from vision to inapathy Apr 2, 2017
by Imana Gunawan
A series of free-writes after witnessing Heather Kravas’ visions of beauty:
Bodies are beautiful, but I wonder which bodies and why. I’ve known that visions of beauty was a restaging/reconstruction/reimagining of another piece that had an all female-bodied cast. It also refers to other works and concepts to which Kravas has experienced. And now it’s an eight-male-bodied-plus-one-female-bodied-person cast. I wonder whether the cis-ness of the cast matters. I wonder if it was necessary to have penises dangling for this piece to be recognized as what it is.
I see forehead on bare ass, cheek on floor, shoulders on tummies. This knot of bodies was beautiful and harmonious, like a slowly moving relief carved on the side of a temple. I would imagine that’s what someone’s ancestors would carve on a temple when they first discover what an orgy looks and feels like. It’s vulnerable, erotic, gentle, laborious. Each shift felt like a tender gesture, but it was not effortless, and all the more power to it. Why hide the effort and tenderness? Male bodies are often not allowed to be tender. They are allowed to show effort though. They’re allowed to show struggle and work in movement. It’s just called athleticism and dynamism. Female bodies on the other hand, are expected to be effortless and ethereal and work multiple times as hard without breaking a sweat. We’re playing a sick game, so thank god for those who break the rules.
And then the bodies are spinning. I see logic, I see play, I see whim. I long for more play.
And then the bodies are rocking. Groups of them collide and transform into other things. Like constellations pulling atoms from one another. How poetic to see something as primal as flesh participate in and physicalize something as fundamental as atomic properties. We are made of star stuff indeed.
Say the word “bowl” hundreds of times and the word starts to sound unfamiliar. Watch nine bodies do variations of the same movement for what feels like 15 to 20 minutes and you start having existential crises. Where is the end? Is it necessary to have an end? Is there a point to anything? Does it matter? Why?
It’s close to 9:30 p.m. on a Thursday. Nine bodies were on the edges of their toes, waiting and doing all they can so the rest of their feet won’t touch the ground. For what felt like forever.
Nine turns to eight to seven to three and then there were two.
I audibly gasped at the sight of an ankle wobble. It’s like the most high-stakes race, and I don’t even know what they’re racing for. Half the seats were empty but I can’t bear to leave the space now. Not when I’ve seen nine shrink to two.
And then a pair of ankles touched the ground. I gasped, the remaining witnesses applauded.
And then there was one. I didn’t realize I’ve been apathetic all day right until that very moment.