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intermedia spacemaking

December 20, 2017

Each autumn I have the delight of teaching Intermedia to dance students in ACCAD's Motion Lab with my creative and life partner Oded Huberman.

Each week we create three hour workshops where we delve into the liberatory genre-bending, attention deepening spaces of intermedia and build a creative community that fosters research through play, risk taking and personal responsibility. And each week the students are also given time in the Lab to work with each other and mentors to develop projects exploring deep integration of moving body and moving image and the issues of power, attention, identity, authorial control, audience engagement, sensation, visual integration and movement qualities and multiple media. 


Every year the students grow and change in ways that stun and delight. I resist easy definitions of Intermedia instead asking the students to assemble their own over our time together and for their finals project they write and perform an "intermedia is..." statement. Hearing these is one of the best gifts of the year and then as the workshops end I receive the blog posts the students write and find hope in the richly complex thinking and action, loving inclusion and creative connections they evidence. In these difficult times, it feels like an act of resistance to teach this way and I'm grateful for the opportunity. This is a sampling:















 And this year we also got two poems that I can't resist sharing. The first is from Bita, a graduate Dance MFA student and the second from Mason, a junior dance BFA student.

Bita writes:

There is a room
But it’s not a usual room
It transforms
and you

There is a room
But it’s not a usual room
You hear things you haven’t heard before
and see things you haven’t seen before
and feel things you haven’t felt before
and do things you haven’t done before

There is a room
but it’s not a usual room
Some things are unfamiliar and strange
like a dream
like seeing through
a kaleidoscope
like staring at
a cubist painting

There is a room
But it’s not a usual room
You hear things you have heard before
and see things you have seen before
and feel things you have felt before
and do things you have done before

There is a room
but it’s not a usual room
because you have been there before
it all feels real
Because you are there
in the moment

In this room
the unusual room
you can
and be



And Mason writes:

Intermedia is fun. 
Intermedia is cool. 
It’s recess, but digital!

The best part of school! 

Intermedia is beauty, 
Intermedia is grace,
Intermedia makes me
Question time and my place. 

Intermedia is a long
Three hour lab on a Monday,
It’s something I look forward to
When I go to bed every Sunday. 
Intermedia’s confusing
It’s really been quite a trip
Half of the time I don’t know what to say
So I stand there and bite on my lip. 

Intermedia is silly 
And not what I had expected 
I wonder what my grade would be like 
If we were to ever get tested.

This isn’t to say
That the class isn’t rad
In fact it’s one of the
Best that I’ve had!

I’ve learned and I’ve grown,
And expanded myself
Thanks to my peers
And all of their help.

To Norah, and Oded
And Lexi, too,
All I can say is…

Finally, this year we took the time to deepen into issues of race, gender, identity, power and the unofficial white male intermedia canon and to do something about it by gathering a ton of new and frankly better references for future students. I found these conversations so important and will never teach intermedia again without going there and if you want to see some of what we found check out my Intermedia youtube channel, the great work happening at MANCC and this website that we all loved: https://www.intermediaarts.org/artists. Another student, Kat writes,: ""closing the entire semester with attention to identity and bringing an equal attention to makers and movers with diverse voices capped my learning beautifully..."


Mine too Kat! And I echo Mason's thank you. Thank you to all the current and past students who make up the intermedia microtribe and others out there making spaces.

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