May 9 + 10, 2015
By May 2015, the ETLE Universe had expanded its scope to include the work of 62 collaborators. The AOMC's Spring Premieres, held May 9th and 10th 2015 at Loft 172--which would serve as the ETLE Universe's home base come Fall--unveiled the next three works out of the Universe: Jeff Poulin's collection of 3D-printed rings Conspiracy Wearables, a photography installation 1ND3X created in collaboration by Maria Baranova and the AOMC, and ETLE ILLUS, a graphic novel featuring illustrators Keith Carlon, Shantel Grant, Poppy Lyttle, Martha Hipley, and Isabelle Lutz,
Spanning two days, the event included an opening party, open gallery hours, an open rehearsal with the AOMC, and a 'drink and draw' event where attendees could sketch the AOMC's scores as they performed as live models.
Program Text from the Spring Premieres
Sarah A.O. Rosner, May 2015
The first question posed to the ETLE Universe is almost always to ask what it is.
Being able to say what something is imbues it with knowability, making it congruent with systems of language, commerce, and power—soothing our underlying human panic at our lack of control and certainty as we hurdle through the vast unknowns of time and space. Refusing to demand a fixed knowability of ourselves and of the world around us actively queers and glitches what has been imposed as our (singular, phallic*) framework for existence. When we are unable or unwilling to define something with singular certainty we are met with resistance; we are indeed resisting.
The ETLE Universe is not knowable. It is not singular, or clear, or finished, or certain, nor will it ever be. It does not contain a correct way to be experienced or understood. Instead, it might be thought of as an ever-shifting relational network, an inter-net of infinite beginnings and navigations through a collection of ideas, aesthetics, politics, characters, events, and questions. There are stories and characters within the ETLE Universe, to be sure, but it is not a narrative. The same story vastly shifts in meaning with every new piece of information that the viewer uncovers.
These three works from the ETLE Universe—1ND3X, Conspiracy Wearables, and ETLE ILLUS—are new premieres out of the Universe’s collection of ten interconnected works, and represent a tipping point from the project’s early premieres into the Universe’s upcoming conclusion this Fall. Rather than asking these artists involved in these works to create something that reiterated a pre-determined understanding of what the ETLE Universe is, these artists were asked to join us as partners and engage in a structurally queer authorship of the Universe, working alongside the AOMC’s body based work in parallel and intersecting arcs, excavating and revealing our shared knowledge of what will come to pass.
As the Absence draws ever closer, Jeff Poulin’s Conspiracy Wearables attempts to excavate evidence about what will cause (has caused, is causing) the global epidemic in which women and non-binary people fall out of time. Using the physical object of a ring—a boundary defined by its absent center—Poulin encodes the theories from his research across ten objects culturally coded as decorative and feminine. The accompanying choreography—the wearer inserting their finger through the ring—is a glitch in that the action simultaneously disrupts and redefines the known-ness of both parties. As the void of the ring is filled by a finger, and the finger encompassed by the boundary of the ring, the ring’s previous lack is now experienced as fullness, the finger’s pentatrative action experienced as a passive reception of the ring’s encompassment. What truly caused the Absence—was it ETLE? Gender-specific evolution? God? The FATH Company? Aliens?—and will knowing change anything?
Following the rebel THIC’s first successful hack of the FATH Company’s R.I.B, Maria Baranova’s 1ND3X maps the systematic networks and embodied time travel of the Rebel THIC. Excavated and codified by the A.O. Movement Collective in their rehearsal process, each performer’s Index maps a detailed history of the performer’s existence through time, creating the potential for travel between past, present, future, and alternate selves. In our futures, the integration of the power source of the Absence with the hacked hardware of the FATH Company’s R.I.B. will unlock the innate chronomultiplous abilities of certain (queer, non-binary, female) bodies to exist as time machines, but the points in time will have already been determined—broken bones, first kisses, emotional and peaks, somatic data that is in some way remarkable or significant. Knowing that we create these maps through time in our day-to-day lives, can we leave signposts to return to as we loop back on ourselves? Aren’t we already? It seems we just need the upgrade.
Finally, the stories from ETLE ILLUS excavate little known history from the tumultuous time period between the rebel THIC’s first R.I.B. hack and the Violent Female Revolution. Created by Keith Carlon, Shantel Grant, Poppy Lyttle, Martha Hipley, and Isabelle Lutz, these five stories create a visual context for the Universe to reveal itself, in which the “science fictions” being presented can thrive until they are ready to be accepted for the prophetic visions they are. With so much record lost following the VFR when the remaining rebel THIC fled to the edges of the chronovsrse, these stories give us insight into a time period rife with controversy as the rebel THIC struggled to gain their own autonomy and identity as a new gender, race, and species. But in revealing the history of what is to come, the answers only reveal more questions: What role do the Anders play in all of this? Was the FATH Company right to mandate R.I.B.s for all women? And most importantly – what caused the Violent Female Revolution to erupt so far ahead of schedule?
*A note: In trying to articulate the ETLE Universe's ideology, one of our core tasks was to question the innateness of our singular, binary structuring of society by identifying this assumed natural/neutral way of experiencing the world to be masculine, and attempting to dismantle it by investigating what queer and feminine structures of experience/logic/understanding might look like. In much of our early work, we described these current structures of reason, binary, and language as "phallic" in an attempt to describe their masculinity. We now realize that this is incorrect languaging, as it equates anatomy with gender, and denies the experiences of women and queers with penises who are not male or masculine. This was not the intent, and was remedied going into the Fall Festival. The above text remains unchanged as a historicization of where the work's language was in the process at that point in time.