Contact Improvisation Meets Visual Art

S P A C E Alliance Studio Residency Artists Krista Kaye and Aubrhe Yruretagoyena discuss the creative process behind their fall 2019 residency at Cori-ography Studio. Their work, entitled The Return of The Blog and Other Stories, will debut at DISCO RIOT’s S P A C E Showcase November 7-9, 2019.


Aubrhe Yruretagoyena: Krista, how has this residency process been for you so far?

Krista Kaye: For me, it’s been a little bit of a roller coaster. When we started, we had certain ideas and they didn’t necessarily make it all the way until now. Some things that we thought would flop ended up fantastic, and other ideas that we thought would succeed didn’t. So there’s been a lot of figuring out how to make the process work. In some ways it’s been a really good puzzle, a life-size puzzle with humans.


Krista: How has this process been for you, Aubrhe?

Aubrhe: Yeah, roller coaster for me too. As far as my individual practice goes, it has offered me the challenges that I’ve been wanting in my current state. I have been wanting to immerse myself in a situation in which I was forced to practice creative problem solving using mediums that I don’t have very much experience working with, being that I have been primarily a movement artist. I’ve wanted to dig deeper into my interest in creating “worlds”/moods/situations for dance to exist within/without, and discover for myself what kind of relationships arise between the people dancing and the non-people-things dancing … learning how to create visual art with/alongside the dance-making process, not separate from it. Which brings me to the collaborative aspect of this project, which has brought on its own challenges and joys!


Krista: I think that’s a good point — Can you talk more about how, or what, was important to you about how the movement and the visual art come together?

Aubrhe: Well I didn’t want them to be separate, I wanted them to be made together, for each other. I didn’t want to just be like ‘here’s a cool looking material or picture that we can put next to you dancing’, I wanted to make something that was working within the same questions you were working within from the more physical perspective of movement. I was more interested in working with what was arising from exploring the same questions and finding how to bring dance into the non-human realm as well.


S P A C E Alliance Studio Residency Artists Krista Kaye and Aurbhe Yruretagoyena work with contact improvisation as the foundation for their project. Dancers in the video are Krista Kaye and Jaime Nixon.


Aubrhe: What made you want to work with someone doing visual art? Was it a personal interest because we’re friends, or because you specifically wanted to work with visual art?

Krista: Of course I was thinking about who is available for collaborations, and I know that I love working with you. I also think it is an interesting idea because contact really is such an open form, so there is a lot of possibility for stuff like this in a way I haven’t seen before. I see musicians collaborating with contact dancers and photographers at jams and maybe even people who are painting, sketching or drawing dancers at jams, but I don’t see art environments created specifically for contact improvisation. I see a lot of other art mediums that intersect with contact improvisation, but I haven’t seen or experienced visual art installation intersecting with contact improvisation. Maybe it is happening somewhere, but I haven’t had the experience yet, so it feels exciting to do something that I don’t have a previous experience of. And because of that, I don’t have a road map, and that’s actually really reflective of how my experience of this process has been.

Aubrhe: Yeah, same here, and I definitely have spent a super small amount of time in contact improvisation, so that was a big new one for me as well. I currently don’t feel like I have totally succeeded at creating something that I feel like is specifically interactive between dancers and the visual art medium, but I’m closer than I was before. In our work, the plants thing is physically connected to the dancers’ bodies, so in that sense I feel like there is a relationship between movement and external stuff/design/whatever you want to call it … But yes, I want to create environments that have even more interaction with the dancers, a more kinesthetic connection between them, but I haven’t found it yet.

Krista: What I think you’re saying is that the idea of contact improvisation meeting visual art installation would imply physical contact between the dancers, objects, and/or scenes. But I feel like the contact doesn’t necessarily mean physical contact. For example in contact improvisation, dancing in a duet doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to be in physical contact with my dancing partner. I can dance with my partner energetically or by contrasting or complementing their movement. I think that both the visual art installation aspects of the work and the movement aspects of the work can be in contact with each other even when they’re not physically touching.

Aubrhe: I agree with that and see how that can similarly apply to installation, but I still want to find out the ways they can touch each other and dance together in a more responsive way. I feel if they aren’t having some physical connected cause and effect conversation, it’s closer to a “decorated jam” than what I’m interested in. Although I have been exploring the same questions as you and finding what arises for me via visual art installation … I just, yeah, I’m not there yet.

Krista: I feel that to say that it’s a “decorated jam” would be to say that we haven’t collaborated. For instance the thing that makes this not site-specific work is that the site wasn’t built before the dance, and similarly, the dance was not made before the installation. What makes these two things belong together, the movement and the art installation, is that they were both built in a way that affected each other — sometimes the scenery changed the development of the movement, and sometimes the movement changed the development of the scenery.

Catch Krista and Aubrhe’s work at the

S P A C E  Alliance Showcase

November 7-9, 2019



Queen Bee’s Arts and Cultural Center
3925 Ohio st. North Park, CA 92104