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Visitors witnessing cancel through a peephole at González’s NARS Foundation International Residency exhibition, NYC, 2018.
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Artist Statement: My practice is based in black study and a desire to occupy performance. i use performing as a vehicle to undo, reorient, and blur conceptions of subjectivity, whether as a black subject, or in any subject/object relation. i do this with the presence of an audience in mind. creative processes and works are fugitive practices, like strategic scaffoldings building upon each other. they fabulate against time to question ritual v. performance and they consider the presence of location for generating escape hatches from consumption. location might mean the performance site (and its history), the archive (and its limitations), or circumstances of contemporary life (and the Anthropocene). collaboration is always present as a desire and means for worlding these abstractions. collectively, the contours of these settings become figured and real, and negotiating these connections is how i think of the choreographic— as playfully untethered to the corporeal so to be somehow everywhere but nowhere.
—Jonathan González
In late November 2018, I witnessed a version of Jonathan González’s work cancel as part of Riff Talks_07: Tipping Utopia (a weekend of performances, talks, and workshops produced at the School for Contemporary Dance and Thought in Northampton, Massachusetts). The following day, I took a workshop led by Jonathan where we listened to the space and each other, practiced breathing as an arc between two deaths, looked at maps of Western Massachusetts from various authors and periods of history, and went on solo sound walks through the neighborhood, which we then transposed back into the studio space in simultaneous cacophony. In early February 2019, Jonathan returned to Northampton and the School for Contemporary Dance and Thought to perform as part of the HUT series (co-curated by Jake Meginsky and Jennifer Polins). I sat on the floor close to Jonathan and witnessed as they read text speaking of matrilineal ancestry and relationships from their cell phone. I sat transfixed, listening to the creak of Jonathan’s brown leather pants and boots as they oscillated thickly in and out of the floor, lights rising and fading all the while. My three brief encounters with Jonathan’s work caused me to lean in and want to be in dialogue. The following are traces from our subsequent email conversations.
—Meredith Bove, CQ Associate Editor