At the heart of every personal and societal crisis there is a body thrown into a state of exile. In a state of exile, one becomes separated from and unable to return to what we define as home. Notions of what is 'body' and what is 'home' are expanded by the work of each artist in this program. They express the conflicts of belonging and acceptance to that which gives us meaning and freedom. As a live practice, performance helps us feel inside the lived-experience of the body in exile.
The works presented in The Body in Exile occupy, in one form or another, exile. The artists create incomplete worlds from where they can patchwork a new order made from fragments and contradictions. In this way they make a claim for belonging to and acceptance in a constantly transforming world. They reveal that the strongest kind of belonging can come from recognizing and repairing crisis.
The Body in Exile addresses the paradox that is at the heart of the experience of exile in a globalised world - the paradox of simultaneously being inside of and excluded from the system one inhabits. It is a peculiar kind of exile where one belongs to the system but the system does not belong to them. We see this in systems of politics, patriarchy, colonialism and capitalism - root causes of every global crisis we face today. Together, the works have been selected for their ability to extend one’s thinking of how the experience of exile includes and implicates us all.
For the three-week program at Geary, live performance works by Pei-Ling Ho (Taiwan; June 15), Martha Skou (Denmark; June 22), and Nooshin Rostami (Iran; June 29) will be presented. In the spirit of the collective experiential nature of performance art, an evening of performance-on-screen works on June 29 by artists: Aram Atamian (Armenia), Laura Anderson Barbata (Mexico), Archie Barry (Australia), Valentina Medda (Italy), Emilio Rojas (Mexico), Nyugen E. Smith (Caribbean-American), Hanae Utamura (Japan) and Jevijoe Vitug + Maureen Catbagan (The Philippines) will follow.
‘The Body in Exile; vol. 1’ is the first event of an ongoing project devoted to the interwoven dialogue between performance artists who work within this theme.