Mariana Valencia, performance as part of “New Museum Seminars: (Temporary) Collection of Ideas,” 2015. Image: Travis Chamberlain
Artist and dancer Mariana Valencia shares her perspective on the term “choreography” in the fourth of seven successive contributions from artists, choreographers, curators, dancers, and scholars for the Six Degrees series “(Temporary) Collection of Ideas around CHOREOGRAPHY.” As part of a daylong symposium in February initiated by the R&D Seminar participants, Valencia presented a short performance wherein she explored choreography vis-à-vis her own work. The participants of the Seminars asked Valencia to develop her public presentation in tandem with this short text.
For her contribution, Valencia presented a seven-minute performance structured in three parts. She began with the application of eye makeup. During the first two minutes, she approached a podium at the front of the New Museum Theater, propped up an iPad, which she used as a pocket mirror, and began brushing her index finger across her eyelids in order to apply blue eye shadow. She then penciled on heavy black eye liner. After pausing briefly, Valencia began reading the text that follows. Hitting a cow bell erratically for emphasis at the end of her reading, Valencia moved away from the platform for the final segment, in which she delivered a series of rhythmic stomps and taps to the cow bell before stopping to return to her seat.
Dance Savings: how making, holding, and letting go is in the how of saving dance.
(See the following: the public application of makeup, specifically eye shadow and eyeliner.
Then see: a wet mouth; see it, hear it.)
There is a cow bell that rings, the listener will know the sound.
There is a woman in the room, the people might know this woman or any woman.
What I make: A time in front of you, a space for us to share, a brain, body, and seeing time.
How I make: I use a tactile time, an ear time, a color time, a whole body time.
How I make: By revisiting history to make new gestures in current time.
How I make: By forgetting facts and creating Dance Savings with a title, a beginning, and an end
Something I keep in mind is: If we change our viewpoint, we can both study where we stand and where we used to stand.
Something else I keep in mind is: If we work together we can also work against together.
Something more to the something else that I keep in mind is: Cowbell.
Something I have that I want to keep is: Study.
Fact number one: Bodies need space.
Mariana Valencia makes experimental dances, costumes, installations, and zines. She has been an artist in residence at Chez Bushwick, New York (2013); New York Live Arts as part of Studio Series (2013); Show Box LA (2014); Pieter Pasd, Los Angeles (2014); and, most recently, ISSUE Project Room AIR, New York (2015). As a teaching artist, she has participated in CLASSCLASSCLASS (2010–11), the What is Queer Performance? Festival (2014), and Movement Research Sunday Process Labs (2014).