Miguel Gutierrez, a dancer, performer, choreographer, poet, and musician, makes solo works and also collaborates as Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People.
Spectator sounds ugly. It makes me think of some creepy guy who stares at you as you change clothes in the parking lot after a swim at the beach. Spec, spectate. Ugh. Those sounds are awful. They’re aggressive. I never think of what I make as being for “spectators.” I think of it as being for an audience. Audience sounds nicer, more receptive. Audience, audio. They hear you. They take you in because it’s vibration. They’re paying attention. I think one of the tragic misconceptions of performance—well, the kind of performance that interests me—is that it’s something to look at, something that merely signifies, or some kind of fucking visual code. I’m always terribly disappointed when people want to collapse the actions of my performances into representations, renderings. I am interested in the accumulation, loss, transformation, and surprise of images unfolding in a flow of time-fuck and imagination. I am interested in their relationship and dynamic nature. I am interested in perception in all of its multifarious capacities.
Seeing is just one part of the deal. I am invested in hearing, sensing, feeling, noticing, observing not only what is in “front” of you when you see a performance but what is going on in your thoughts, falling into the trip you go on, engaging the weird, rigorous, and potentially magical practice of attention that happens in the “temporary autonomous zone” of other space, neither constrained by nor continuous with the banalities of daily life.
I do like the word spectacle, not so much in the Debordian sense but in the performance history sense—like big-scale shows that are pregnant with import and emotional tsunamis. I like that kind of bigness. It’s so wonderfully ridiculous. I like tipping my performance hat to the glory of a Las Vegas hotel fountain lit up in tacky greens, reds, and blues or to the final showstopping number in a musical. I like appropriating the promise inherent in this kind of spectacle, inflating emotions manipulatively, and knowing that the beauty is in the failure of the reach or in the inevitable exhale.
Beth Gill, Marginal Strip, 2005.
Keith Hennessy / Circo Zero, Turbulence (a dance about the economy), 2012.
Heather Kravas, the gnome is bad, 2004.
Juliana May, Gutter Gate, 2011.
Sarah Michelson, Shadowmann: Part 1, 2003.
Yasuko Yokoshi, what we when we, 2006.
Ann Liv Young, The Bagwell in Me, 2008.