one looped year but the lake: an invitation from Asiya Wadud
April 15, 2021
Asiya Wadud is a NYC-based writer and teacher and was a 2019-2020 Danspace Project Research Group Fellow. She has authored many books including a collaboration with Okwui Okpokwasili published by Belladonna and Danspace Project.
On the occasion of her newest publication, No Knowledge Is Complete Until It Passes Through My Body (Nightboat Books) Danspace invited her to guest curate a project for Winter – Spring, 2021. Wadud invited 3 pairs of artists into an exchange through letters, ephemera, and other forms of communication, to unfold both privately and on Danspace’s Online Journal, in a series titled one looped year but the lake. The participating artists include Jesse Darling, devynn emory, Tarik Kiswanson, Angie Pittman, Anaïs Maviel, and Wadud herself. Her letter of invitation to these artists is published here in audio and text.
Please read or listen below.
In a transmission a signal of some sort is passed. In the word itself, there is an embedded receiver and an embedded “next”. Transmissions can happen across a range of registers and they do— from the intimate scale of one person to one person up to the broad transmissions that are sent from many and received by many. In the aftermath of the transmission, there is a film, a residue, a ghost— I don’t know what to call it exactly. But, that trace that’s left is not borne in the sending alone or the receiving alone. The trace that I’m thinking about is the one that is animated in the joined act of sending > > > receiving.
It’s been almost a year since we’ve adapted our lives to keep living amidst the pandemic. If we are lucky enough, we got to choose a few people to keep close to us this year. But in choosing the few, most of us made the necessary next step of foreclosing many other relationships, including chance encounters. We had no choice, really. Almost a year on, these chance meetings feel so distant—nearly impossible, as so many of the events that lend themselves to these kinds of encounters are on hold for now.
During the particular confinement of this year, I’ve thought about the resonances I find in two peoples’ body of work and the chance moments that sometimes bring those people together. It is a meeting that is often spontaneous. Once two people are in the same place, there can be a chance to think about their work as occupying the same forcefield. But in the dual absence of chance encounters and touch (like in a forcefield), how else can we find our way to each other?
I would like to invite you into a series of possible encounters, an exchange of sorts, and have paired you with _______(based on the threads and resonances in their work and the trace knowledge that perhaps you might like to know one another). Maybe you would even naturally meet during a non-pandemic year. To begin, I will send a letter to you both explaining where I see the overlaps and folds in your work and why I thought you might like to know each other. From there, I invite you to exchange letters, ephemera, poems, photographs, questions— whatever you’d like. These are brief encounters, maybe 2-3 letters each but I think something can also open up in a brief moment of knowing someone.
Danspace Project will be a home for one looped year but the lake. In pairing you with ______, I’m interested in the common language that you may already share and other possible transmissions that could start to unfold. I imagine parts of this exchange will be just for the two of you and there will be other parts that you’d be willing to share with the public. If you think this sounds even a little thrilling, please let me know as soon as you can and I can send more details. 🖤 🖤 I’m sending _______ invitation at the same time as yours, so this pairing is tentative in that it depends on whether you both say yes.
I hope this (long winded) letter makes sense in some way! I hope. Take good care. I hope you and those near to you are managing to stay healthy right now.