Emma Draves has had “Listen” in development since selected by the committee for the High Concept Lab’s 2017 Sponsored Artist program, working with longtime collaborator Andy Slavin. One clear goal of the work has been to queer the working definitions of public space, to challenge the imposition of narratives for operation within those spaces, and to interrogate the underlying utility of such narratives. “I wanted to create a work organized around a loose narrative of spaces—those we are expected to participate in but are not particularly welcome into. Both I and my collaborator, Andy Slavin, have experienced this in different ways. Our personal stories are subtext for creating movement material and weaving a work which manifests from corporeality,” explains Draves, for whom the process of collaboration has had a distinct influence on the manner in which that corporeality has manifested itself. Slavin, she says, “has been a strong support throughout the process; and we are viewing the work through critical feminist and queer lenses.”
For Draves, it dictates working with a sense of immediacy, participating in the way binaries operate to dictate the movement of bodies through public space, and the magnetic forces of personal choice that she uses to navigate outside of them. “I am sitting more in the body, molding a kinesthetic narrative from a collision of my experiences as a modern and Bharatanatyam dancer, as a working artist-educator-mother,” says Draves, for whom those situations are immediate, and anchored in an experiential present, one laden with the collective directions she’s chosen to take both in her personal life, work and in the aforementioned public. That immediacy requires attention, and reflection; listening. “I think, most importantly for myself, I am working to be anchored in the now. I am working less on ‘achieving’ and more on ‘doing,’ ‘being,’ ‘creating,’ not on ‘accomplishing.’ For this reason, I don’t have an answer for where I see my work going in the future. Right now, I don’t have a good sense of what ‘future’ is, I can only sense the immediacy of ‘now.’”
At High Concept Labs, 2233 South Throop, (312)429-0257. January 14, 4-6pm. $10 suggested donation.