If the philosopher has an analogue in the theatre, perhaps it is not with the performer, the one who shows, but with the stage-hand, the one who sets the stage. This is not, as some might argue, because the stage-hand has some special access to what is behind-the-scenes, or because she knows that what is on-stage is only illusion. The stage-hand’s work is not hidden. It is exactly the opposite: the work is there for all to see. It is because it is there that all can see. It is the work that makes the seeing possible.
Theron Schmidt, Philosopher as Stage-Hand
My earliest memory is one of loss—my father holds me over the side of a Korean boat to pee as we escape Vietnam after the fall of Saigon. I create containers that are objects and objects that are containers to better hold and see a world that is in flux. An awareness of the disparity between perceiving the material world as a subject and embodying it as a connected thing among other things in a complex system of moving parts and fluctuating boundaries continues to drive my creative and contemplative practice.
I choreograph thought experiments, play apparatuses, obstacle courses, vision quests, and transformation rituals as alternative modes of speculation to representationalist and essentialist discourses of reality. Situations for encounters between objects, environments, movement, and duration consider philosophical questions about reality and representation, becoming, memory, consciousness, communication, intimacy, and relations. My practice is an entanglement of philosophy and performance—thought arises from, with, and through the material practice of movement. Movement takes shape through live performance, video, participatory events, installations, and games. There is a poetics to how I approach philosophy and performance—rather than merely considering what something is, I’m wondering what else it can be. An assemblage of skin is also a map is also a collection of performing objects.
The magic circle of a game or a set of instructions becomes a site to complicate binary constructions of subject and object, self and other, truth and fiction, organism and environment. My work employs humor, play, and elements of theater, often conflating and confusing constructed roles of audience and performer, observer and observed.