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Writing Dancing & Loving
Poems & images from archiving Toronto's Summer Love-In Festival 2023
It’s officially autumn in Toronto. With it, I’m reflecting back on my long hot summer. Some of that length and heat I spent traveling through New York state. Back in Toronto, I was invited to archive the Summer Love-In Festival, which was presented in partnership with my pals at Oversize.Load this year. In this post, I want to share a bit about my experience & its creations.
When the festival’s organizers asked me to archive, they left the door open for me to to choose how I’d do it. In the 2021 iteration, friend and artist Stephen Jackman-Torkoff used video, dance & poetic narration to make their archive of love. I highly recommend watching their video, which you can do here!
My tools of choice, of course, were poetry and photography. During the festival, I sat in on 7 dance workshops and a performance, took over 800 photos and wrote 40+ pages of poems. With poetry in particular, I find creating in conversation between artforms particularly generative. I got a little crush on ekphrasis.
In these poems, I got to experiment with not only writing movement but also with a new (hortizonal!) poetic form. Inspired by the egalitarian, polyvocal/polymodal/polyeverything nature of this community festival, I felt that the poem’s typical vertical coloumn wouldn’t do. I had to approach my poems sideways. The horizontal line break was my answer.
On another note::: Creative interpretation is important. The Love-In’s decision to invite archivists to record using their unique gifts is important. That is, rather than have an archivist ‘objectively’ represent present situations for future posterity, the Love-In’s archival vision is much more capacious. They got me asking, Why can’t an archive be a poem, a dance, a question, a feeling?
Like in my mapping practice, where I question the hemogenozing objectiveness of map-making with artistic interventions, I want to use creative methods to question what it means to archive. As an archivist, I had the chance to evidence the archival process for the interpretive act it is.
Previously, I’ve personally struggled with the archival turn in the arts. Archives seem so dusty, so imperial. Inserting excluded voices into archives felt flat. This experience opened up, for me for the first time, a most unexpected pathway into the archival.
Here’s my offering: a selection of poem excerpts, interspersed with photographs.
tight box body , ,,,,,,, ,, so many poss - ibili -ties -ties -tease still tight gaze not self boxed but boxed, yes with hole spin, groove one two one two one two one one’s own , yes group move , yes freeze. “Give us a chorus!” “We are the chorus?” notice noise ,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,, ,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,, , ,,,,,,,, ,, , build up makes you warm really makes you wanna dance makes you really wanna sweat
Raving the contemporary somatic not specific not one technique but beautiful space change of weight, subtle or pressure, subtle like you’re laying on someone new. Is this a party? It’s 10 AM so this must be an after. Yes, after! The turn of a head on the lap of a stranger who is the floor.
Pacing one’s self is helpful slowing down locating a passion. Accessibility points. Look it points! Passion ate movement. Show me: passion move. Pretend passion moves less talking, less audition Who do we move for? Convey your passion vision we’ll move an approach a 360 degree view. Story a passion ate dance more so, a feel as above so below.
of mouths a whistle a breath too as a yawn sings a sigh of joy as a gulp sings a quick relief you found it itching in your throat you spit it out onto the floor and that joy yes has roots too they tickle at your feet a field of sighs and yawns of finally enough time finally enough space how the field is long like the pose and the fall the field longs and please field yield to pleasure yield please yield please yield pleased yield
serious a body high rolling tiniest tears the body juice I love knowing fell heavy in the windowless room everything melts What remains? word soup in the bowl of the body overflows it’s prone calves and arms shake that’s what we are Caress the floor with fore head smooth skin touch cold hard floor warm and lift
more space more space 360 degree diligent aware again more time open openopenope n the idea ever present listening live search for movement for word move toward the detonation the de tonation the de notation of body, listen the moment of stop, a phrase moving toward expansion out and around and not afraid playing with the vocabule the diction of connection, not necessarily same direction. Open please stop I’m waiting you’re all clumping me I’m waiting myself a reach another direction hold low and back hold low and back the clump formed body a mass of body a connection diction for vocabulary of movement of movement a stillness de tonation de notation a tone atone a tome. Degrees widen the evidentiary force of angles curve force the thing don’t force the no thing, the joint less spine the sacrum syncopation the fluid rush between opposite points access points the whole unclamped the curve a slip, a fall expansion is entropic dance the stars and systems slow a stillness another de notation an end.