TAISHA PAGGETT WITH ASHLEY HUNT, KIM ZUMPFE + WXPT
taisha paggett is a Los Angeles-based queer Black artist whose individual and collaborative works for the stage, gallery and public space take up questions of the body, agency, and the phenomenology of race. paggett’s work seeks to de-center and reframe Western choreographic conventions and the ways in which bodies and spaces become normalized in both dance practices and the actions of daily life, by colliding them with social, political, cultural, and emotional metaphors and meanings. paggett’s work interrogates fixed notions and representations of Black and queer bodies through the construction of idiosyncratic structures and scores in which those subjects may also become agents. paggett’s work has been presented at Danspace (New York), Defibrillator (Chicago), Commonwealth & Council (Los Angeles), LACE (Los Angeles), the Whitney Museum (NYC), the Doris McCarthy Gallery (Toronto), The Studio Museum in Harlem, and is also upcoming at Diverseworks (Houston), amongst other sites. As a dancer, paggett currently works with Every House Has a Door, Meg Wolfe and with Ashley Hunt through their ongoing collaborative project, On movement, thought and politics. Project support has come through the generosity of programs including Choreographers in Mentorship Exchange (CHIME), University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA), the Headlands, National Performance Network (NPN), and the Multi-Arts Production Fund (MAP) in conjunction with LACE, amongst others. paggett was a co-instigator of the LA-based dance journal project and discursive platform, itch, and currently teaches in the Dance department at UC Riverside.
Ashley Hunt is an interdisciplinary artist who uses photography, moving image, performance, map-making and writing in projects that engage social movements, the exercise of political power, and the disciplinary boundaries that separate our art worlds from the larger worlds in which they sit. Hunt has dedicated the bulk of his art-making life to documenting the expansion of the U.S. prison system and its effects on communities, as one way to address structures that allow people to accumulate power, and those which keep others from getting it, while learning from the ways people come to know, contribute to or resist these structures. Rather than seeing art and activism as two exclusive spheres of practice, he approaches them as mutual and complimentary — drawing upon the ideas and aesthetics of social movements, cultural theory and art alike, the theorizing and practices of each informing the other. Hunt’s works have been exhibited in venues ranging from the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Modern, Documenta 12, the Hammer Museum in LA, Project Row Houses in Houston, to grassroots community centers, prisons, and multiple activist and organizing efforts. Hunt is the Co-director of the Program in Photography and Media at CalArts and is on the Visual Art faculty of Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Kim Zumpfe is an artist and educator who lives and works in Los Angeles. She works in various media including objects, images, video, performance, installation, and collaborative structures that imitate and shape experience. She is engaged with relationships between the ideological body and subjectivity in locations where multiple bodies develop, produce, displace, and forget to maintain boundaries and relations. Within this context, she investigates where borders within form disperse – in psychic space, the body, and politicized space, as a way to interrogate encounters where there is an imminent collapse of identity, intimacy, and power structures. Her work has been exhibited at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), Culver Center for the Arts Riverside, Visual Arts Center Fullerton, University Art Gallery Irvine, University Art Museum Long Beach, and several public and online sites. She is a member of Emily O, a free-floating artist collective that questions the relationship between individual and collective processes and identity through organizing exhibitions.
WXPT (We are the Paper, We are the Trees) is a temporary, experimental dance company and community of queer people of color and allies, dancers and non-dancers alike. WXPT was conceived by paggett in early 2015 to expand upon the language and methods of Western modern and contemporary dance practices, to shift the ways dancers of color are positioned within the contemporary field, and to explore questions of queer desire, responsibility, protest, embodiment, radical pedagogy and the historical materials that inhabit our cultural imagination. The company currently consists of Joy Angela Anderson, Heyward Bracey, Rebecca Bruno, Erin Christovale, Loren Fenton, Maria Garcia, Kloii “Hummingbird” Hollis, Meena Murugesan, Sebastian Peters-Lazaro, Kristianne Salcines, Ché Ture, Devika Wickremesinghe and Suné Woods. Considered a constantly growing terrain, the company will expand in numbers to include individuals from the Houston and Austin area.
- THE SCHOOL FOR THE MOVEMENT OF THE TECHNICOLOR PEOPLE (Fusebox 2016)