Clarke Blair

 

I am a long-time scifi fan, pretty much from the womb. My dad read me War of the Worlds before I could even read myself. In the past couple years, I’ve been deep diving into that side of myself and letting those interests bleed into my arts life. The inspiration for this piece comes from many places, including this incredible interview I read recently with science fiction writer Ann Leckie (http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/feature-interview-ann-leckie/). She discusses writing alien/future societies and how as a writer you need to acknowledge your ingrained notions of what is default and unchanging in human experience in order to write something that is alien. For example, nodding and shrugging – “I realized at one point that these gestures are very culture specific, and if you’re making a completely alien society, there’s no reason they’re going to shrug. There’s no reason that a nod is going to mean what it means to us. They are going to have a completely different vocabulary of bodily movement that’s going to communicate the same way ours does, but it’s not going to be shrugs and nods.”

And WOW this got my brain racing. How does this translate to a human body? What aspects of a physicality are inherently human? How can I, with my human body, create the illusion that I am in fact something else, a nonhuman entity? And how does this being move, how does She communicate? How can I undergo, as it were, a reshaping of flesh…?

This has been an immensely exciting and immensely challenging creative venture. Working alone in a studio inside a body that is not my own and seeing through eyes that are not my eyes is HARD. I've found that things that feel good don't necessarily read successfully when I watch them back on video, and vice versa. I have a hilarious video of a run that I felt had gone very poorly where I dramatically rip my mask off in frustration at the end, but when I went and watched it back, it was one of the more exciting explorations I'd done. I've made things very hard on myself but I'm having a great time learning and negotiating within this strange body!

Photo by Francesca Chudnoff