Visiting Artist | September 8 - 20, 2019
Will Rawls came to MANCC for the first time to further the development of [siccer]. Building from the editorial term for a misspelled word, "[sic]", [siccer] is a dance and film project challenging widespread citation and misrepresentation of black bodies. An interdisciplinary artist, Rawls uses [siccer] to consider the history of images surrounding black bodies, the narrow avenues of expression that exist for black people in the media, and the relation of photography to black bodies. Simultaneously, he questions the ways in which movement disintegrates images to create time-based experiences. Exploring the restlessness of gesture and language as strategies of black performance, [siccer] cultivates elusiveness and abstraction to resist the "racial gristmill" of mass media.
The film portion of [siccer] uses stop-motion film, which is a collection of moving images that are animated to create movement without sound. In this collection of moving images, Rawls questions the labor of being a body inside of a photograph, ultimately using this film as a metaphor for mass media.
Following an intensive film-making residency in Los Angeles, Rawls and his collaborative team focused their time at MANCC on development of the movement and language portions of the work. As part of MANCC’s Embedded Writers Initiative, Kemi Adeyemi joined the residency. Adeyemi is Assistant Professor of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington and leads the Black Embodiments Studio, an arts writing incubator and public lecture series rooted in expansive and dynamic investigations of blackness in contemporary art. Upon completion of the project, Adeyemi and Rawls plan to create a literary publication that they describe as “writing alongside the project,” under the working title Sensitivity Training.
During their collaborative time at MANCC, Rawls, Adeyemi, and four additional dance artists from across the country worked to understand how movement of the voice can undo fixity and meaning. Rawls used scores that involve loud camera shutter clicks as a means, in part, to invoke the idea of documentation and labor. They shared their ongoing research during an informal showing in the School of Dance, which included both live movement and stop motion film. Rawls also had the opportunity to meet with Professor Ravi Howard who teaches in the English Department at FSU in the areas of creative writing, fiction, creative nonfiction, and African-American narratives. The two discussed the topic of regional blackness, the role of gesture, and the overlaps in generating embodied material versus that which lives in language.
[siccer] will premiere in 2021 at The Kitchen in NYC.
Support for Adeyemi’s time at MANCC was provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.