Making Time at Human Resources: Ryan Kelly

Coinciding with the annual meeting of the College Art Association in Los Angeles, The Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley is hosting the offsite working session “Making Time at Human Resources” on February 22, 2012. Participants have been invited to post some brief thoughts on the topic in advance of the event. This guest posting is by UCLA student and artist, Ryan Kelly.

My collaborative practice with Brennan Gerard has centered around   the production of live performances informed by dance and engaged in a dialogue with the histories and legacies of Minimalism.  In recent work we have interrogated the couple as the hegemonic formation of intimacy.  We approached this problem through a programmatic score-based performance that  produced, over the course of it, new representations of intimacy determined by the logic of the system and not by our individual desires or authorial urges.  I think that the medium of dance is well-suited to these inquiries into gender, relationality and intimacy.  In dance, the body and its gestural language are primary.  The affective exchange–its promise and impossibility–between dancer and spectator is the site for working out questions of relationally and the problems of seeing.

This remaking of the performance space as the site for the production of new models of exchange and relationality has recently led us to consider the potential for the distribution of works–an area generally kept outside the frame of what the work is–to be made meaningful.  Again, performance, in its dual character of repeatability and uniqueness, seems well-suited to this question of distribution’s potential for meaning-making.  A live work will never achieve the standardization or repeatability of Minimalist sculpture, for instance.  A performance is always a re-iteration of itself, a new manifestation.  How can we as artists exploit this characteristic of performance to further a project driving toward the production of new models for relationally?  How is the re-creation of a dance work for the circumstance of distribution different than the refabrication of a Judd box?  Rosalind Krauss has argued in depth the extent to which Minimalism’s once-radical notion of refabrication opened up the entire project of Minimalism to exploitation by an increasingly creative market.  What does this legacy teach us as dancers?