Anh Vo | Maybe fuck it
When Yvonne Rainer was included in Information, MoMA’s 1970 exhibition on Conceptual Art, her only contribution was a short statement that read:
I am going thru hard times: In the shadow of real recent converging, passing, pressing, milling, swarming, pulsing, changing in this country, formalized choreographic gestures seem trivial.
In recent performances I have allowed for elements to emerge that pertain to actual ways in which we engage with each other. But like any group we will lose our vitality if these “engagements” remain on the level of fun and games.
I am not interested in group therapy as performance, but I am still interested in performance.
I experience a strong sense of risk when I think about what lies ahead. I never did before. My conditioning – with its powerful imperatives of history, ambition, imagination, quality, and control – lurks ever in my peripheral vision.
Maybe fuck it.
These words were most likely written in protest of the Vietnam War, which was raging on throughout the 60s well into the 70s. Although the historical events that Rainer responded to were very different, I indeed share the same sentiment: In the middle of a global pandemic, formalized choreographic gestures do appear to be trivial, if not outright redundant.
Elsewhere, I wrote about pornography and the larger capitalist imperative to endlessly move and produce with our bodies—I’m always amazed by how Grindr’s self-description ends with a choreographic command for the users: “Keep connecting.” If porn seems to already figure out how to virtually connect bodies and profit off masturbatory pleasures in our own homes, other cultural industries, including dance, are scrambling amidst social distancing to do the same thing, albeit very clumsily.
I am going through hard times, not because I struggle to produce content for the Internet. Quite the contrary, I find it difficult to not produce anything during these times of extreme loneliness and boredom. I often fantasize about going back to Vietnam, where my life and my identity do not revolve around this compulsion to work, and also where public health is actually prioritized.
Maybe fuck it.
Anh Vo is a Vietnamese choreographer, dancer, theorist, and activist. They create dances and produce texts about pornography and queer relations, about being and form, about identity and abstraction, about history and its colonial reality. More information on their work can be found on anhqvo.com.
Instagram: @anhqvoBack to 2020 Performance Mix Festival