In Relation Roundtable: Couple Forms

What does it mean to be “in relation” to oneself, to each other, and to the space in which we live and work? Under the divisive and alienating conditions of today, how does the relational act as a tool for imaging the imprints we leave and the linkages we build on and with one another? Touching on a wide range of arts and performance practices, this three-part roundtable will explore the idea of relationality and the notion of being “in relation” as both a theme and methodology for mapping, planning and reimagining both history and the historical present.

The relational is irreducible to the notion of a relationship. And yet, when we think about being in relation, we already have certain familiar, even institutionalized, forms for what that might mean. Our second session begins with one of the most seemingly self-evident forms, the couple, in order to think expansively about the way bodies take up and share space together? How have the notions of public and private intimacy transformed the politics of being together? In what ways might we need to rethink the structured relationship between one body and another?

This roundtable immediately follows Gerard & Kelly: CLOCKWORK performance.

Joshua Lubin-Levy is a writer, dance dramaturg, and curator. Completing his PhD in the department of Performance Studies at New York University, his dissertation is centered on the life and work of Jack Smith, bringing together his interest in queer aesthetics and performance as critical practice. He is a graduate of the Whitney Independent Study Program and currently a Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art. For the past year he has been a Visiting Assistant Instructor in Theater and Performance at Bard College and this summer will join the faculty of the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University.

Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly have collaborated as Gerard & Kelly since 2003. Their installations and performances use choreography, video, and sculpture to address questions of sexuality, memory, and the formation of queer consciousness. Recent exhibitions and performances of their work have been presented by the Guggenheim Museum, New Museum, and The Kitchen (New York); Festival d’Automne, Palais de Tokyo, and Centre Pompidou (Paris); Chicago Architecture Biennial; and the Made in LA Biennial at the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles).

Gerard & Kelly completed the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in 2010, and received their MFAs from the University of California, Los Angeles Department of Art in 2013.
Gerard & Kelly are the recipients of a 2014 Juried Award from the New York Dance and Performance Awards, also known as the Bessies, and grants from Art Matters, New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, and the Graham Foundation.

Olivia Michiko Gagnon is a PhD candidate in Performance Studies at New York University. Her dissertation, “Archival Entanglements: Re/Encountering History in Contemporary Feminist, Queer, and Decolonial Art & Performance,” explores how the archive is taken up in contemporary feminist, queer, and decolonial art and performance in ways that enact modes of feeling historical and historical feeling predicated upon entanglement. Her writing has appeared or will appear in “Women & Performance,” where she is co-editing a special issue of co-authored articles about the capaciousness of couple forms with James McMaster. She is also Managing Editor of HemiPress at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics.

James McMaster is a PhD candidate in Performance Studies at New York University. His dissertation, “Minor Respite: Queer Care and Asian American Performance,” positions the pursuit of respite as a dominant paradigm of political performativity in twenty-first century Asian America by demonstrating how multiple-marginalized Asian Americans have endured the attrition of their abjection through quotidian and aesthetic performances of care calibrated to the specificities of race, gender, sexuality, and ability. James has previously worked as the Managing Editor for “TDR: The Drama Review” and is currently the Book Reviews Editor at “Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory,” where he has also published and where he is co-editing a special issue of co-authored articles about the capaciousness of couple forms with Olivia Michiko Gagnon. At present, James serves as the Co-Political Chair of GAPIMNY, a New York City-based organization dedicated to empowering queer and trans Asian Pacific Islander communities.

Image caption: Gerard & Kelly, Schindler/Glass, 2017. HD video on two channels with sound, 35 minutes. Video still.