Swim/Sea/No-See was a performance by Karen Nelson and K.J. Holmes at Western Front in which the artists reprised a duet that was initially performed from 1991 to 1993. Swim/Sea/No See combined two improvisational forms—Contact Improvisation and Tuning Scores—to question what the redux of an improvisation becomes after thirty years. Nelson and Holmes’s performance corresponded with the 50th anniversary of Contact Improvisation, and celebrated the form’s history and evolution.
Moving to an improvisational score, Nelson and Holmes approached each other's bodies and the architectural features of the room with playful inquiry and responsiveness. Throughout the performance, Nelson and Holmes’s movements were paced by subtle adjustments to the temperature and brightness of both artificial and natural light, and an improvised soundtrack played by Alex Mah on bass. Performance props included a wooden bench that was found on-site, and a semi-transparent blue textile belonging to Nelson that was engaged through movement and breath.
The performance was accompanied by a screening of archival footage of a performance of Swim/Sea/No-See at Naropa University in 1991, ephemera from the rehearsal process for the works reprise, and a display of Contact Quarterly journal in the gallery, and was followed by a talk back moderated by Western Front’s executive director, Susan Gibb, and EDAM (Experimental Dance and Music) company member, Olivia Shaffer.
Presented in partnership with EDAM and with the support of the Government of Canada.