a constellation of humans

a constellation of humans

a process essay for building a buffalo directed by devynn emory

compiled from participants’ language & edited by jai arun ravine

notes: building a buffalo will be performed at Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD) in NYC on November 18, 2016 as part of BETWEEN LINES. image by Kristel Baldoz. learn more about devynn emory / beast productions.


we breathe inside compartments // but we trust each other // & we need bodies in a different way // in this way // we want to bring our queer // brown // spiritual // communities together // we want this performance to be a location // a gathering // we want to bring worlds & bodies together // we want to throw it all in one pot // we want to be expansive & take up space with our whole selves // we traverse the space between worlds but we also want to be in our bodies more // we want to open up the ceiling & come down from the sky // we want to fly // we want to sit & eat first for an hour at least // & sit & talk for hours after // we are birds // we are humming // we are recording this // we are remembering this // we’re taking selfies // we bring the energy of the people who can’t be here right now // we’ve been learning how to divest & how to say no but today we want to say yes // we’re thinking about the different shapes & structures for performance & how they serve the people involved // we’re thinking about what virtuosity means in a disabled // mixed // gendered body // we want more ways to orient ourselves in space // we’re an adult slumber party // we’re all in a clump // we recognize each other // we take this opportunity to think about our identities in a new way inside of this performance // we want an art practice that can grapple with our struggles in ways that are not only reactions or responses to conflict //


we are invested in how you // the audience // receives this & we’re hoping that you // the audience // is not predominantly white middle class // we want cotton candy & popcorn // good food // children in the space // more female body hair // less cis men in underwear // we want to karaoke // we want to look at each other & really see each other // we want no time limits // we want to be able to take a nap // we want windows & doors to throw open // we are allowed to have fire // we’re climbing // we’re jumping & jumping off things // we are intimate & expansive & free // we want to skype in // all the dead // we’re cuddling // the roof opens up // to the ocean // to stars // we’re keeping the fantasy in // we’re singing before you see // the sound is moving // 3s & 7s // slow fade up // oversaturation of light //

procession // purple light // we are the voice // we’re gonna start with singing // how much echo is this // what does a lot of echo sound like // placeholder // we’re stepping out to look at this // step one // we’re BAAD // change the orientation so it’s really wide // the deep way // we saw it the wide way // let’s pretend that’s what’s happening // that’s kind of not seen yet // coming from the basement // let it go a little bit before the polyrhythm // a flocking clump // in the blue light // in the rainbow sunset // let’s stop there // meander // fade out when we arrive // it’s possible in silence // amoeba // so where’s the audience right now // a clear break // silence not darkness // darkness not silence // did anyone watch the tiny iphone video in google docs // laughter //


what’s the method of the line // as a unit // pulling // tension // a slow turning away // should we try it again from the wall // should we try to do the same thing we did before // looking out & it was really nice to see their face // maybe not all the way // choose your own adventure arms // the same energy as // the line kind of breaks // immediately close the gap // dispersed // do you want to try it from breaking out // that time when // make eye contact // not make eye contact // touching someone // not touching someone // being on the ground // not being on the ground // constellations // stay in a constellation for a few moments // find a new constellation of humans // do you want to try or move through // let’s move from the break out // it’s your time to shine // how did that happen right now // that felt really awkward // let’s go from // variations of interaction // let’s go from constellation of humans #2 // once we start that’s your cue // the thing that comes after this // flumpish // depending on the night // people start exiting // hah hah hah hah hah hah hah // as a flump // join the flump whenever you want // leave the flump whenever you want // do you want people to exit the space entirely or do you want them to stay on the edges // can we talk through the whole structure before we do it // i would love to try it before we do it // do you want to popcorn it // a processional flump // what’s our relationship to the audience at this point // to answer your question // exciting to see everyone’s eyes // looking past // i think this can be really slow // gaze fixed // weaving // then you can just let it go // it seems that there wants to be // breathe as an organism together // i’m where i should be // it’s almost an embrace // but how would we see that // we can just be inspired by that // something that felt really nice // i’m making it up too i’m not sure // maybe what’s not working // when it folds in on itself //


i kind of want to go through it verbally from the beginning // we never finished our popcorn // i was imagining it whispered // either change something about the song or something about us // finding a huddle & then that one can dislocate // casual constellations // installations // if you do dislodge // but could it be // i really like that rhythm being constant // more range in the upper body // as a juxtaposition to a pattern // opportunity to interject other rhythms // like punctuation // quiet // or soundless // or quiet // overlaid on top of the voice // scattered trill // but within it i wanted to change more // what is it // where are you // the group doesn’t all have to shift at the same time // not everything has to start & stop at the same time // in what ways can things build or build out // it’s coming closer // how is the gaze different the second time you turn around // this thing is going forward & i can’t stop it but i’m going to try anyway // there almost had to be a response // i guess i didn’t have a feeling which one was right or not // contrasting interaction // loving & aggressive // soft & human // battlefield // grieving // animals // bodies & breath & sound // we could have switched one more time // observing is a nice texture // a lot of movement doesn’t have to be the only strong choice // who is this to //