NAVA WAXMAN: VARIATIONS ON BROKEN LINES
Gales Gallery - York University, 2020
Variations On Broken Lines is a site-specific multimedia installation comprising screendance work, multi-channel projection, sound, moving image sculpture, and objects. This project is culminating two years of practice-based research during my MFA Graduate studies at York University. A series of Screendance works are projected into a continuous dance. Each screendance with different movement and temporality qualities, are projected simultaneously onto and across multiple surfaces, rendering moving forms, light, and gestures fleeting, ephemeral. The screendance works projecting through a holographic panel hanging from the ceiling at the center of the gallery. The projection appears and penetrates simultaneously through the holographic surface, rendering imagery that briefly travels and dissolves on the gallery walls and objects. On the opposite corner of the gallery is a four-minute-long, looped, moving-image sculpture titled Möbius, composed of black plastic, a monitor, and a mirror.
The installation is informed by my MFA graduate research that examined notions of liminality, constituted within creative practice methods, embodied experiences, and processes of identity reconstruction. Drawing from performance studies, visual arts, anthropology, and ethnography, I examined historical, methodological, and conceptual approaches to consider intermediate phases of gesture. Reflecting on liminality, I first examined classical models by anthropologists Arnold Van Gennep and Victor Turner. Then, to establish this concept in the context of embodied creative practices, I unfolded how the liminal reveals itself in feminist theories and models, such as the concept of paradoxical space by the feminist geographer Gillian Rose, and the Mobiùs metaphor by the feminist philosopher Elizabeth Grosz . In recognizing myself as a liminal subject, I contemplated gestures by affirming a relationship with liminal subjectivity, a state of being where the borders of past and present identities continuously shift back and forth; changing, replacing and relocating, constructing and reconstructing memories, the body, time, space and place. I proposed the idea of archival returns, revisiting the historical archives of several Jewish female artists and choreographers from the 1930s-1970s. Because they embodied fluidity, traversing personal and sociocultural space, I was inspired to revitalize their work by enlivening traces of their embodied knowledge—otherwise frozen in archives, erased or never documented. Thus, I theorized various creative practices to return to the transformative, lived temporality of gesture through the reconstruction and reenactment of historical and personal archives. I was also interested in how dance writes on and through the body, how dance has been translated on-screen, and how historical documentation can function as forms of inscription.
This project has been generously funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research of Canada.
Special thanks to my supervisory committee, Suzy Lake, Professor Yvonne Singer, and Professor Yam Lau for their guidance and support.
Rose, Gillian. Feminism and Geography: the Limits of Geographical Knowledge. University of Minnesota Press (1993).
Grosz, Elizabeth. Volatile Bodies: toward a Corporeal Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press (1994).
Ness, Sally Ann. “The Inscription of Gesture: Inward Migrations in Dance.” In Migrations of Gesture. Nolan, Carrie, and Ness, Sally Ann (Eds.). University of Minnesota Press (2008): xviii.
Rosenberg, Douglas. “Mediated Bodies: From Photography to Cine-Dance.” In Screendance: Inscribing the Ephemeral Image. Oxford University Press (2012): 276-277.