand the kind of energies i was interested in conjuring. i had gotten a lot of inspiration through artists who visited my school to work with students, as well as artists i was exposed to at american dance festival. i returned to solo work my senior year for my thesis, with the help of jill sigman (www.thinkdance.org) and then i ran with it from there on out...and eventually returned to more collaborative work and began teaching over the years. solo work is my rock, it keeps me going because i can work intuitively and i don't have to explain anything to anyone.
wait a second though
i actually started making dances to some degree when i was 13. my best friend and i decided we would make a super long dance to that song from Fantasia and we spent all summer swimming and in the studio doing that. then my sister and i made a dance to some brian eno in high school. and i was getting some coaching from my dance team and studio instructors but i was doing some solos on my own. so: let us not discount the work of our younger selves. i also made some work while i was spending summers at american dance festival. strange solos and little group works. it's all connected. all that energy i still feel now.
I was organizing little concerts in my parents garage and basement at 13, and here I am still doin that
LB yes yes
EA and what you said about not having to explain anything to anyone really resonates with me
LB ah yes
EA do you think that comes about in reaction to pressures to over-explain in very particular terms
LB i'm referring to the process of intuitively moving, talking to myself (literally), trying things out, without having to explain to a collaborator/necessarily be on the same page
though i love collaborative processes as well
solo work can really be random and strange as you please
EA ah ah I see not just explaining in words in like an artist statement way
LB right. but explain your question...you mean presenters' or audiences' desire to "understand" or "get" it?
EA I think that's what I mean
relating to it really specifically thinking about crit in school
LB ah yes i didn't have "crit"
i didn't go to visual art school. but i did have some composition classes and feedback situations. some of which i set up myself
those kinds of things i loved because they can make for creative and no endpoints oriented dialogue around the work
having to try to be relevant in particular ways is something i play with and/or fight against in how i speak about my work all the time
like yes i am speaking about x, y, and z "important" things in this cis-passing white body, and yes i have an "identity" outside of that body most people can't see
but what i really feel is important is the work of performance and improvisation itself, beyond definitions, what it can do
EA what can it do?
LB ohhhh come on
name me some feelings you've felt or memories that have surfaced or ideas you've had or all that while you've watched performances and i think you have your answer
EA hehe yes
LB dominique duroseau, sophia mak, raki malhotra, erin dunn, kaia gilje, panoply, vitche boul ra
EA It seems like most of the work of yours I have seen is both context and site-responsive, how do you approach new spaces?
LB responsively! i work somatically, socially (in both the physical and conceptual realms), spontaneously. i have a lot of artists/collaborators to thank for learning how to be responsive in that way: kaia, panoply, lindsey drury and jill flanagan for sure
EA can you expand a bit on what it is for you to work somatically?
LB so i live in the legacy of many artists who have worked in this way. tools like body mind centering, body talk, feldenkrais, imagery guided physical work, somatic work with the voice. you can see more about this on the teaching page on my website. it's what guides my teaching in addition to principles around 'action' or performance art. in a performance space like what we'll be experiencing this sunday at silent barn, it's unusual to be a body based performer in such a direct sense, and that's exactly what i love about it. people are in a more social and casual state, there isn't a "vaulted" stage space, you can reach the outside pretty easily--aka not a theater space. so my internal work [to prepare myself and channel energies between myself and the space, the people, our histories, our presents through my mind and body] may be invisible or small or in a corner somewhere. and it's difficult and rewarding because people are in a state where they are more willing to thrash (literally or figuratively) with their own walls, up against me, against discomforts, when i combine the social, the physical, and the energetic as i perform
one person who did this kind of work in larger theaters was anna halprin. she's a huge influence
EA I was researching the Judson Dance Theater this summer and Anna Halprin was such a huge influence on those artists. It’s really fascinating too how she embraced and worked with folks like La Monte Young and she was doing sound experiments too
LB yeah music is just a nice area of openness to all kinds of performance
in my experience music venues and organizers allow for the most crazy shit
EA yea I wonder why that is?
LB well i think music has the biggest history of people "going off the rails"
and is the least institutional in many ways. biggest diy communities are in music
you know like wild performers the crowd loves even if the venue is like merp merp
LB no i don't!
EA he's a french economist and wrote this in late 70s, more or less saying that music actually prefigures economic and social conditions to come. p interesting but maybe I'm steering off here.
LB that's interesting. i was watching videos of john maus, a former philosophy professor turned avant pop musician, on youtube last night...he's saying that he's waiting for punk to show its politics more clearly/what is our punk politics. i think this is the words of a cis white male who used to be a philosophy professor so there's that. i think it's interesting to think about whether art is a response or art is a means of creating the political framings and desires and understandings. i mean there is almost 0% public interest in our work so that's not what i mean, though some artists are on the policy creating track which is one way. but it's like a chicken or egg thing.
EA I've been thinking about noise in relation to body, noise vs performance that’s meaningful or recognizable in some kind of dominant terms- and maybe this is similar to the end of the musing on your writing page from a few years ago-
"How about art as self ruination: a mess on purpose. Hard on purpose. Makes curators look away: revulsion. Revulsion is a looking away, but also a squirming away. A visceral and visual response. A very real one as well. A response that I seek, especially as a woman from a fucked up class background, I have had many experiences of revulsion, and grew up in a situation that would repulse most artists. Also part of why I do a lot, because you can’t possibly see everything I do. As much of a narcissist as I can be, I will always maintain some invisibility.”
is there anything else you want to say on that?
LB art is time travel, i was talking with quintan wikswo last week and she said that it takes a few generations to understand the groundbreaking creative work that is happening now. so that's why so many artists get "recognized" at institutional levels posthumously but more importantly how we both prefigure (nice word) and respond at any and all moments. which is why we want to cry all the time.
EA not just because of stevie wonder?
LB not because of stevie but INSPIRED by stevie. he is such a wildly channeling humyn
EA do you think that understanding process is accelerated these days or same as it ever was?
LB accelerated in general by people who watch art?
EA hm actually I'm tangling myself here- I'm going to pivot
Jacob Wick, who is also performing on sunday- and I also talked about time travel
time warp, actually
Can you maybe say more about art and time travel?
LB hahah pivot away
in truth we are past present and future all at the same time. i'm noticing right now a really amazing and wondrous trend toward ancestor communication/dealing with generational trauma plus also futurism. this of course is and always has been spearheaded by poc (shout out to sun ra) and now that more poc artists are being accepted and respected by the mainstream in avant garde communities and institutions, we are seeing it more. performance specifically is a time warp; we accelerate, trim the fat of excess time, or we slow things down to where it felt like an hour but it was only 20 minutes and how did you do all that in 20 minutes!? it's because time is a goddamned flat circle and we are playing with it like any other material.
EA hell yeah
of course many somatic modalities are tied to that kind of conjuring and release. performance ups the ante i think
because we are in this place of having to be super self and other focused at the same time. super grounded, kinda look at me narcissistic, very much connected to all energies at once so we can channel it into our own action and presence.
EA its powerful that the incorporeal comes to us through the most physical processes
LB but it all is corporeal
it all is body, it all is matter
and i'm saying even if others who are not "us" have lived through it, if we are close to them, we have. i really believe that, on some level. not in that dumb epigenetics kind of way but in the way that we again are very porous.
EA right right
LB if only people considered that more maybe empathy would become more important to people but in this hellishly oppressive world we become small.
EA that sounds like a solid way to end- I kind of lost track of time here ha. thank you! thanks thanks