one looped year but the lake
November 10, 2021
one looped year but the lake is a journal series at Danspace Project guest curated and edited by NYC-based writer and teacher, Asiya Wadud. In February 2021, Wadud invited 3 pairs of artists into a seven-months-long series of private exchanges through emails, letters, ephemera, and other forms of communication. Jesse Darling and devynn emory, Tarik Kiswanson and Asiya Wadud, and Angie Pittman and Anaïs Maviel were paired based on what Wadud regards as “threads and resonances in their work and the trace knowledge that they might like to know one another and would—perhaps—naturally run into each other during a non-pandemic year.” Wadud writes, “In the dual absence of chance encounters and touch, what other kinds of gatherings are possible? How else can we find our way to each other?”
Remnants of these artist exchanges can be found in this Journal Issue 13: Recuperation & Renewal.
families of what
families of what is a correspondence between Angie Pittman & Anaïs Maviel that circles questions of grief, noise, Black being, and the body. How does grief find its way into the thin film between the “upper room” and “a little necessary distance”? Grief rests (resists?) in the background, matte then honed, succumbing to sound, to movement, to other matter. Grief becomes the emblem in the object it embodies. At one point, Anaïs writes, “Attaching a family picture of mallets I am still grieving greiving gris vie ng for.” This correspondence meets us alongside grief, near the knowledge that it folds, breaks, resists. Meanwhile, though, there is the culminating plea from Angie, “good grief— let me be.” Maybe this urge radiates with us, always.
one looped year but the lake
During March 2021, Tarik Kiswanson and Asiya Wadud began to slowly write a poem together, adding lines as the weeks passed, volleying the poem back and forth, watching it find its shape. The text becomes a piece written as a call and response, but also a piece written as a we. No longer does it matter who wrote which individual lines. What matters instead is how the language exists as a whole.
Some days lately I touch a sense of peace
During the particular confinement of this past year, I’ve thought about the resonances I find in two peoples’ bodies of work and the chance moments that sometimes bring those people together. I came to know devynn emory’s work in the context of their Kin & Care research residency at Danspace Project in 2019-2020. It was there that I first encountered their performance lecture, ‘mmm’ (movement meditation memorials), which I have returned to again and again this year as a way to sit with the loss of the felled 2020. Jesse Darling and I met sometime in May 2020 through the internet. What can a body do? and Who can a body be? are two emergent questions and between emory and Darling’s work, there is a chance to ask this question and then sit with the replies in a variety of ways.
Here are nine letters between Jesse and devynn that stretch across the weeks between mid-February and late April. I keep returning to how devynn and Jesse each time reach for the referent ‘to’/ ‘dear’/ ‘you’. There is a sense of the real reader, held and a sense that the correspondence will unfold as it needs to.
Jesse, devynn and I offer these letters to you as a chance to see a new encounter unfold. In their letters, I am reminded about what is possible to begin.