LEIMAY Fellow Feature
A time in the studio with... Lucy Kerr
It’s quite different if I’m in rehearsals with other people or if I’m in rehearsals alone. If I’m with other people the rehearsals are very structured and intended for productivity - so I arrive, plug in my computer, pull up my schedule for that day’s warm-up and rehearsal. I’m like producer and manager as well as director for those rehearsals, and I want to be super organized since I have dancers relying on me. If I’m by myself, I allow myself to value un-productivity as a means for personal exploration and discovery. This sometimes doesn’t feel intuitive since we are encouraged in our society to always be producing, so I begin by getting out of that rhythm. I arrive and bring out my notebook and current research books, then I meditate for 20 minutes.
Being a fellow at CAVE for the past 3 years has been an incredibly formative in terms of how I create and what my process is like. I value having many different stages in my process. Rehearsals involving laying around in the studio and doing nothing are sometimes incredibly valuable in terms of what occurs to me in my imagination and for taking the time for associations to connect in my subconscious and then surface. I value time for rigorous exploration, discussion, research, and also for production - video production as well as the rigorous production and organization of my movement material into pieces in order for the consistent sharing of my work. What I love about my fellowship at cave is that it allows for all of these stages and processes. I always have an obligation to go to the studio even if I don’t have a “gig” lined up - and a rigorous, disciplined, explorative and also often times unproductive personal studio practice is important as an artist. During the first year I was working 10 hours a week in the studio, which really allowed for all of these processes to intermingle and to feed off one another at the same time. Now that I work 5 hours a week at CAVE, because of financial reasons, my process is more linear in terms focussing on these stages, but I really value having had the first year of 10 hours a week to dive into myself before I started to consistently produce work.
I am very existential in terms of how I live my everyday life and what occupies my thoughts. These strong existential feelings are something I’ve been inclined to have since I was a kid. They developed through highschool and into my formal training in Philosophy in college. What is at the core of my work is often the response I try to maintain to the kind of despondence I might feel at times when the world feels indifferent and meaningless. If life may feel to me indifferent and meaningless that’s ok, but yet, there are instances in life, in personal experience day to day and in art work I experience, where, as Virginia Woolf in To the Lighthouse said, life stands still. It is these profound moments, which look different and feel different to everyone, that I am interested in and that keep me yearning to create. In creating art, I recognize that it’s ok if life is meaningless, but what is so incredible is that through creating art, I might be able to communicate to others on a level that is not often present in the superficial structures of our capitalist society, where we are concerned with production, efficiency, and measuring worth through material and monetary value. I hope to connect to others on a more mysterious level while simultaneously creating relevant social, political, existential meaning through the manifestation of these kinds of powerful “still” moments. This is my goal and why I keep creating, but I’m not sure if I’ve reached that goal yet.
In my work, I am concerned with the consequences of being situated in a body in our current society and what this means for our experience and the struggles we face as people and as specific groups. Since my exploration of body politics in college, so for the past five years, I have been interested in how we are conditioned as a society and as women, specifically, to be upright, composed, and perform and present ourselves a certain way. In my work, I often work with the tension between horizontal and vertical movement. I work to discover movement on a horizontal plane that is often repressed in our culture where body customs have been formed since the development of the military along with schools and practices such as ballet. This is why my work is often interested in a relationship with the ground and with gravity in contrast to our desire to reach up and up and present ourselves up and up, and it is why I have been so influenced by Noguchi Taiso workshops with LUDUS instructor Mari Osanai. Working with my performers, I often give them directions and propositions through exercises to generate movement and material. They are integral to this process and I am always interested in how my specific personal interests translate to them through their bodies, since they have a more rigorous practice with their dance and movement practice than I do as a director. This collaboration has been essential to my discoveries.
I found out about CAVE through Ko Murobushi when I was studying with him at Impulstanz in Vienna in 2014. After that residency, I was very hungry to continue my training in Noguchi Taiso and Butoh. I looked everything up online and saw the fellowship program. I had just received a grant upon graduation which would allow me to participate in the program financially, and I was so compelled and so interested in the work of Ximena and Shige. I applied and was very grateful and excited to be accepted, even having not lived in New York yet at all. I met Ximena and Shige at our first fellowship sharing, and was so inspired by their dedication to creating work and to supporting other artists and fostering a community around experimental performance. I’ve worked extensively with them as a researcher and writer and a bit as a performer and have learned so much from them. My relationship with them, along with my fellowship, has been influential in shaping me as an artist.
Learn more about Lucy through her conectom profile!
A time in the studio with... is a platform to showcase participating artists in the LEIMAY Fellowship Program 2016-2017. Interviews and video content are created by Studio Manager Lindsey Mandolini.