Words by Sarah Lapinsky.
At the forefront of pioneering performances, the Take Me Somewhere Festival returns to once again enthrall Glasgow’s audiences with captivating and innovative works from a diverse group of artists dedicated to pushing the boundaries of their work. From October 13th through the 28th, audiences can expect to indulge in innovation and enjoy work by artists like NXSA whose piece proxy (2.2) will show Thursday 26 October at Tramway. We had the pleasure of talking with NXSA to learn more about their process, background and this intriguing work.
Q: How would you describe your practice/artistic journey?
A: NXSA works across-between sound, text and movement through slow research, practice and collaborative works which materialise as meditative, site-responsive, digital and club performances.
They are interested in necessary confrontations as sites for resistance, refusal, transformation; and in momentarily resting in the perceived void as a site for contemplation, for survival, for renewal.
My background is in movement and body-based practices, writing, though before dance I started with music (violin when I was 4). My movement practice has always been in dialogue with particular sonic spaces, landscapes, sound collaborators. Then since 2021 I’ve been developing my own in navigating a disconnect from movement.
Q: What is your work about and where did you find inspiration?
A: proxy (2.2) is the first iteration of a sonic practice expanding an ongoing body of work which considers parallel multiplicities of existences, criticality in/and/as/of care and the interrelated, invisibilised systems of enduring colonisation.
In a way it follows a thread from a digital performance hologram (10.7) I made with cinematographer Paradax Period, composer nymity and my non-human collaborator Roby LE in 2021; a meditation on bodies, existences, imaginings. This performance invites people into that environment with just myself and Roby this time as we inhabit the cavern. It’s somewhere between a live set, DJ set and a sonic essay with Roby performing a movement score. It’s maybe a meditation on the sense of void of being in the middle of a space of transition, transmuting, change, in the midst of or as a consequence of oversaturation, overwhelm, something reaching boiling point. And that void feeling eternal or insurmountable as a space of unknown, and wondering if we lean, and even rest into that, what can happen from there.
I’m often trying to make sense of the world, wading through its complex contradictions in deep questions, practising a core set of principles, trying to face things head on in conversations that not many people want to have. And really the most contradictory issues or experiences which seem to mutually exclude each other are all connected by the same system at the root. It’s like a kaleidoscope we can’t see, it’s the same issues just refracted.
Working through sound has opened a space where I’m able to dig deeper and explore new materials, text, in ways where my movement-based performances can’t speak. So this performance is a space in time where some of this practice will surface, where Roby and I will both be exploring new ground.
Q: What would you want the audience to take from experiencing your work?
A: My performances tend to be meditations, live spaces where I’m in a working practice with collaborators, it might be a site-responsive context or a particular occasion and the audience are invited to witness, to share in the moment, to interpret it as they encounter it on a personal level. It’s up to each audience member what they take away, and that’s important- everyone is invited into a reflective space and is responsible for their own experience.
You can wander in and stay for 2mins, rest and lie down for the hour or come and go. I’m interested in this dance we do in the shifting power dynamics of / within performance, considering the wider systems in play. This may or may not be visible, but it’s always palpable.
And I’m always interested in that tension, I’m not trying to share one message or thing for people to ‘get’, critical conversations for me are about everyone asking questions together. So that’s the invitation, is to join the space while I’m opening the conversations I have with myself, a provocation of some sort, and everyone is invited to have a conversation with themselves. I love when people are generous to share their experiences with me after a performance; it can be minutes or years after, it’s often so different in what emerges.
Q: What drew you to the Take Me Somewhere Festival?
This work follows a research process through a residency exchange between TMS and the Centre for the Less Good Idea in Johannesburg with Christian Noelle Charles, Kaldi Makutike and Thulsile Binda. I’m really grateful for the time we had connecting and being at the Centre, they were really open and generous with whatever I wanted to try. I’ve been connecting in ways with TMS since they started, and having worked with BUZZCUT and starting my arts admin roles in Surge festival in The Arches a way back when, it’s always exciting to contribute to Glasgow’s live art scene.
What’s radical about this work? I don’t know, I don’t label my work as such. It is what it is, I’m doing what I’m doing, you’re welcome to be there and you can decide what it is for you. I don’t know if this work is radical in the ways I’m looking for and looking to people who have and are making radical change in the world. I don’t know if art changes things and why I do it sometimes or if I should continue. I guess in today’s world saying openly that you don’t know something can be a radical thing.
Q: Is there anything else we should know?
A: Please see access details on the website; I’m excited to work with Ali Gordon for BSL interpretation, we’ve only worked together online before! I’ll maybe record it and stream it sometime. Anyone who finds conventional performance set ups more difficult, I hope will feel very welcome here.
Tickets & more info: takemesomewhere.co.uk/nxsa
NXSA Website: nussatari.works
Header image by: Indigo Korres.