My interview with Simon Phillips about their work with slowdanger on the ongoing work “Empathy Machine” (originally called VLX). Created over email in February and early March, 2019. I made ink drawings as my response to their thoughts and deeply thoughtful words.
Full Text Interview:
Portrait of the artist as a sap droplet.
Today I am feeling unusually chill, but I’m asking no questions. These grey skies and crisp cold air puts me in the best of moods. I’m sharing the calm vibe with whoever comes too close. I hope it sticks.
- I’ve been connecting to my sense of self-empathy through the work. Not just how I understand myself, but the process of connecting all parts of myself to promote understanding. Other people are enduring this too. We experience the potential stories or timelines of each other along with ourselves.
- Many times, I feel lost, which I’m completely okay with. Perhaps more okay with it than I should be, but… eh. I’m allowing answers to come to me.
- There’s this idea of being “offline” in the work. Being offline is a physiological state in which one becomes void of any effort. Although my system is “off” I feel notions of full body connectivity.
- In contrast, during an “online” state, I am searching, wondering, experiencing the fullness of the senses. With no goal in mind, I submit to the internal and external investigation.
- I feel so much happening within the work. There are moments where I control the disorder by placing hands on myself. Tangibility reminds me that all of this actually happening. Maybe touch is my love language for myself in this process.
- Despite it being a quintet, I feel so alone in the work. I see everyone, and they see me, yet I can help but feel isolated. Perhaps because I feel so removed from myself in the work.
- Maybe everyone feels this to some extent? Its like empathy is the space itself and we are navigating through it with our own rhythm.
- Still, with such individuality and separation, there are moments of intersection. Whether observing, moving together, or standing to support another, in that moment we become one system, essentially asking the same questions. We’re saying the same thing in our own tongue.
- The musical score feels other worldly. Embedded in the sound is an undeniable drive. It convinces me. I can converse with the score with full comprehension and still have no idea where I’m being lead.
- There’s something about the entire experience that absorbs and transforms my energy into something unfamiliar. Its like, I know whats happening, but any prior knowledge or understanding I thought I had keeps dripping out of my hands.
The environment we work together to create is like no where I have ever been. Its intimate, yet emotionless. Searching for items already attained. A connected chaos.