Movement as Research: October 18


RawlsMovement as Research
Cursors: Undoing Bodies Moved by Language
Artist Talk with Will Rawls  

Response by Tonika Sealy-Thompson (Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies)

Wednesday, October 18 at 5:30 pm
308A Doe Library (map)

What moves us, writes us, and undoes us? Rawls reflects on his research-based practice of interrogating the matter of marked bodies and the tools of language. Reflecting on his current collaboration with poet Claudia Rankine, and his practices in multiple media, Rawls speculates on the social and aesthetic dimensions of how a racial imaginary operates in his choreographic work.


Will Rawls is an artist and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. Working with dance, objects, sound and speech, Will creates solo and group performances that unravel and reconfigure around the idea of self and becoming. By placing the body into resonant encounters with other media, Will cultivates the ambiguous and experiential nature of choreographic work. Recently Will has been addressing authorship, memory, race and subjectivity as intersecting monuments in need of constant undoing. Will has presented work at The Chocolate Factory Theater, Danspace Project, The Emily Harvey Foundation, Performa 15, PS 122, Tanzquartier Wien and the Greater New York Exhibition at MoMA PS1. He is editor-at-large for Critical Correspondence and his writing and interviews have appeared in Artforum, ArtSlant, Triple Canopy, les presses du réel and The Museum of Modern Art. In Fall 2016, with Ishmael Houston-Jones, he will co-curate Danspace Project’s Platform: Lost & Found, exploring themes of AIDS, absence and queer performance. He is also co-editing Lost & Found, a catalogue of essays and artist projects that will accompany the platform. As a performer, Rawls has worked with Marina Abramovic, Jérôme Bel, Alain Buffard, Maria Hassabi, Nicholas Leichter, Xavier Le Roy, Tino Sehgal and Shen Wei Dance Arts. He is currently an LMCC Extended Life Fellow, a Mellon Creative Campus Fellow at Wesleyan University, a Levitt Artist-in-Residence at Williams College and a recipient of a 2015 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award.

Tonika Sealy-Thompson is a PhD student in Performance Studies who is concerned with Caribbean cultural and political thought, multilingual/hemispheric Black diaspora studies, Gender Womens and Sexuality studies and Afro Asian connections She grew up in Barbados and has been living and working globally as a curator, festival director and cultural consultant on projects in the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and the Asia Pacific regions. She has served as artistic coordinator of the Africa Caribbean and Pacific Arts Festival, and is the founder of the Fish and Dragon Festival a platform for creative exchange between the Caribbean and China.