JOSEF KA MEETS AARON TERRY // PERFORMANCE // MOSCOW 2020 WINTER // AARON TERRY VERSION

Aaron Terry Statement ‘

In the early winter of 2020, I traveled to Moscow to take part in an artist residency at Fabrika. It was my third time traveling to Moscow. On previous trips, I had stayed with a host, who at times showed me around the city. On this trip, I would be on my own. I have traveled a lot alone. I love being an asteroid orbiting some imaginary social sun of an unknown land. As a solitary traveler, you are faced with not only the unknown of the territory in which you are traveling, but also with unknown sides of yourself that are presented in their solitary grandeur. I have traveled and felt lonely, but I’ve always known that whether it lasted a day or a week, there would be a reward. I was in Moscow to research and artistic responses to “post Cold War” perspectives. Not the easiest task in the face of a language barrier. Not the easiest task in our current political climate (in the US and in Russia and in the face of one anothers’ perspectives). It is no secret, nor would I call it a stereotype to say that Moscow in January is a very grey place on the surface. There was rarely clear skies or naked sun, but I came to let in what I could: taking time every day to wander in the grey of the city, getting lost on foot and by subway, where I found the most color and light, ironically. I practiced what little Russian I could muster using google translate, but it was never quite enough. Socially, I was lucky to have a few people and contacts that I would now call friends that worked in Fabrika and PiranesiLab. I met some people at the British School and I had an occasional opportunity to be social, but in general, I was alone in that industrial building of Fabrika. From my studio, I watched and imagined the lives of others who came and went from the surrounding office buildings. There were many days that I didn’t talk to anyone. I didn’t use my voice. A month passed. I was stuck in my head for better and for worse. I felt cold and harsh. I wrestled with my own questions, comments and concerns. All internal. It was as if I was digesting and processing my life before Moscow, more than my life IN Moscow. And then on one of the last days that I was in Moscow, I met Josef Ka at an art opening. She was eating a pickled tomato out of a large jar in front of a piece of artwork that I had hanging in PiranesiLab. We briefly spoke and discussed the possibility of a shared performance of my physical work (“American Security Blankets”) and her performative work. I was intrigued. A day or two later (my second to last day in Moscow), we met and spent the afternoon inside, outside and all around the grounds of Fabrika. Cold, Unsure, curious, exploring and strangely comfortable. It was as if we had both taken a dare to trust in our presence the acts of relations: to blankets, the piercing environment (the freezing cold outdoors) and bodies: Josef Ka crawled, stretched, danced and meditated in some form or another with the blanket, but perhaps more importantly beyond that, we were both exposing ourselves to one another: trusting the space, the naked exposure, conversation, ideas, possibilities, impossibilities and blind faith in verbal and physical communication. I felt included and a part of something after having looked for that inclusion for a month with no luck. It was as if Josef Ka was exorcising my feelings, drawing them out and casting them to the cold, winter air. She was a priestess, a shaman, a spirit dancer and a bodily voice. I was just there, holding the camera, documenting her actions and interpretations of space and energy. It has been almost a year since this day of activity. In that time, I have gotten to know Josef Ka more. We have continued to communicate. We have been able to see each other’s work from a distance (which online can be close and far at the same time). In that time, I have also thought about my time in Moscow. It continues to evolve: the time and place that carried me through January. The sounds and smells and feelings are still present, but have evolved. With that time, I have also been interested and privileged to be able to create my own interpretation of that day. A “remix” of Josef Ka’s movements (and hopefully), a shared interpretation of that meeting which started with a blanket, a body and the unknown spaces between two people.

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