Portrait of the Artist Taylor Knight as a Bristlecone Pine Tree
Interview with Taylor Knight over email about “VLX” — the ongoing project by slowdanger. Part of a series of interviews and responses about this work, created over email in April-May 2019 and published in June with my drawings and visual responses.
JM: How do you feel today?
TK: Today I feel like a bristlecone pine tree. Metallic and phosphorescent.
JM: Please share some thoughts on VLX/Empathy Machine.
TK: VLX holds a lot for me. I felt possessed by my character in the show. This being lives within a liminal space, torn between being controlled by an operating system (online) and they’re human identity (offline). As if they are flashing quickly in and out of these states. It’s like the Operating System that controls them glitches and malfunctions, allowing them to drop back into their organic consciousness, then out again. At times Generating a prison of the mind and body and other times a liberation from mind and body. This duality in quality feels like treading on the edge, that at any moment they could “fall off”. This was inspired by the idea of a post apocalyptic future where humans are enmeshed with technology so much that they have become hybrid/cyborg creatures. VLX process investigated many ‘states of being’. This range included prepper and Y2K paranoia, memory and past life flashback, empathy and more. The process and practice of visiting various states of being while remaining connected as a creative conduit was challenging. It allowed for a deeper investigation of rigor, risk, self, my inner voice and my breath as a connection to “reality”. This reminded me of the bristlecone pine tree. Rooted yet reaching, twisting and growing into many directions simultaneously. Unknowing of what’s to come, what’s left behind and how much time is there, or if time exists at all. VLX is a tree…an intergalactic vessel…a dream…a future…a past…a death…a birth.
This process allowed for me to bring practices I have developed in a solo and duet relationship with anna, to a quintet, shared practice. As a director, performer, sound designer and administrator, I was driven to build a new world with my collaborators. A world we could invite the witness into. A truly evocative performance landscape. VLX was an extremely dynamic flow and process. Moments of fear, anxiety, joy and excitement, swirling and intertwining. It was a truly magical process and I’m grateful to have shared it with such amazing people.