SERAFINE1369, formerly Last Yearz Interesting Negro, is an artist, dancer, writer and body-focused researcher working with dancing as a philosophical undertaking, a political project with ethical psycho-spiritual ramifications for being-in-the-world; dancing as intimate technology. In tune with this, their methodology is intuitive and many-headed, considering the interrelatedness of myriad systems. The forms and poetics that emerge through the synthesis of their research – into therapeutic somatic bodywork techniques and movement efficiency; experiential and visionary anatomy; dancing and strategies for expansive non-hierarchical pedagogical practice; divination and other oracular and associative technologies; conditions and alternative work models; theatrical and cinematic devices – organically extend into facilitation, text, video, installation, sound, healing practices, curation and performance. Their work is choreographic and uses (de)composition as a state of cycling and crumbling towards the stark expressive utterances of the minutiae of sensing.
Jamila Johnson-Small’s formal training is in dance and, since graduating in 2009, they have been finding ways to ‘upset’ this training as a statement about expectations of the performing body and its audience. With this approach, they present work that acknowledges and mobilises the body as a site of politics, trying to destabilise and unsettle illusions of knowledge, achievement or development by incorporating work with forms in which they are an amateur.
Their work navigates states of overwhelm and alienation, utilising density and simultaneity to create environments. i ride in colour and soft focus, no longer anywhere (Fierce Festival, 2017) was the beginning of this practice of working with and through intensities: ‘a meditation on…the responsibilities of blackness and queerness, the pressure to ‘take space’, the feeling of being possessed by other people’s fantasies’.
Johnson-Small is interested in using the concept of a choreographic space to facilitate ‘immersive spaces of potential’ for both performer and spectator, considering it to be a certain kind of social space, for exchange and not-necessarily-verbal communication.