by Kimberly Peterson
I just finished reading a fantastic book called “Girls to the Front” which carries you through the Riot Grrrrl movement of the 90’s in fantastic form. Filled with feminist theory and punk ethos, I find many similarities between the openness and experimentation of this movement, and post modernist theories of dance. Much like my alma mater’s motto of “Every Body Dances”, there is a deep seated recognition and unapologetic validity of the creative journey, and wherever you may find yourself along that path.
It is a noble attitude, one I embrace and look for in dance communities. However, there does exist a personal, social and collective aesthetic which shapes not only the work we create, and the work we enjoy seeing, but also influences the works created in the future.
As artists, we tend to make work that we enjoy and emulate the work and themes we relate to. Through our individual choices, we not only shape the concerts we see, but the funding that is directly or indirectly given to those performances. Through our communal aesthetic, we shape the definition of our art form in the common vernacular. So intertwined are these connections that aesthetics at the personal level, can in fact, shape the type of work we see on a global level.
Criticism is the vehicle by which we shape our individual aesthetic values, and through this, our collective and social aesthetic values. This process of critique, artists with like minded ideas about how art is made, and what art is effective, tend to draw together. This kind of self curation is one that fascinates me as an artist – further, it causes me to contemplate how artists may be able to use this as a curatorial process to our own advantages in models of artist representation. [Read more…]