Jaamil Kosoko || Kate Watson-Wallace Interview 'Serendipitous and Sustainable: Long Live anonymous bodies'
Independent artists Kate Watson-Wallace and Jaamil Kosoko are known for distinct, yet equally boundary-pushing contributions to dance in Philadelphia. After several years of “artistic dating” they’re committing to a new working model that will allow them to keep making art on their own terms, and with each other’s support.
Q: What does anonymous bodies (formerly used to refer to Kate’s solo work, and now your collaboration) mean?
KW: When an audience member comes to a performance there are all these assumptions they have around what they’re seeing on stage. The idea behind anonymous bodies is that these bodies actually are anonymous. At first they’re just projections of the viewer’s assumptions, and their history, and what they’ve seen, and then it’s about what we’re putting forth, and for us it’s about acknowledging that and playing with that. Its almost like the way that a good comedian deals with issues of race and sex and class, where you’re laughing your ass off, and simultaneously you’re thinking about these things and you’re questioning if you should be laughing.
JK: I’m always sharing with Kate my feelings about what it means to be a performer of color—a black man—and what kind of invisibility, anonymity, ways of seeing and being that automatically entails. It’s consistently on my mind, to the extent where now, our inaugural piece together will also be called anonymous bodies. Something I’m really interested in is irony—putting out stereotypical situations in front of people, maybe letting them buy into a notion about who I am and what I’m going to do, and then completely flipping that on it’s head in the work so the viewer starts to think, ”What just happened to me? Can I laugh? This isn’t as funny as I thought it was. There’s a lot happening here.” To see something that Jaamil Kosoko is up to, I think means you’re taking some risk, because it’s gonna be in your face. But it’s also gonna be funny, and hopefully it’s through using that humor you activate those tragic places more deeply. It’s exciting to pull this together with Kate’s work, which pushes against technique, site specificity, quirkiness, and fashion.