Self Portrait: Kaitlyn Gilliland
February 25, 2015
From the PLATFORM 2015: Dancers, Buildings and People in the Streets catalogue:
On Aug 14, 2014 3:54 PM, “Kaitlyn Gilliland”<email@example.com> wrote:
Will, Thanks for buying some of my lunch yesterday – I owe you!
I was thinking after our meeting (and figured it made sense to collect and email some of my ideas before I forgot them all, as I tend to do) about howthe nature and energy of our conversation seemed to change after we moved past the task of defining how or why we might identify with one particular location on this “map” we’ve been given – Judson/Cunningham/ Balanchine – to instead acknowledging that maybe we have both actively evaded definition by a particular lineage, or if not exactly that, simply wandered according to where our varied interests lie. I got the sense, and please correct me if I misread our interaction, that we both respect what we assume is our place in this “Bermuda Triangle” (your words, right?) and yet feel a bit constrained if and when we’re trying to imagine some conversation that centers on talk of our relationship to these respective traditions. As we explored today, maybe our contribution can be a bit off the grid, if there’s even a grid, and maybe that’s more genuine, anyway.
Notes on Will, Summer ‘14
What I interpreted as a breakthrough in our conversation made me think back to that talk we had about dating one night during intermission at the ballet, or outside the museum – ugh, boys – and about at what point or when self-censorship, or the agent, or the “game,” gradually gives way to the talent (I loved that analogy you shared!), to openness, and to honesty. Interaction, as a result, becomes more risky, more high-stakes, and more interesting. Like when “oh, and how do you know Balanchine?” or “tell me how you and Judson met” morphs into a conversation about personal uncertainty, and reaction, and labyrinths, and displacement, and identity!
If this sounds like I’m trying to date you, I kind of am.
In all seriousness, I think our narrative could benefit from our really taking the time to get to know each other personally (this still sounds like a come on! platonically! psychologically!) beyond our supposed Judson/Balanchine connection. Maybe by the time we sit down and say something to or for an audience, whether it’s on a foreign or familiar topic, we’ve given ourselves the material to come at our conversation with more depth or nuance than if we were distanced, respectful collaborators? Does this make sense? I’m not implying we invade each other’s personal space (!!!) or arm ourselves for debate or sentimentality, but rather embrace a more mutually comprehensive understanding of individual context as a possible frame for content? Tackle the big questions by starting small – with a more thorough understanding of where we both come from?
First Skype Date with Will, Summer ‘14.
In that sense, our primary research for now could have a biographical focus, with respect, of course, for what we’d each like to keep private but maybe with some willingness on both ends to be candid, even vulnerable – as I think we both have been already. (And this request following a conversation in which we both admitted we are purposely a bit mysterious, or complicated, when it comes to revealing ourselves in our work!!) I like the idea that with some more organized, disciplined prodding into our own histories, even how they intersect or diverge – ancestry, childhood, teenagehood, adulthood, work, play, personality, writing, dancing, daily life, family life, personal life, whatever we each feel comfortable sharing – we can generate a palpable chemistry and/or empathy in our banter, and that might be cool.
This may be time consuming, but rewarding? Maybe it’s many lunches, or weekly Skype, or more formal interviews or some combination? Let me know what you think. Regardless, I’m going to Google you again and go from there. It also means you might have to show me some of your work at some point, and that I might have to invite you to some weird performance I do.
Thoughts? Skype Monday?
“It is very exhausting to keep looking, of course, just as it is to keep doing anything else; and from an instinct of self preservation many people look only a little. One can get along in life perfectly well without looking much.”
—Edwin Denby, “Dancers, Buildings and People in the Streets”