Resident Alien (2018)
for 7 to 10 players
My desire to fully assimilate to my cultural surrounding stems from my need to be adored. My sense of identity manifests as an ambivalent balancing act: my fatal differences must be compromised in order to thrive in unfamiliar group settings, but an appropriate amount of exotic barrier must be maintained for the sake of authenticity and for the group’s appreciation of diversity. Ideally, I would like to exist within Josh Kun’s principle of crossfades: “mix without erasing, combine without destroying, to juggle and sustain difference, to use what already exists to create something entirely new.” Yet in my practice, I find that my mind-body lets me down: as I gain adoration from one group, I am more alien to another because I forget how to reconnect.
In Resident Alien, the audience observe as performers work through a unique process of groupwork that I’ve named Group Listening. The objective of Resident Alien is for the performers to transform a fixed electronic piece into a structured, live sound performance. One designated performer will play the role of the alien; they will be listening to a completely different fixed electronic piece on headphones while the other players listen through speakers. Throughout their performance, the group continuously shapes their (re)constructed composition by alternating between attentive listening, improvising, and exchanging verbal feedback. They must reckon with the question of what it means to succeed as a group. In doing so, Resident Alien metaphorically facilitates a process of assimilation between the alien and the rest of the group via this performance practice. Teaser and full show below: