Molissa Fenley (choreographer and performer) received two ACC Fellowships to Japan. The first was in 1990 to observe contemporary music and dance, meeting with composers and choreographers. She returned to Japan in 1998 to collaborate with conceptual artist Hitoshi Nomura.
I am sheltering on the Mills College campus in Oakland, California. It is my very last semester to teach here - I am retiring at the end of May. It's been 21 years since I came from NYC to teach one semester a year. I'm now 65 and decided to not renew my contract.
The campus is closed to all except residents and essential personnel. Most residents have left but I, along with about 30 others, decided to stay. And a good decision that turned out to be!
It's very, very quiet. Some animals have moved in - there are signs of a fox family, seems like more birds and a couple of ducks. The frogs in the campus' local Lake Aliso are going crazy every night; the cacophony is wonderful to hear!
Like every other school, all of our classes are now taught online. Most of the buildings on campus are locked down, but for the student union plaza area which has a beautiful Julia Morgan building designed in 1916. I am very luckily using that as my dance studio - the wooden floor was just replaced last year and it is a treasure! I'm in there every day teaching online or rehearsing or zooming.
The college is very empty and we—(my husband Roy Fowler and I)—take long walks every day. Our eyes are observing more, we have found pieces of art in the woods behind the art department. I imagine that these are works that were started by the graduate students and had to be abandoned as the college shut its doors. We have become the observers of these art works: watching how the surrounding grass continues to grow and obscure, how rain or a strong wind can alter their facing, how different they are on a sunny day, on a cloudy day. It has been a privilege to watch their weathering.
Artworks by unknown artists and pipes going nowhere
I would like to go back to NYC and check my mail—I think my stimulus check is sitting in our mail box!
I've been enjoying learning a piece by Merce Cunningham which the Merce Trust has posted called 50 Looks. They are teaching it in increments—so you learn 14 or 15 moves at a time—it's super fun to learn someone else's sense of putting things together. I've enjoyed entering into another mode of thought and of learning—to me it's been very inspiring to memorize something I didn't make!
Lots of love to all my fellow grantees!
Grantee Reflections is a platform for ACC alumni to share their collective voice as an international community of artists, scholars, and cultural ambassadors. This is a cultural exchange of words, image, video, and sound from around the world. While our bodies cannot travel, our minds can still meet.