The experience was surreal even before I got to the location. Late… very late… wiping off rain drops to get the response from my phone that might summon an Uber… struggling to communicate the right pickup location to a driver possessing little command of either English or DC navigation… seeing the refracted display of time slipping by through rain-streaked glasses. Then she appeared around the corner, floating above traffic toward the intersection where I just arrived. I exited my Uber chariot to begin the next leg of a surreal trip into her dream.
Performed at Art All Night DC on 26-Oct-15, Dream Trip was the fifth in the series Textures, conceived and performed by Shanna Lim (Shae). Designed specifically for a site in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington DC, the performance weaved dance, music, parachutes, light and audience interaction to invite viewers to join Shae in “a special place that presents an obscure human story from a dream like lens. The movement takes the state of struggle and its many obstacles through a strange visual journey into arrival.”
Looking through my camera lens (occasionally spotted from the drizzle that wreaked havoc on the performers’ makeup but added to the dream-like quality of the night), I found myself slipping into a fantasy that was layered in texture upon texture of sights, sounds and emotions. It was a dream that was at times haunting and at times exhilarating, but at all times mesmerizing. It was a trip that gracefully meandered through moments of arrival, birth, dependance, trust, fear, struggle, new arrival and, finally, departure.
In creating the images presented in the featured gallery Dream Trips, my goal was to present photographs that communicate a sense of the experience that Shae had so masterfully conceived and performed. I wanted to shoot and edit in a manner that cared little about documenting a performance and focused, instead, on sharing the experience of a dream. As such, I selected shots that in some cases are not the technical best, that are at times dark or blurred, and that may even be considered ugly—so long as they advance the goal of providing some semblance of Shae’s hypnotic performance. Likewise, I unabashedly acknowledge taking liberties in the editing process to interpret photos into images that portray the experience of seeing through a “dream like lens.” In doing such—even in just the attempt to present a fluid performance in stills—I add a new texture to the Dream Trip and hope that it is one that reveals rather than obscures the experience.
Dream Trip was conceived and performed by Shanna Lim with special guests:
- Kima Hawk, dancer
- Frances Takemato, string musician
- Marcus Moody, string musician
- Pop-up kids