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.
There is a room But it’s not a usual room It transforms itself 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 explore sense feel investigate question play doubt and be uncomfortable curious imaginative physical thoughtful
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… THANK YOU!
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..."