Later Date

I think one day we will be able to go outside again. Honestly, I am fantasizing about this day. Seeing you. Reaching out and touching. Breathing, talking, anything really. This is a performance in two parts. In the first, we will chat. We will imagine together our meeting. Where we’ll go, what we’ll say, what we’ll do. This future script will be saved. One day, when we are allowed again, you will receive an email with this script and a request to meet as planned. This will be part two of the performance.

The chat conversations have now taken place, and the in person meetings will take place when it becomes possible. For now, the piece can be experienced as a playback of the chat conversations:

Essay in Los Angeles Review of Books, Remote Intervention Symposium.

Screenshot of with text I think one day we will be able to go outside again Grey website with chat. Conversation between two people discussing the idea of later as children, from buying liquor at 21 to moving from China to the US to going to preschool.

We were planning with each other while we were negotiating with the future. What season will it be? Will we be able to embrace? Will that place still exist? We talked about the first days when frantic decisions were being made, and each of our personal boundaries closing in as we began to feel unsafe with one another. We acknowledged the discomfort of trying to find a stable place in a situation we refuse to accept as normal. We make extremely specific plans, subject to change.

Our conversation was the opposite of a Zoom grid. It was one-to-one, slow, text-only. I called this piece a performance, but with the camera off, it felt like the first non-performance I had experienced in weeks. The interaction is about waiting instead of streaming. And in this lack of bandwidth, we are left space to imagine. The person on the other end, whose presence we are only certain of at brief moments when messages pop onscreen. The later with this person when we will meet in highest fidelity. The days and months that will unfold after this exchange.

Music by Lullatone. Image credits: (first, last) Exhibition views from We=Link: Sideways, Chronus Art Center, Shanghai, China.