Bodies built for repetition, delicate magnetic ribbons, wind around this mortal coil, everything returns to soil. - musical text from Graveyards & Gardens, by Caroline Shaw and Vanessa Goodman with Sound Design by Eric Chad and Kate DeGorme
I am putting this here to understand it, to process how it all intersects later, over time…
I am in the middle of a Disco music binge. I think as a musical form, it is the one with the most sex woven into it, intrinsic to it. Part of that, but not all, is its unrelenting rhythm. Its drive towards the next peak, which is neverending (or we could imagine that to be true.)
I am also filming Primordial. It’s really hot. I put the blankets on, and it is COMPLETELY dark. I remember Taylor’s question from the March artist talk about if this focus on feeling and interiority makes it hard to be present to my environment, to connect (that’s my memory of the question at least.) I had been talking about the vividness of the ice floor when doing Primordial on a frozen lake and that it was like being on a glowing light box, an overwhelming, hidden space just for me (for now - we want to film it). But now, doing it in hot Philly foliage, on dirt, I put the blankets on and the sun gradually filters out, until it’s just dark. All I can hear is my breath, and I can’t see anything. I had told Taylor that Primordial wants to project interior feeling OUT, to extend how far it can go, so no, the loudness of what is maybe a private experience pressing forward, outward doesn’t disconnect, it urges towards connection - hope for it? And Primordial wants that divide, or rupture or failure of translation - as a practice and art object it wants the lushness of the doer’s experience pressed right up against something starkly visual. (It’s a somatic, sculptural practice translated into a video.) It wants the gap of translation, between the feeling and the form. Understanding is about perspective, and with multiple viewpoints (mine from inside the blankets and your’s from outside), we will never fully align understanding. But we can meet in the fuzzy space of approach, rich with intent and curiosity.
Sylvan says, “Foley identifies a false, but no less felt, binary then offers healing union.”
I found this writing from a year ago about Primordial:
I want to do drag as a fabric rock, as a boulder made out of fabric. I want to encase myself in fabric and be something other at the same time that I feel closer to myself, closer to an unknowing, a lack of articulation.
Primordial was the first translation of queer motherhood into performance. A performative articulation of Edouard Glissant’s work. It is the starting place. I cover myself, trace myself with fabric, match my own edges, and obscure myself. I become enmeshed and then I move around. I want to put my body - my constructed boulder in conjunction and in contrast with a range of environments: subway platforms, meadows, frozen lakes, forests. - other rocks, other lineages, other growths.
Gestation. Heat. Rocks. (Disco.)
What does parenting queerly mean to you? What is your story of gender and sexuality in relation to gestation and parenting? Are you a queer parent who likes to reflect on the intricate and slippery intersections of queerness, pregnancy, gender, family-building and community? Blood Baby is a performance project that explores these intersections through dance and participatory performance. It is being made in partnership with The Painted Bride Art Center and is directed by me, Philly-based choreographer, performer, educator and queerdo mom in a trans family Meg Foley, and supported by a team of queer creative artists.
To support and inform this project, we will be hosting queer parent convenings over the next two years. We are currently beginning with a queer gestational parents group and are seeking Philly-based participants for an intimate group to meet online for 6-8 weeks (90 minutes/wk) beginning in May 2021. This group will explore our respective experiences of gender, sexuality, and gestation in relation to whatever parenting queerly means for people, and be one perspective in relation to the larger project goals of delimiting notions of family building and gender identity in a queer vein.
The group will be structured as a story circle and open forum, supported by facilitated somatic exercises, and will act as an advisory and fellowship group for the performance project. We will employ care-based and equity-focused facilitation, and accordingly the gathering will be group-led and open to the direction of the participants. A $75 stipend will be provided. We aim to represent the racial, gender, age, and cultural diversity of gestational parentage. QTPOC gestational parents are especially encouraged to reach out.
This a multi-year project and in the future, we will host forums and gatherings for all queer parents in Philadelphia and in other partner cities, but as gender and gestational experience are where my research begins, we are starting with a gestational parents group to explore the experiences of pregnant people themselves in relation to the larger questions of queer and trans family. We recognize the focus on pregnancy excludes the valuable perspective of non-gestational queer parents; parentage is not determined by pregnancy. This is a pilot group and is not attempting to represent queer families and parenting in total, and in the future there will be opportunities to engage that are not primarily focused on gestational experience.
We’d love to hear from you! If you are interested in participating or have questions/want to talk, please contact us at email@example.com. To learn more about Blood Baby, click here.
We look forward to hearing from you!