All posts by jaldape

I'm Still Here

Just as Joaquin Phoenix took some time away from the acting world some years back, I also took a break from this blog the last couple of months to focus on research in Mexico and being in the US. I am now back in UK writing and analyzing the process. Here is a glimpse of some of the investigatory methods for the development of the production "Los Tres Peligros". But don't worry, I did not grow a grizzly beard??? which on second thought, I should have!??

These are pictures taken, by me, of the process. Carol Borja, amazing photographer/artist, came out to document the actual performances; Those pics will be up soon.??


#Unlisted Development D??a Dos

Six bodies enter the vacant enclosed space. Adjoining residencies from four directions, the patio waits patiently for company.??The durable, concrete surface contrasts the fleeting and temporary social interactions of the building's inhabitants.??We begin to interact with it and not with each other. Window curtains close sporadically, clothes hangers are rolled in so that clothes are collected and??cigarro??smoke becomes visible from a voyeur resident. Beginning to explore the space, I climb stairs to perch on the windows. Making paper airplanes from found cigaret boxes, I observe my counterpart bodies walking on cement cracks and slapping the walls rhythmically. I take a sip of voda ( water) and then pour it on the clear plastic wrap that once encased the cigaret box. Two stories above a green door covering, I reach my left hand and pour the small amount of water in the translucent encasing on the fiberglass safeguard that keeps the first steps into one of the stair cases dry.??Closing my ears to see the action below me muted, my breathing becomes pronounced. My lungs heave as the bodies activate the space. I contemplate their- no, our intrusion in the space. I descend the stairs and take note of the sounds my tennis shoes produce.??

I slowly test the relation of body to body and body to space. Reacting to the other bodies in space, I move opposite to where they move. I follow passing bodies coming through the courtyard. Following the direction of their temporary trajectory, I mimic their walk. At times, I fall immediately to the floor to abruptly break the immaterial ligature between the two of us.??

I create sounds with fixed objects in space. Lifting and dropping a broken brick I listen for the moment of impact. Raising the drain guard in the center of the patio, I peek inside the insignificant exit tunnel. Sliding its heavy covering across the??concrete produces a jarring reverberation. Dragging the cover twice, I return it to its rightful position. I then position my forearms in preparation for a headstand. Paralleling the standing bottle, from which I also poured water into the drain, my legs stay up right. Blood rushes to my head. I compete against gravity, just the like building. Upon close inspection of the floor, in my upside down position, remnants from our clandestine midnight gathering slowly come into focus.??

Belgrade #Unlisted D??a Uno

Magically we make our way through shadows and late-night mysterious corners to unearth that damn post-Yugoslav spirit. "Molim, molim??? ne ma problema!" I shout. Descending through streets, thirsty for exploration, we stumble across late-night crows who??evade??identification. We become sleuths defining untraceable laughs and snooping Belgrade guards. Imprinting snap shots of layering capitalist shopping malls, I rest on a gritty floor from where, in the corner of my eye, Colin slithers on brick walls whose cemented dream falls from mortar gray, oh how gray, disappearing pasts. I whisper romantically to the ground. You are angelic and decrepit beloved Kosovska. You hide from us your interior. Fortified by walls of voyeur, nervous eyes, whose sight tries to distinguish our intruding bodies, you make impressions of a phantasm sitting on the concrete footsteps.??


Soundscore Dev on Saturday: Sound and Memory


"Earl Shorris describes a Mexico as aplace always at a cross-roads. While I cant generalize, looking at my local context, I can ascertain that young and old people alike, are constantly listening – no, blaring nostalgia-indusing rhythms. The most efficacious at producing these feelings are cumbia and corridos. Music is an integral aspect of La Estacion. Cellphones ??with built in speakers are always on the highest decibel. A neighbor can almost always be heard singing along with yesteryear's radio hit. The dogs are voicetrous, yet docile. ??Megaphone-equipped trucks drive on dusty roads two-miles an hour so everyone can hear, " Traemos toda la calidad???La Michoacana. La paleteria de la familia." Additionally on Saturday mornings, the rural scene, is bombarded with SoniGas jingles. They wake the late sleepers.??

Sound and memory go hand in hand in this colonia. Auditory inflections reverberate, producing a visceral sonicscape. All sound, at maximum, almost always, except when there is silence during mid-day siestas." -Current research.

Narrowing the scope and stabilizing ideas.


"I have generated some ideas about what to do, but??because I am working in a rural open-field, the idea of developing
movement exercises does not make sense. All that I come up with is??that somehow "aestheticising" the interviews seem illogical and
unnecessary. I am navigating that treacherous road where I truly??tackle, both conceptually and in practice, what is the "choreographic"
in the migrations of these individuals and in my artistic practice." -Investigatory correspondance.??


"An example of where embodiment and cognition is evident. His ability to reference visually, by using imagery, a very physical experience…" -Excerpt from investigatory journal entry.??


Proto-Americana. Aguila contra Aguila


July 10 was a whirl wind! After finding out that our permanent residency was approved, Melissa and I hurriedly figured out how to get a coordinated effort so I can visit family in Chicago and Salt Lake. After hounding around online for last minute deals, I got a ticket from BJX to CJS. From here I took a taxi to international port of entry office where I will have my documents sealed and approved for permanent residence. I made my way to El Paso international airport. From here I had a 18:30 flight to Chicago (Midway) via Southwest airlines. It felt strange to be able to consider that I was, once again, able to cross La Frontera De Crystal


I sat at the Houston ( pronounced House-ton, take that Texas!) airport reflecting on the previous twenty-four hours. It all happened too fast, but certainly not furious. Which was a good thing. Sitting down, my mind lapse considering the fact that I was in that English speaking Golden Cage. The passerby voices seemed awkward, strange… foreign; certainly compared to English-English. I had grown accustomed to the Brummies and Geordies! Now, to my surprise I waited to board a plane headed North from Mexico. I wad not expected this to happen for some time. My mind juggled reality with illusion. One negating the other. What is more, my feet and head felt dismembered. They were wear bearing Mexican adornments. Boots made they way unto my feet. Cowboy hat climbed unto me head. All of it was Duranguense style. The scenario would had been more ridiculous had I purchased the botas exoticas that I saw at El Mercado Aldama. Laughing, I contemplated the looks as I walked into El Paso taking giant pasos with three-feet long boots. 


An entire week went by since my readmission into the US. It was still a puzzle to me as to how I was there, in that still idealized land of Silicon Valleys and Escalante backcountry trails. All directions point to complete wonderment. I had my interview, received notice that it was approved  and was instructed to pick-up my visa, ALL within ONE month. After spending a week with Melissa’s family, I arrived to SLC airport wearing iconic Mexi-wear: mustache, boots and cowboy hat! Now, my bags in tow I sat at passenger pick up number four. I was initially at Terminal number two, however my bags were in terminal one. 


At first, the realization that I was in the US had not really struck me as something corporeally bizzare. However, the onset of freedom ” to move about the country” struck me at the point of departure of the Southwest flight from El Paso to Chicago. With every growing lift and g-force a tear descended down the tears of this immigrant son of immigrant parents. Threatening and thundering clouds were the only witnesses to the disappearance of years of tormented agony with a government whose legislation did not have room for the complexity of my life. Precipitating moister clustered on that window, thirty thousand feet above the air. Absorbing my endurance and perseverance. All the money spent to applications, fees, flights and early morning flakes for breakfast, existed in a distant body. Not mine, not anymore. That which haunted me day and night… while at school… playing football with my friends…considering the prospects of going to college… were dumped in that Ciudad Juarez hotel. An exoskeleton left crumpling. Upon leaving the Chicago airport, the song “Staying Alive” echoed in my head. I also thought about Bon Jovi. Yes, we are “Livin on a prayer.”   


I descended the passenger arrival staircase to spot Melissa searching the multitude of bodies at the baggage module. The escalator had reached its circuitous loop, I stopped on the ground floor. I scurried across strangers, attempting to hide just a biut longer from her. Giggling, my sombrero bobbed up and down jockeying for surprise point. She spotted me. Zig-zagged at lightening speed toward me. She hugged me. I hugged her back. Looking at my cowboy hat astonished, I too felt silly. Never before had I purchased such an adornment. It was fun! I felt confident. Liberating as it was. Regardless of the fact that I had read Sophie Nield’s analysis of the border as a performance and had used it for an argument or three in several conversations, I could not help but feel the very realness of that performance. It the border is a performance, then they deserve a standing ovation!  We kissed passionately. She was wearing her white-summer dress and grey “Greek” style sandals. She was irresistible. 


Recognizing that her family was waiting for us, we looked for my trusty yellow bag and made our way to the passenger pick up. Jill, Bob and Brooke received me with generous hugs and welcoming spirit. Bob even said jokingly, ” Welcome to America.” Being that parking is striclty regulated at airports, we wasted to time. The van’s door closed and we made our way to Grandma Davisson’s house in Wheaton, Illinois. The lateness of the night was conducive to quick welcomes and straight to bed behavior. 

The following morning, I awoke to celebratory atmosphere regarding my arrival. The Jerrys and Joe welcomed me
back. The mood was joyous. How could we not help but acknowledge the fact that I was going to be able to attend Katie’s wedding? We joked about the serendipitous nature of the whole scenario. Katy and Dan even saved a seat for me in the likely event of me being able to attend. Behold, I was there. 

Monday morning, the Styers and the Jerrys parted their separate ways. We arrived at Grandma Styer’s house in the late evening. That very evening I also heard a heart breaking story from Grandma Styer. She related how, days before his parting, Grandpa Styer shared that he was lonely. She went on to say that she felt overwhelmed with the responsibilities of the house. She was accustomed to having Grandpa Styer take care of all the responsibilities. even in his last days, she was comforted by his ability to tell her the agenda for the day. Now, she feels lonely.  She looked over at the window where he laid for days before his passing. I was hear broken. Without words. 

We spent from Monday to Wednesday at this Wisconsin resort. The family went for a ride up the peninsula. We stopped at several shops purchasing local goods. Another memorable activity was the cherry picking. 

Emerging, Traceable Ideas


The winds carries these elements from one idea to the next. I stand momentarily to consider the beginning of this project. The last several episodes of idea development have only led to introspection. I long for sitting under a mesquite tree, scratching my head to raise questions about developing practical exercises related to migration and movement. I toggle between encouraging possible participants between full blown “dance” movement and just facilitating participant gestures.  


“I am stuck consider the role that the shoes will play in the workshop. how will i be able to incorporate ideas about feet into a conversation about traveling? there is certainly a strong connection. i can talk about how we use shoes. we arrive places in shoes, but we often neglect to inspect them or consider how they regularly contribute our lives. even more, we stop thinking about what it was like being barefoot…”



Sifting further through a wasteland of ideas, I also come across USC’s Spatial Sciences Lab. They are dedicated to promoting spatial thinking. 



The ideas are starting to be plotted. I recognize them a atributes in my process, however, I have yet to really ‘fee’ the “connect-ness” between them. I use connecteness to highlight the type of palpable essence that is felt when one makes a connection. One of the most basic examples of this palpability the equation “2 + 2 = 4” It takes a level of experience to develop the knowledge of that this formula means. Nonetheless, once you know the process of this formulation, any time you see it, “it” makes sense. For my choreographic process, a similar formulation occurs. I usually begin with a “hunch”, a part part of the formula. The adding, or process of development then unfolds as I begin to position other (un)related elements together. The result is something recognizable that is its on encapsulated element, yet is interdependent on its preceding parts. 


Now I am at the crux; that unavoidable threshold of the creative process. 



I look for clarity in a muddled process, but only come up with mole and beautifully decorated plates.







Remnants of MoFo at the Leo.


Movement Forum took all of attendants of the Leo's Dance and Science Night to broken down and altered heights of time and exploration. But do not assume that I am talking "time" in the literal sense- they did not wear 1920's flapper dresses.??Amy Caron's algae installation served as the ideal backdrop for an exciting evening of pure time and movement. MoFo has over the past years refined dancer and company skills of their improvisations to provide a??unique??aesthetic and mode of engagement. Their work requires equal audience-collaborator dialogue; it moves beyond ordinary passive dance consumerism and alienating abstractions of thought throug movement. Japanese artist On Kawara's One Million Years would one day serve as a great complement to the production of this company's work. Almost as if??preceding??the slow food and other " downshifting" movements, MoFo takes the time to explain the process of creation while it is occurring. However, they don't assume that their audiences need knowing or to be educated about dance. They channel equal knowledge exchange. Not shying away from admitting to technical error or dancer misunderstandings, Movement Forum attempts to explain how dance works or doesn't work. Looking beyond, but not excluding dance symbolic-metaphor??relationships, their renderings are??associative??processes of movement components. Most importantly, they??emancipate the dance performance process. Jacques Ranci??re, theez guyz can haz??emancipation! Which is very appropriate, given the aim of The Leonardo. The Leo as an institution/museum would benefit from keeping these guys around, providing them with a movement lab and hold regular workshops!??





Impromptu Guest Collaborator with Movement Forum (aka MoFo)

The stunning Wasatch Mountains declare attention. Their sharp magnitude serve as backdrop to process-centric group, Movement Forum. This collective will be celebrating a decade of dedicated work to exposing “audiences to a unique process where artistic integrity is maintained while making split-second decisions.… The company utilizes contemporary and classical dance forms while tapping into the street-savvy energy behind current urban movement forms, to investigate improvisation as a powerful art form.” They are in-house dance residents at The Leonardo. “The Leonardo is a contemporary museum that explores the unexpected ways that science, technology, art, and creativity connect.” 


They have invited me to collaborate for an upcoming movement gallery as part of the Leo’s “Dance: The Art & Science” occuring on July 27. Be there! 


Find out more information about MoFo.

Sketching Ideas

June rain storms soften the soil and shoes are revealed everywhere. A city defined by shoes- San Pancho.??


I go on my regular bike-ride to take inventory of the land. I notice that a patch of open field is now more open than before. It has been cleared of shrubs.??


Taking time through out the to perform practical tasks helps orient my research to a type of??aestheticity??of functionality. Meaning, discovering how to unearth at what point physical labor ??becomes a performative act.??