The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Six artists, including Jenny Larsson, Oscar Fuentes, Celeste Fraser Delgado, Claudio Marcotulli, Carlota Pradera and Matthew Taylor, shared radically divergent works that were magically and thematically linked through humor during Inkub8's (open studio) series.
Oscar Fuentes opened the evening with a monologue-trance about his favorite obsession: love. He is enough, we are enough, and the memory the 100 kisses left on his body is proof of love's power to move us and lock us into a seemingly inescapable pattern. I think that's why he walked around in circles while orating.
Celeste Fraser Delgado danced, sang, rolled on her back and acted on the shiny silver edge between camp and kitsch, humor and melodrama, to create a theatrical work-in-progress that was both astonishingly funny and sentimental, intelligent and sharp, raw and refined. As she started, I was worried. I didn't know where it was going. By the end, I wanted more. I wanted to follow the character home, which means I'd have to follow Delgado home, because her story comes from the heart and head. “Why would anyone make any of this up?” Delgado said after the performance. Life is way better than fiction.
What I remember about Claudio Marcotulli's piece, besides Marcotulli running around a chair while ranting against the digital world and singing “Mi Burrito Sabanero,” is this line: “surrender to the binary world.” In many ways, this is what we have done as culture. We've given up control of our lives to a series of binary numbers (0101001) and opted for CDs, digital downloads, blogs and live streaming at the expense of newsprint and paperbacks, vinyls and 8-tracks. We're polarized, longing for the old while addicted to the new. That must be why the Library of Congress is building a collection of 6 million analog items to preserve our musical and cinematic history just in case something or someone decouples our binary world.
When composer and musician Matthew Taylor played his sax, I laughed because he turned himself and his instrument into a third character. His performance became a subtle fusion of humor and compassion, musicality and sound, that somehow unified all six performances. Something I thought impossible and unlikely with a lineup of radically diverse artists.
What makes Inkub8's (open studio) series so vital to this community is the open discussion forum held at the end of the evening. The forum gives the artists and audience the opportunity to communicate and connect in ways that help the artists gain deeper insight into their own work. It also gives the audience a chance to hear from the artists who create the energy of this city.
This is where I learned Taylor is a composer. This is where I learned Delgado's mom complains a lot and likes to tell stories like her daughter. This is where I learned Pradera's improvised choreography came from her body's preconceived notion of movement. Maybe she didn't realize this when she began her work, but unlike Marcotulli, she surrendered herself to the body, not the binary, and allowed it speak to us with openness and honesty that no digital recording could ever accurately communicate.