On View: February 25
Across The Table brings together The Kitchen and BOMB Magazine in critical dialogue and creative collaboration at the turning of anniversaries across both dynamic institutions. With The Kitchen celebrating its 50th and BOMB celebrating its 40th, each has built a community that centers artists and their voices first. In a moment where models of care continue to be central to the ways the future of art can be imagined, The Kitchen and BOMB have teamed up to present a series of conversations via Instagram Live that invite two artists with distinct ways of making and thinking to share common ground. Bringing together folks who have never-before been in public conversation with each other, Across The Table gives space to center the creative process as its own site of exploration ripe with mutual points of departure. The series features artist-to-artist conversations between Sadie Barnette and Meriem Bennani (February 11, 4pm); Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Kaneza Schaal (February 18, 4pm); Lex Brown and Miguel Gutierrez (February 25, 2pm); Lafawndah and Qualeasha Wood (April 1, 1pm); and Jeremy O’Harris and Brontez Purnell (April 15, 1pm).
This video features a recording of Lex Brown and Miguel Gutierrez on February 25, 2022.
Lex Brown is an artist who uses poetry and science-fiction to create an index for our psychological and emotional experiences as organic beings in a rapidly technologized world. She has performed and exhibited work at the New Museum, the High Line, the International Center of Photography, Recess, and The Kitchen in New York; REDCAT Theater and The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; The Baltimore Museum of Art in Baltimore; and at the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway. She was a 2021 recipient of the USA Fellowship. Brown holds degrees from Yale University (MFA) and Princeton University (BA). She is the author of My Wet Hot Drone Summer, a sci-fi erotic novella that takes on surveillance and social justice, first edition published by Badlands Unlimited. Consciousness, a survey of Brown's work spanning the past 8 years, is available from GenderFail.Brown teaches as a Media Fellow in Art, Film, & Visual Studies and Theater, Dance, & Media at Harvard University. She is also the host of the podcast 1-800-POWERS available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Brown is represented by Deli Gallery in Tribeca, NYC.
Miguel Gutierrez is a choreographer, performer, music maker, writer, video artist, educator and Feldenkrais Method practitioner based in Lenapehoking, currently known as Brooklyn, NY. He makes performances to create empathetic and irreverent spaces to talk about things in complicated ways beyond the limitations of propriety, party lines, and conventional logic. He has presented his work internationally in venues including the Wexner Art Center, REDCAT, Festival d’Automne/Paris and American Realness. He has received four New York Dance and Performance Bessie Awards, a 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award, and he was a selected artist for the 2014 Whitney Biennial.
ABOUT BOMB MAGAZINE
BOMB Magazine has been publishing conversations between artists of all disciplines since 1981. BOMB’s founders—New York City-based artists and writers—created BOMB because they saw a disparity between the way artists talked about their work among themselves and the way critics described it.
Today, BOMB is a multi-media publishing house that creates, disseminates, and preserves artist-generated content from interviews to artists’ essays to new literature. BOMB includes a quarterly print magazine, a daily online publication, and a digital archive of its previously published content from 1981 onward.
Sienne Fekete: Welcome, Lex and Miguel. We're all very humbly Zooming from our homes and studios. I see.
Miguel Gutierrez: Hi.
SF: Welcome. We're so happy to have you here. I'm gonna give a brief kind of introduction to the series for those who may not know. So, welcome to Across the Table, an artist conversation series, put together in collaboration by The Kitchen and BOMB Magazine. I am Sienna Fekete, the Curatorial Fellow here at The Kitchen. Across this Table is a critical dialogue series that really is meant to center this beautiful kind of celebration of artists across the years. With last year being The Kitchen's 50th, and BOMB Magazine's 40th, we really wanted to take a moment to kind of celebrate the artists that have so brilliantly made our spaces, the spaces that they are. So, yeah, just everyone knows that artists are at the center of the art making, and I feel like both of our institutions, magazines, kind of celebrate that. So, welcome Lex and Miguel.
I'm gonna give just a brief bio so that you two can get into conversation quickly. But Lex Brown is an artist who uses poetry and science fiction to create an index for our psychological and emotional experiences as organic beings in a rapidly technologized world. She has performed and exhibited work at The New Museum, The Highline, the International Center of Photography, Recess, and The Kitchen. REDCAT Theater, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Baltimore Museum, and so forth. This is an extremely impressive and long list. She is the author of "My Wet Hot Drone Summer", a sci-fi erotic novella that takes on surveillance and social justice. First edition published by Badlands Unlimited. I love Badlands. Brown teaches as a media fellow in art, film, and visual studies in theater, dance and media at Harvard University. She is also the host of the podcast, "1-800-POWERS" available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts. Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Brown is represented by Deli Gallery in Tribeca, NYC.
Miguel Gutierrez is a choreographer, performer, music maker, writer, video artist, educator, and practitioner based in Lenapehoking, currently known as Brooklyn, New York. He makes performances to create empathetic and irreverent spaces to talk about things in complicated ways beyond the limitations of property, party lines, and conventional logic. He has presented his work internationally in venues including the Wexner Art Center, REDCAT, Festival d'Automne à Paris, and American Realness. He has received four New York Dance and Performance Bessie Awards. Ooh, I love the Bessies. A 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award, and he was a selected artist for the 2014 Whitney Biennial.
Welcome Lex and Miguel, thank you for being patient as I moved rooms with my, you know, digging puppy in the other room, and we're just so grateful to have you here, and I'm gonna go off screen, and please, just get into conversation with one another. And for folks who have questions, please type them into the question box, or into the comments.
Lex Brown: Thank you so much.
MG: This is like, "Love is Blind," but not quite.
LB: Yeah, totally. It totally is, 'cause I actually, I just listened to your voice the most, and now we're here, and I feel like there's not gonna be enough time. I'm already like, there's not enough time. There's no enough time.
MG: No, this is the... Everyone, welcome to the first episode of Lex and I's first podcast.
MB: 'Cause this is really what this is.
LB: It's all about the pod. Oh my gosh.
MG: I love that you call it "the pod". I was like "the pod"? I was like, oh yeah, "the pod". Sure. Yeah, where do you wanna start? I thought they were gonna ask us an introductory question. Fuck, so... It's like...
LB: I thought so too, yeah. And then last night, I was like, wait a minute. We are facilitating our conversation.
MG: I know.
LB: I mean, I have some questions, they're pretty, they're like meaty questions. Or we could, or I don't know if you wanted to start in a more general place. I don't know.
MG: I mean, my questions are like big, this is not surprising, I'm a very like big, I wish I could be specific like question-asker, but I'm always like, how?
MG: I'm literally that's always, I'm looking at your work and I'm like, how? Like I feel like when I look at your work or listen to your podcast, which is incredible, I'm just like, how is this person holding all of this? And that's really the first thing that really hit me, was 'cause I think this idea of multiplicity is such like a, I don't know what the right word is, it's sort of like a hot word, or sort of a thing that I even I hold, but then I'm like, oh, you don't just seem multiple, you seem exponential to me. And how you're kind of thinking through all those things, and if you even feel, I think I feel a lot of anxiety about the containers, even though I sort of say that I don't, but then I'm looking at you, and I'm like, how are you thinking about container even?
LB: I feel like, thank you so much. I feel like I'm probably thinking about container, like very similarly to you. I mean, I think I would, I think I could just as easily ask the same question of how, but I feel like there's actually, I'm so excited that we are paired together, especially because the podcast that you started seems to be about the same age as my podcast. And so, there seems to be like all of these connections or crossovers of just working in multiple disciplines, not only like artistic disciplines, but also different modes of teaching academically, but also physical practice. I mean I don't... So I feel like you probably know the answer of how, which is like, there is no other way.
LB: There is no... Yeah, there's no other way to do any of it without doing it all. And I really felt so much resonance with the, well, I don't know if it's an open letter, but the piece that you just published with Dance Magazine, that's the Grant-
MG: In Dance, yeah. “The Grant Letter You Wish You Could Write.”
LB: Yeah, “The Grant Letter that You Wish You Could Write,” and the way it speaks to like the totality of the experience of being an artist, especially somebody who's working in time-based or body-based movement, and that it's like somehow impossible. I don't know, it feels like somehow impossible to just do one thing, or one form, because, it's like, I don't know, like inherently, there's just this need to show all of the other forms that it touches upon. I mean, I feel the anxiety of the container for sure, too.
MG: I think it's like--
LB: Yeah, I feel that anxiety.
MG: I was talking about this yesterday with a student, who was telling me that like they've been told in their practice at school, that they need to focus on one thing. And I was kinda like, "Really? That seems so dumb." Just the thought that like anybody in art school should be even saying that to somebody. And I was kinda like, it seems like you're interested in relationship, and that's like what you're doing is relationship between these things and... And I guess the way, like I think, you know, I think, my brain's going so many places, it's a little intense. It's a little, because encountering your stuff, I'm just like, I can start from that place. I can start from like everything, but it's also kind of a disaster. But it's like, what I'm thinking about is kind of like, so my friend, Jenny Lacey did this piece many years ago called "Gatica". And she makes all these statements at the beginning. And she says this thing in the piece that says like, in the future, like the word "dilettante" won't be seen as pejorative. And I just, I'm always loving that.
And then I was thinking about like, when I was listening to your first podcast episode where you kind of like do this incredibly beautiful, unraveling of the idea of mastery, and kind of also speak to this question of like giving yourself permission to do the thing that you may not, like, you didn't word it like this, but like how I heard it was like, you may not be excellent at, like. you're like, “Don't worry about that. Don't put that pressure on the thing.” And I was just kind of thinking through, again, like with this question of container, and even education, right? 'Cause I'm teaching at your old freaking alma mater, and like this feeling of like, as an educator that you are meant to know, like this kind of way in which knowing is attached to doing, is attached to like an experience. But it's like, so much of my relationship to doing and experience is like living in this, like I don't know what the fuck I'm doing. Like, I'm just like, I'm just trying something here. And then there I am, like standing in front of the students being like, "This is truth," you know?
MG: I'm talking about container of forms, Grace, person who just asked that question. I was talking about like containers, of like the forms that we're working in. So I don't know, that's just something I'm like, I felt like so much permission when I heard you say that thing about like the debunking of the mastery. And I was like, again, the thing of, like, I would think that I had kind of gotten myself over this, but I don't think I have gotten myself over this. Like, I think I'm still caught in that. And for me, it's very first-gen anxiety, like child of immigrants, like must do well, must be the best, cannot be mediocre, cannot fail, even though like failure aesthetics is like, you know? Such a thing that even I've espoused. But I don't know, I'm always like, what's the real thing that I'm actually doing?
LB: Yeah, totally. I mean I think it's so difficult for any of us living today to shed that... That impulse or that belief in mastery as this concept, like an aesthetic concept that's been established from like the previous centuries.
And then like, the part that's really hard about that is like, just thinking about that student that you were mentioning who's like, "Oh, I'm supposed to focus on one thing." Is that, already if you're in an academic context situation learning about art, you're learning about it at the point at which it's already been established that you can do anything and everything, and yet I feel like so much of like what we are like coming up against as people working in different forms intentionally but also, you know, compulsively, also just organically, it's like, there's, I don't know, it's just like this weird kind of like haunting, like echo of the past, even though you know like, oh, like the thing we're also showing.
I like in your statements, when you say that you're making, I'm gonna kind of butcher it, but like, you're making a work that's about something, but it's also about the work that's being made. Like there's a way in which you describe this kind of like relationship between maybe like the topical, or like the subject, but also the form, and the process, and how it gets to be made.
And yeah, it's such a head trip teaching, because then when you're teaching, now you're like somehow supposed to be regurgitating or just "gurgitating" some kind of like knowledge, when all of the knowledge from the practice comes from being all these different things at once, and like trying to express all these different things at once, or working in these different modalities. I don't know, I just, sometimes... I feel like hopeful that this sort of like non-masterful way of doing things, eventually people will kind of start to get it. Like it's not just about what you mentioned, like the failure, which is that I think that a lot of times like, which is valuable, like really, really valuable, like a really valuable, aesthetic value as failure, 'cause like, you know, what is life if not a series of failures? But I mean, and successes too, you know what I mean. But like, a lot of people see the kind of multi-interdisciplinarity, or the lack of mastery as like just about failure, when it's like, no, what if it's about like what you're saying, the connections between them? What if it's about like, that to truly understand the medium is the message, to truly understand what's happening in between forms, to truly understand like, the specificity of transmuting an energy through a physical representation or manifestation of like an energetic impulse, and that the container that it ends up in is like, there's a reason why it's in that container, but it doesn't inherently have to be in that container. I don't know, I'm like I.. Did that make sense?
MG: I mean, I think the thing that's like, it's all these things at once, right? It's like the, at-onceness of like the, you know, what is the role of an artist, you know? Like to give space to your craziness, and imagination, and to like find a way of putting it in the world. And for me, that sometimes does include teaching, you know?
And it's funny 'cause just like I said, so I teach at Princeton, right? And it's like Princeton is like a funny place to teach, 'cause it's, Princeton's a little tight, you know? And I'm like, you know, always thinking like, "Oh, don't say that word. "Oh, don't like," Like I literally did yesterday, the other day in class, I was talking about like this libertarian, 'cause I teach a class on the same topics as the podcast, right? And so we were reading this libertarian economist, and I was like, you know, now I'm just like, "Bitch, why are you thinking that?" And I'm like, “I just said that.” And I literally saw my students go like, and I was like, “Oh, Miguel, like you can't. Do you know where you are? Like you can't do that here." And this was like, but I was like, I was just trying to, and I realized like, no, but that's the discursive for me. Like that's the discursive experience I have when I read, is like I'm yelling back at the thing from the position I'm in, and I'm bringing in everything, like I'm bringing in the whole mess of it, which includes like my anger, and my frustration.
And it's like so much of the interaction with the materials that we're encountering in the world is about sort of negotiating like the boundaries of the cultures that we bring to it, or something, and it's just like, I don't know, it's just, It's something that like, I'm really occupied with this question right now of like, what layer of consciousness am I answering from? Like, am I answering from the layer of consciousness that's about the context that I'm in that has a form? Like it has a party line, right? As I said before, or whatever, am I speaking from like an emotional consciousness about that situation? Am I just kind of like transmuting it into this whole other, like, you know, like what's the right thing to do when you walk into a classroom, or to anywhere? Is it just to be like, yeah, just like be an agent of chaos?
LB: Oh my gosh, yeah.
MG: Like I would love to go to that classroom one day and just literally get on the ground. Just be like, for like three hours, and just see what happens.
LB: Oh my God, yeah. I'm really empathizing so much and relating to this so much with just like... 'Cause yeah, there is that agent-of-chaos energy that's like, I could let this shit rip at any given moment. Any fucking given moment, I could let it out. I could go all the way from 1 to 57, into the red zone, and you cannot handle it! But like, sometimes it doesn't, it doesn't do. It's just, it's like, you know, if the capacity to receive the, if the desire is not there to receive the red zone, so you have to kind of like temper it, and like titrate it, and like put it in a shirt, and put it in a clothing, or put it in a, you know, the container. I'm really wondering, like how did you start your podcast, and like, what was the moment? 'Cause I listened to some of the episodes, but I didn't listen to the very first one. And maybe you talked about it there.
MG: Yeah, it's like, the origin myth is, when I was making this bridge called "my ass" on my show that I presented in 2019, but like 2018 I was making it, and I applied for a bunch of stuff, most of which I'd gotten before, like just grants and stuff, and I had already kind of made commitments to the performers. Like, “You're gonna get paid this much.” And then I didn't get any of the grants, except for one. And I was like, oh, fuck! Like, I mean, it was really intense. One of the big grants that I applied that I didn't get, I was like literally in this park in like the outskirts of Paris. It sounds very romantic, but it was actually really abject. I was just like, it was two in the morning, and I was looking at my phone reading this email, I was like, "Fuck! What the fuck?" And I just got so depressed. I got so depressed from the experience, and not just like the ego bruise, of course that was part of it, but also just like sense of like, I don't know how to do this actually, otherwise. And I was like, I couldn't dream my way into a different fundraising. Like I thought, I was like, I'm not rich, so I can't get that money, you know? And like, I'm not somebody who cultivates like big, big, big dollar donors, you know, which some performing arts people do, or institutions do.
So it sent me to this whole crazy place, and then I read this book. Actually have it right here, it's so funny. This book, Decolonizing Wealth, this book by Edgar Villanueva, where he, he's an indigenous person working in philanthropy, and basically kind of unpacks how fucked up philanthropy is, kind of from the inside. And that really put me in a place too, where I was like, oh, I've never even have questioned this thing that I have been working so hard at becoming adept in, you know?
So, those combinations of like the sense of like scarcity and the panic around scarcity, and how that relates to just like all these questions about artistic relevance, and you know, sustainability, combined with like real-world facts about philanthropy, and funding systems, and then of course looking into public funding systems in this country, and kind of, you know, this kind of makes me think about the thing you say in your podcast, like insecurity, like insecurity is like the product of someone else's agenda, and I definitely think that that's really true for U.S-based artists where it's like, who are like, "We don't know if what we do is meaningful." I'm like, of course you don't know. Like you've been conditioned to believe that it's not meaningful. Like literally everything structurally is there to set you up for belief in its irrelevance, or its elitism, or, you know, any kind of number of like conservative watch words that get thrown at art.
And so that's kind of what sent me into the research, and I just started reading a lot of stuff about the history of philanthropy, and the history of the NEA, and realized at some point I was like, what am I making with this information? Like, am I gonna make a dance about philanthropy? That sounds like the most terrible idea. Could be amazing. I was like,
LB: Tip jars.
MG: ♪ Give me your money, give me your money. Can I make a dance with your money? ♪ And then I was like, what about a podcast? You know, like, and just thought it could be a, I had published, or Bomb had published actually… Hey, Bomb! Had published you know, "Does Abstraction Belong To White People,” this essay that I wrote in 2018, and that had had a really, like much further reach than I had ever anticipated that it could have. And so I was thinking about, what art can I make that I don't have to be in the room for? Like that's the art that I'm like really trying to understand. So yeah, that's kind of where it came up for me, yeah. Oh?
Sienna Fekete: We got a question in the question box So this is from Ajani. They are interested to hear about the role that song and voice plays in your practices. To them, they said it feels like a kind of glue for everything else. What's going on there?
LB: Ooh, can I... I totally wanna answer that question. Can I ask Miguel, I just wanna ask like a follow-up
SF: Of course.
LB: To what you're saying, which is just, you know, you mentioned like not being, thank you, Ajani. You mentioned like not wanting to, you know, make this dance about philanthropy, and I just kind of wanted to, like, this thing has been kinda in my head a little bit about like the representational and non-representational, and I know that you're a Feldenkrais practitioner, and also instructor. And I don't know that much about Feldenkrais, so maybe you could like give a little summary also for everyone, but I know of it from like movement dance acting world, as one of these like sort of, like Alexander method, like a kind of somatic alignment practice. And I was just, you know, I always love like taking classes like that or learning kind of like new practices like that, and I was sort of wondering like how being a practitioner or instructor of Feldenkrais as a kind of like non-representational aspect of your practice…Has that changed how you approach might, what might be more of the like representational, like making a dance about, or, yeah… I just was wondering if you could like talk about that for a second.
MG: It's so tricky, because I think that like sometimes somatic-based knowledges are so poo-pooed, you know? And I mean, I like, I think like as a person in the world, I've always sort of like held, I tried to try this balance between like, how much sort of body knowledge or mind/body knowledge I wanna kind of introduce to a context, and how much of that I know can be kind of a caricature of itself. Like there's nothing easier in the world to make fun of than dance, you know? Or like nothing easier that will be made fun of like that person's who's like, "My body feels really weird today," you know?
And so for me, it's really functioned as a kind of intimacy practice, you know? It is a form of spending time with self, and it like, almost like imposes me to spend that time. And also in my case, slow me down, and like lay me down, quite literally, and there's something about the fact that when you move from verticality to horizontality, how your consciousness shifts, and what it means when you increase the surface area of gravity, what that does to your nervous system, and what that allows for you to sense and feel, and make space for, right? Because so much of what the work is about saying, it's like, let's make space for feeling. And that's not always an easy thing to do, and that's not even a desirable thing to do for some people, but for me, it became kind of critical.
And then in terms of how I think about it in my art making, it's more just about like, one of the basic principles of Feldenkrais, which was developed by Moshé Feldenkrais in the 20th century, is kind of you start with what's working. So this idea of like, lean into the thing that's already working. So an anti-diagnostic approach. Instead of saying, start from the problem and fix the problem, it's saying like, no, you're gonna actually start from the thing that's working, and you're gonna kind of move with that. And I think that sort of like ideologically, is so powerful, as a director, as a maker, as an educator, as like a person interacting with anybody in relationship, it's like, okay, how can I try to join what's working? And sometimes for me, there is a kind of like anxiety about this sort of like notion that the mind/body practice is somehow gonna be like, divorced from the political, or the sociopolitical, in such a way as to sort of like propose itself as some sort of like anti-political space or apolitical space, 'cause I don't think it is that, but I think it's just looking at it from a different perspective, you know? Like I always am like, what would happen at the UN if all those people just like laid down for 45 minutes first before they argue about, you know, sanctions? Like I just wonder what would happen, you know?
LB: It could all be so simple.
MG: I don't know.
LB: I mean, I know it's not simple, but I do often also think about like, like in life sometimes, you just need to make a tiny adjustment to have like a huge change
MG: A huge shift.
LB: Like a huge shift. And like, I often think about the same things, like you know, the Hokey Pokey. Like if everybody put their right foot in, the right foot out, their left foot in, we turn ourselves about, like together, you know? Like we've still have not come to the point as a species of like universal body acknowledgement of like, we're all humans.
MG: I think it's really...
LB: It's quite way out wild.
MG: Yeah, I mean, I guess I feel like, the question comes up for me, for you, is sort of like, because of, again, back to the standing of like the ways that you're working in all these different ways, like, how do you feel like you are able to return to body when you're working?
LB: I feel like I'm just getting back to my body after like a long time. Like years, like years. Like I was really fucked up by fake news. We haven't really culturally, I feel like even been able to process what that did 'cause we've all been like reeling from the pandemic for the last couple of years, but there was something about that that like tweaked with my brain a little bit in a sense of, I guess 'cause like for me, performance has always been about some truth, you know? Even if there's a fictional narrative, there's some truthiness, some truthiness that I can point to somewhere or something and like put my finger on it. And it wasn't just like the fake news, it was just like personal stuff that was going through too, where I got really like out of myself. I feel like I'm just now getting back into my body. I talked about this in the essay for the show that I had last year, "Defense Mechanisms", just this feeling of becoming like a particulate matter between the years, 2017 and 2021, of like I feel like I just became like an aerosol or something. I still like made work during that time, and I made a lot of things, but it was...
MG: Oh you went, oh, sorry.
LB: And, oh.
MG: That's good.
LB: I mean, roller skating is huge for me, going roller skating tonight. Roller skating, the roller rink is a heaven to me. I think that is utopia on earth. And I feel like I'm just like getting back into my body. And to answer Ajani, I hope I'm saying your name right, to your question about voice and singing, like the voice is totally about the body to me. I mean, I feel like the voice is like my, I have to like work up to a place of voice that's like my sacred body, to be able to, somebody once said to me that singing is praying twice. And that, you know, it's the same air that we use when we're speaking, but it's not, it's shaped and it's molded, and there's a directness about it, there's like a truth in the voice. And I feel like I'm coming back around to, I think I might be able to sing or want to sing. I mean, I always continue singing but, like, you know, in the shower or whatever, but to work in song is a very specific place for me that requires a lot of like strength, it requires a lot of faith, it requires a lot of, you know, you're like pouring. It's like a vessel, and it's very joyful. It's really joyful.
LB: And it's also really, you know, but it's also like a, just a main line, like straight into your emotions. And there's so much like... So, actually really recently, my friend Jonathan Payne, I don't know if you're tuned into this right now, Jonathan, but we were listening to this like audio montage of Michael Jackson's like vocal utterances. And so we started like doing those, and we kinda had this like really powerful experience for just doing the (does vocal utterances) ♪ c'mon girl ♪
MG: Oh my God.
LB: It's like a great vocal exercise, but there's like so much power in the voice. There's so much power that like just gets unlocked. 'Cause it's not just your voice, you know? It's like lungs, it's your heart. It's like, it's traveling like from the inside of your body, out. There's not that many things that actually come out of our bodies, you know? So they're all, all the things that come out from inside of that, from inside of our bodies, have a lot of like, they're powerful. They're, you know? It's like, the voice is like a bodily fluid, basically.
LB: So there's a lot in there, I think.
MG: I love, I mean, I am so like, I am at such a conflict with the concept of pleasure. Like I love it, I hate it, I love it, I hate it. I like, I feel like pleasure in art making is like both like a total desire and it's something I'm really suspicious of at the same time, all the time. And when I started bringing singing into the work or voice into the work, like it was sort of this admission of pleasure, and well, you know, certainly like doing other music projects that are specifically just like about melody, was definitely also about that, to be like, can there be this like non-conflicted space in my art making where I just do a thing that like allows me to be, to be like happy, or like enjoy, or whatever, because I think with dancing, which so often people sort of attribute that to dancing, and like dancing is completely conflict laden for me. It is so utterly laden with conflict. And justifiably so, like I don't need it to not be that, but it's a very complicated space for me for a lot, a lot of reasons that we can't get into here. But I think singing is really different. It is so much more immediate. And I just wanna say one thing about it just like, I took this music class last year, and I don't know why it never occurred to me before, but she was like, sound is the disturbance of air. And I was like, like just to hear it defined that way, I was so happy. I was like, "I'm disturbing the air." It made me really, really happy. I was like, I'm in a constant state of disturbance.
LB: Chaos agent!
MG: I'm trying, trying.
SF: Oh my God, I love that, Miguel. Wow. I'm like, yes, holding onto that sentiment. I'm just here to simply do a time check to let you know it is 2:36, and per our agreement, it is 30 minutes. I am so into the conversation, so just saying that for your own time checks. If there's, you know, final things you wanna say.
MG: Yeah, I could talk to you forever.
LB: I know, we have like so much to talk about. Well, I saw a question earlier. Someone asked, what was your favorite season of the pandemic?
MG: Oh, shit! Too soon?
LB: Right? Like...
MG: The one that's coming. I know, what's your favorite season?
LB: I like loved it.
MG: Go for it. I wanna hear what you say about it.
LB: Oh my God, I know like shoot. Don't throw stones in glass houses. What's my favorite season? My favorite season of the pandemic? I don't know. Maybe... I mean, it's hard to say this one, because like shit is popping off in the world, but I guess, you know, there was a point, I don't remember when, but there was like a stretch of time where I was just really in like healing, totally like attending to my own positive self talk, really like massaging, emotionally massaging the sore parts of myself, maybe like last spring or something, and that felt, that felt good. That felt good, I don't know.
MG: Spring 21.
LB: Maybe. Yeah, I don't know. And just in terms of like, I love this question. Like favorite part of the pandemic.
MG: Yeah, I think that this is, I mean, whoever's asking this, please know that I'm holding the horror of the pandemic in this answer, or that I'm not like clueless when I say this. I'm not like Gal Gadot, you know, singing, ♪ Imagine all the people ♪ ♪ Making as much money as me as Wonder Woman ♪ I can't. Or like Kristen Wiig with her like Botox craziness. That was not, that was a low point of the pandemic.
But I do think that like when at the, I was visiting my mom in Florida, and we were gonna go on a trip together, and it was it's the anniversary, it was like the first anniversary of my father's passing. And then I kind of got stuck with her, in Florida. And I will say there was, you know? Okay, be careful how you say this. Like I kinda love when shit falls off the rails. Like I have a thing where like, I feel like what holds reality together is so tenuous, always, and kind of like, it's like life is like this show that we all are agreeing to be inside of, and like we're all in this like structured improvisation. And I know that it could kind of come undone so easily, and there's a part of the undoneness that fascinates me. And when things kind of, when things just kind of detach from the normative, like in the initial instance of that, I actually find a lot of pleasure. And so it wasn't like I was happy that this was what was happening. I don't mean it sounded like that. But there was something about the fact that things were just kind of like, that I was like, yeah. And this, by the way, is always true. Like, you know, there was a part for me that felt really like a confirmation of like, this has always been there for me.
MG: Like this is just simmering all the time, you know? And I think this idea that like, you know, people are like, "Let's get back normal," and all those ideas. I'm just like, I just don't even like, normal is just a weird, silly agreement that we make to not really talk about anything real. And I just don't, so I don't know. It just felt like those initial weeks, like, you know, like I always love, I mean, I love watching apocalypse TV shows, and apocalypse, and zombie… Like, I love that shit. And I don't want, I don't like when they get to like the normal part of the story, like, and then things stabilized. I'm like, no, no, no, I wanna just like, I'm into the chaotic part. Like I just am really like okay with the chaos. I don't know why.
LB: Yeah, it was like, it was real. I mean, it's still real, but there's so much, like you're saying, like there's so much apparatus to like the structured improv part of it that it's easy to like lull. If you're not like directly involved in something, it's easy to kind of like lull yourself into thinking that it doesn't involve you.
LB: Even though like everything that's happening involves all of us.
LB: And then especially like with TV, all the streaming channels, and like social media, like all these layers of mediation too, I think it's like really easy for us to have this sort of like half real experience.
MG: Yeah, it didn't...
LB: I felt that too, that like peeling off that was like, oh, like, yeah.
MG: It's always been held together with like twine, you know? And it was like, the pandemic wasn't an imposition of something. The pandemic was fully like a peeling. It's like you're saying, you know? Like it was like a revealing. So... yeah. Which I guess I also appreciate when things are revealed. Let's just put it that way. You know, I don't appreciate the cost that it came at, I don't think that's just at all in any way, shape or form. Do not get it twisted, like I don't think it's right, but I think it's real.
MG: But, wow! Well, heavy.
SF: I'm like, I keep going on and off camera, just like, wow. I'm so in this with y'all. I just, I really wanna extend my biggest gratitude for having such like a radically honest, like fun, hilarious, goofy, wild conversation with everyone here in the Instagram Live world. And yeah, this is gonna be archived for anyone who wants to go back and listen. And yeah, I just really wanna send my biggest thanks to you, Lex and Miguel. Thank you for being here.
MG: Thanks, Sienna.
LB: Yeah, thank you so much for bringing us together. I hope Miguel, that we can come together in real life, in pods. A special pod episode.
MG: I have some thoughts, just so you know.
SF: Looking forward.
MG: Okay, all right. Bye.
LB: Thanks everybody for watching. Let out a primal scream.
MG: Yep, for three hours.