In Unison, 2018 - ongoing
Growing up in hills of Clarksville, Tennessee, clogging was a part of my grandmother's white, southern identity. So, when my dance school in southeast Alabama started offering classes, she encouraged my sisters and I to take lessons. Clogging is a percussive American folk dance – a cultural assimilation born out of the collision of several newly integrated cultures. Clogging combines the Jig brought to Appalachia by English, Irish, and German immigrants, Buck-dancing introduced to the American south by enslave Africans, and the Cherokee Indian stomp introduced by Native Americans who escaping the Trail of Tears hid themselves in the hills of Appalachia. Once considered a hillbilly porch tradition, contemporary clogging has evolved over time and today is quite different from its original form, having all but lost its deeply multi-cultural history.
In Unison continues my generative research and collaboration with my family including Flat Granny, a life-size photographic costume of my deceased grandmother, this time worn on my back. In Unison was a series of six roving, pop-up performance that conjoined my body with my late grandmother's photographic body in a topsy-turvy doll of sorts; one that looks both back to the white-washed histories told of our past and forward to the truth that this project is uncovering – that the Deep South is deeply multicultural. Combining photography, costume design, storytelling, and live performance, In Unison explores questions of ownership, cultural narrative, and the power of storytelling. In Unison, with its accompanying stop motion film, challenges the historic form of the still photograph while attempting to peel back the layers of inherited cultural subjectivity to expose the global influences on culture in the Deep South.
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