the presentation is a
presentation Of a
A suite of two performances that interrogate American identity politics and the presentation of selves. How do we present our/selves in performative contexts (scenarios that conjure audience), and further, how might testimonial and (a)historical (re)contextualization offer us a means of practicing self-determination, as well as deconstructing notions of a centered, stabilized "Self"?
pt. 1 : st/itch
Choreography/Performance: Elle Hong
Prop Design/Additional Performer: Cipriano Ortega
Visual FX Rendering: Chase Morimoto
Videography: Laura Ann Samuelson
Music: Laurel Halo x Stallone the Reducer, Laura Mvula, Memoryhouse
Premiered at Counterpath Press - The Unseen Festival (Denver, CO), September 2019.
Published in Emergency Index: An Annual Document of Performance Practice, vol. 9 (Ugly Duckling Presse, NYC: 2020).
st/itch is a performance work that reckons with Elle’s performance of queer/pan-Asian identities. This work combines queer vernacular dance forms, contemporary dance, personal narrative, art history, sculpture, and sewing in a multimodal investigation on coexistence. How do seemingly disparate matter intersect in a body? Elle considers how the performance of complexity, through the live body as a medium, allows for a transference of affect that complicates audience perceptions of their corporeality (and the lenses it is read through). Through performing legible versions of various identities, the artist opts for an illegibility that complicates the idea of identity as neatly separable/categoric. This performance is emblematic of a perpetual identity crisis under dominant powers—always grasping for fragments of history to frantically piece them together, a literal binding-together of knowledge that intersects, and externalizes, through the performing body.
••••••••••pt. 2 : I'M A CLOSET/ARTIST
Choreography, Set/Costume Design, Performance: Elle Hong
Videography: Laurids Andersen Sonne
Music: Ayesha Erotica, The Books
Performed at Counterpath Press (Denver, CO) as a public dress rehearsal. Premiere was set for the Ann Arbor Film Festival 2020 (Ann Arbor, MI) prior to COVID-19 cancellation.
I’M A CLOSET/ARTIST restages the fluidity of gender embodiment necessary for the artist’s navigating of various social worlds. Through fusing queer social dance (punking/waacking), stand-up comedy(ish), and improvisation, the artist aims to convey both the powers and futilities inherent in having to be many things at once. Elle juxtaposes the sharp excess of femininity of punking/waacking, and the sharp wit concealed beneath dark humor as a coping mechanism, with an improvisational score embodying utopic lightness/levity. This performance aims to conjure the ever-present ghosts of queerness—an overbearing sense of exhaustion that prohibits queerness from existing too loudly within dominant culture.
To view a video of a work-in-progress showing of this piece, please email rhmanayan[at]gmail[dot]com.