is it worth it?
The dominant capitalist narrative tells us that time equals money. If our culture believes that time is a quantifiable resource that can hold monetary value then it is possible that we also have a cultural tendency to equate our own sense of social worth (lovability) with the time we spend laboring for profit and therefore the amount of money that we have. If this is true, our individual sense of self worth can be considered a product of time spent and money earned. Time, as a social construct, is a resource that can be exploited for capital gain. Time is therefore a desirable commodity which can be exchanged for social value or “love”.
I made this piece because I think that it is important for people to know what the motivations are behind the things that they are doing. I especially think that if we are to talk about love as our highest value that it is important to do the work of questioning what that word really means within the context that we exist. This project explored cultural perceptions of the word “love” in its various manifestations in the ways that it affects our choices about the way we live, act and construct belief systems around value.
In pursuing this research I decided that taking the time to meet with my friends every Sunday for two hours to talk about the meaning of love was an act of performance which resisted the commodification of our bodies by commercial forces. Part of this process was an attempt to find our own definitions of the word “love” amidst the cacophony of external messages which infiltrate our daily lived experience. By generating a diversity of physical definitions of the word “love” we hoped to find a source of resistance against the commodification of our bodies by external power systems that would govern our behavior.
The year long process was an experiment in integrating somatic and performance practice to generate a repertory of experiences into which we could invite an audience. The somatic aspects included bodywork, sensory deprivation, visualization and other body based techniques. Performance practices included Grotowski movement theater techniques, viewpoints-based training and authentic movement. I asked performers to generate one “profitable movement” or movement that makes you money, and one “habitual love” movement, or gesture which one finds themselves performing habitually within intimate or romantic settings. By juxtaposing these two categories of movement and putting them on “conveyer belts” of repetition we were forced to wrestle with questions of presence and authenticity on stage while performing automated gestures.
Throughout the process and performance we moved along polarities of habit and spontaneity, power and vulnerability, physical material and imagination as they are expressed through the body. I learned about being simultaneously a choreographer, writer, somatic facilitator and organizer. It was a challenge which brought me repeated back to questions of surrender, control, leadership and the creative process.