Join Art + Practice for a conversation between multidisciplinary artists and educators Taisha Paggett and Ashley Hunt. Paggett and Hunt will discuss their individual projects as well as their ongoing collaboration entitled, On Movement, Thought and Politics. Paggett and Hunt will address how they use performance, performance documentation and the body to engage in social movements.
Taisha Paggett is a Southern California-based dance artist whose individual and collaborative interdisciplinary works re-articulate and collides specific western choreographic practices with the politics of daily life to interrogate fixed notions of queer black embodiment and survival. Such works include the dance company project, WXPT (we are the paper, we are the trees) and the School for the Movement of the Technicolor People, both of which seek to radicalize questions held within contemporary dance by way of intersecting with social practice; radical pedagogy; somatic and contemplative investigations; queer, feminist and Black studies; performance and visual art; and the political and philosophical meshes of personal history. Paggett’s work has been supported by the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts; Clockshop; the MAP Fund (in conjunction with Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions); the National Performance Network; Diverseworks in Houston; and Danspace Project in New York, amongst other institutions. From 2005-2013, Paggett co-instigated the LA-based dance project and discursive platform, itch, and was featured in Velvetpark magazine’s most significant queer women of 2014 list. As a dancer, Paggett has worked collaboratively, toured with and made significant creative contributions to many choreographers and performance projects including that of Every House Has a Door, David Roussève/REALITY, Victoria Marks, Kelly Nipper, Meg Wolfe, and Yael Davids, with whom she recently performed for Documenta 14. Since 2009 Paggett has maintained an ongoing collaborative practice with Ashley Hunt titled On movement, thought and politics. She is currently an assistant professor of Dance at UC Riverside.
Ashley Hunt uses images, objects, writing, and performance to engage social ideas and actions, including those of social movements, daily life, movement and 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 career to documenting the expansion of the U.S. prison system, as it expresses and continues the U.S.’ racial and economic histories. His current project, Degrees of Visibility, examines this through landscape studies, studying the everyday camouflage of contemporary prisons from public view as a visual politics that enables today’s mass imprisonment. This follows his 16-year Corrections Documentary Project, a body of ten videos, photographic works and mappings addressing the politics of prison expansion and the work communities do to resist it. Hunt’s ongoing collaboration with Taisha Paggett takes up some of these same questions and others through the body, movement, performance, and pedagogy, with their Par Course series and their collaborative work on the School of the Movement of the Technicolor People, with Kim Zumpfe and the dance company, WXPT. Hunt’s works have been presented in venues ranging from Wonderroot Community Art Center in Atlanta, the Eric Quizada Center for Art and Politics in San Francisco, to Los Angeles’ LACE the Hammer Museums’ 2012 Made in L.A., Project Row Houses and Diverseworks in Houston, Beta Local in Puerto Rico, the Blackwood Gallery in Toronto, to the Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Modern and Documenta 12, to grassroots community centers, prisons, bookstores, spaces of worship and activist forums throughout the U.S. and abroad. Hunt’s recent writing has appeared in the LA Review of Books, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice (2017), Public Servants: Art and the Crisis of the Common Good (MIT Press 2016), Social Medium: Artists Writing: 2000-2015, (Paper Monument 2016), X-TRA Contemporary Art Quarterly (2014), Shifter Magazine #20 (2013). Hunt directs the Program in Photography and Media at CalArts.