Taisha Paggett

Born 1976 in Fresno, CA
Lives and Works in Chicago, IL and Los Angeles, CA

During Underwaters (we is ready, we is ready), a week-long residency conceived specifically for the 2014 Whitney Biennial, taisha paggett will immerse herself in a continuous performance. Moving freely in and out of the Museum, she will perform a score that leads her through subtle choreographies and tasks. She has explained that “this performance, and art-making in general for me, is a form of internal and external research.” As part of the research aspect of this work, she will interview a number of female and transgender dancers and visual artists including Niv Acosta, Callie Lyons, April Matthis, Kenya Robinson, Regina Rocke, Kaneza Schaal, and Ni’ja Whitson about how they understand the term “Black performance.” Although these interviews and other actions will take place offsite, they will be transmitted to the gallery by telephone, processed through a delay pedal, and amplified in the space so as to become part of the abstract sonic texture of the room.

When in the Museum, paggett will move deliberately and silently through her score, embodying four different personas. Her movements along with her installation of objects aim to turn the gallery into a magical space for ceremony, ritual, and conjuring through the experience of performance, a space for healing. Over the course of the week, the space will accumulate the residue of the artist’s actions, preserving a trace of the ephemeral for viewers to experience when paggett is not physically present.