Access Exit IV/X

Access Exit IV/X was performed October 26, 2014 for 90-minutes by Knaus at Large Divided Oval: Butterfly by Henry Moore (1987).


Dear Tanja,

It is November 7th, 1:47pm in California. I’ve just watched the 4th iteration of our collaborative project Access Exit and am compelled to try and capture my thoughts in a letter, though I know words will always impossibly fail all the ways I might negotiate this piece, your recent performance, and our ongoing collaboration if our physical bodies were in closer proximity.

It is strange that what I am finding most emotional, as I watch, is the distance limiting how we access each other. It has taken me some time to set aside time to craft this response, and, knowing the energy and dialogue we both crave from one another, I know there is a certain failure in the time-lapse between my reception of your video documentation and this video of words written in my journal. I wonder in the bigger schema of art as it enters the world, how reception and immediacy inform our processes for making work – our desires for that work to come in contact with another in intimate ways.

The opening image – your feet, a step truncated and reflected by the matter of water – it’s striking. I wish it lasted longer. Wish I got this sense of you in the environment that expands so quickly – I find it jarring – and would probably find it more abrupt if I wasn’t able to orient myself through memory to the architecture of a place I’ve been before, a place I’ve been with you.

I immediately notice the reflections. Your body doubled, the water transforming the sculpture into a penetrable opening.

And then you move again and my philosophical contemplations are interrupted by the body in motion, by the quick jumps between frames produced by these documents we make.

I have no sense of temperature, the coldness you wrote me about as a determining factor to duration and cycle. Three hours becomes 90 minutes and 90 minutes has numb sensations, houses a German winter. I suppose even as we try to subvert language, our dialectic exchange always exceeds the image of performance.

As your slowly paced steps create small ripples across the water’s surface, I think about the waterless fountain I danced in months ago. The grey Berlin sky and the colors of the leaves appear strikingly different than my state of excessive sun.

It is only at the end, when your body comes in contact with the sculpture that it starts to matter to me as anything more than a reflection in the larger visible field. At first, I was uncertain about the contact you made, but the more I watch, the more the final image sparks my interest. There is a struggle in the stillness that interests me as your video ends. Your point of exit, an elongated lean, limbs extended as if you were moving in many directions at once, already provokes me to begin (again).

Butterflies, I read, are meant to evoke transformation. I have decided I don’t believe Moore’s prescriptive title and I’m curious about your body against the literal, economic, and political weight of his sculpture. I am called to consider the multiple folds of a woman’s body housed outside the house of culture. So many layers, I wonder how our constellation of performances continually layer and inform each other and rewind the video back to watch (again) your first step and all the ripples that expand and settle elsewhere, still unhoused, and still, and still…