top of page

Editors Notes: 1. This application is part of an ongoing play at bringing the artistic process into my application-making so that the creative process becomes whole by embracing the application as part of and vital to the work, functioning as something of a utopian blueprint for the eventual performance. 2. More than a direct / explanatory application, I’m aiming to create something affective, something that inspires the feelings of confusion and questioning, the uncertainty and certainty present at the beginning of a creative process. To be lost is to be welcomed into the birthing stage, where nothing is quite sure and everything is possible, so if you feel a little lost, embrace it! 3. Whilst it is not entirely clear from the application, the role of the physical body in the performance (the what and how of the work) is something I’m personally interested in investigating in the space, at the time that it happens. However, I can make some predictions as to the potential content of the work and have linked two video references of previous short works to outline the potential performative content.

Trans Rites - Dans/5 Application: Text

Trans Rites - Dans/5 Application

You can go home again… …as long as you understand that home is a place where you have never been. - Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed

Trans Rites could one day be a new process performance by Oliver Sale, a genderqueer dance artist living between Fredrikstad and Oslo. The performance would be a group work for one dancer and an as-yet-to-be-determined number of witnesses, drawing on the tensions between transgender politics and the traditionally hegemonic roles of social rites, and would be activated and uncentered through the overlapping spaces of constant transition, performance as ritual, and unconventional scripture as performative tool.

Were it to exist, Trans Rites, would be a direct response to the situation and position of Dans/5, which itself exists as a semi-rite-of-passage for dance makers in Norway. As one of the few accessible platforms for young performance artists, and with a specific rejection of established / returning choreographers, Dans/5 naturally becomes a communal meeting point for the young milieu of Oslo to be welcomed by their peers into the field. The performance would respond to Dans/5’s reality by becoming an uncertain rite-of-passage for the dancer maker, who is both established and unestablished in the Norwegian context. 

In being a rite-of-passage, the work would be given a directionality, something to move into, a before and after temporality. It is the nature of rites-of-passage to delineate in their happenings a shift in social or personal place, traditionally one of becoming part of a/the group. In his essay on rites-of-passage, Brent Bell outlines three stages inherent to the rite; Separation (from a/the group) Transitions (from the old self to the new self), and Reincorporation (of the new self into a/the group). This form gives skeleton to the potential performative experience, one in which the performer moves from the audience into the space, performs / experiences the rite-of-passage, and then returns to the audience changed.

At the same time, the performance would be pulled by a trans rejection of the patriarchal and individualist ideas of personal transformation and directionality. Here the artist could define transness as a form of homecoming, where home is as Le Guin puts it, “a place you have never been”. In this way, the trans politics of the artist would reject a simple linear directionality in favour of a forward-moving return, something explicitly in tension with itself and therefore able to avoid any notions of finality in which the patriarchal rite might indulge. 

Indeed the performance might imagine itself as a utopian rite, in which the act of becoming is the act of unbecoming, so that the three stages of Bell’s rite become intertwined and continuous, made and dismantled by their own interrelationality. In this way, the central transformation / homecoming would be an embodied, socio-somatic experience where both the performer and the witnesses go through the rite-of-passage together. 

In the space, the work might reveal itself as a scored improvisation, and the working process could look like practicing and refining scores through repetition and witnessing, with a process of refinement through speculation and reflection. The primary documentation of the process could look like photography, zine making, writing, painting, or songmaking. 

Points of reference / inspiration:

Creating Ceremony, Glennie Kindred & Lu Garner 

The Dispossessed, Ursula K. Le Guin 

The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin

Towards a Trans-Individual Self, Ana Vujanović and Bojana Cvejić

Made In Self, Daniel Mariblanca / 71 Boides, with Oliver Sale
A Knowledge of Hope, Daniel Mariblanca / 71Bodies, with Oliver Sale

The desire to be affirmed by Dans/5, a space and place I believe wholeheartedly in, and to bring a radical trans vision out of myself.

Trans Rites - Dans/5 Application: Text

Video References

Video 1: A Knowledge of Hope, Daniel Mariblanca / 71 Bodies with Oliver Sale
Video 2: Meditation 2: Dios, by and with Oliver Sale

Trans Rites - Dans/5 Application: Text
Trans Rites - Dans/5 Application: Video
Trans Rites - Dans/5 Application: Video
bottom of page