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Kat Purcell is "Stocking Their Pantry"

Photo by Briana Patnode

Kat Purcell, artist-in-residency at Pangea World Theater, gave a beautiful speech at our 2019 Open House in September about their thoughts surrounding and plans for their residency at Pangea, which runs through December. Read the script of what they had to say below, and come see their presentation on December 7th at 7:30PM and December 8th at 2:30PM.


My name is Kat Purcell and I’m an artist, organizer, designer and producer of experimental events. I’d like to start by saying that of course I am extremely grateful and honored to be a part of Pangea’s circle. I’ve been working with them for a little over two years, now, in many capacities-- as a technician, production management, as an actor, a volunteer on their annual gala committee, and most recently as a participant in the National Institute for Directing and Ensemble Creation. I feel deeply invested in Pangea’s work and I am extremely humbled when they invest in mine.

This fall and winter, with the support and collaboration of Pangea World Theater, I am embarking on an activist-choreographic- methodological-experimentation, emotional-vocal-excavation, including research on existing practices of arts-intervention. The key words are research and experimentation.

With the resources that Pangea is providing to me, I have studio time, space to think and write, have been able to hire collaborator-mentors to help me stay focused on this very ambitious task. Taja Will and I had our first session last night in this very studio, planning and discussing how to teach, learn, exchange and research compositional methodologies, with a focus on movement and choreography. Marcela Michelle and I will be working on my voice and the compositions related to that. I have also been allowed to carve out a little library space in the lounge, where I can stash my heroes: Dario Fo, Achille Mbembe, Audre Lorde, Leslie Feinberg and others.

Here you can see both a study of netting that I have constructed of twine and wire, and some samples of the milkweed and nettle fibers I have been working with. The fiber arts work reflect my proclivity to world-building, my desire to work with natural and found elements, and an effort at literally following the thread of fiber, weaving and growing. For the past year or so I have been working with nettle and milkweed fibers and plants to create sculptures and installations.

In December, I will come up with.. something. It will be a public presentation, which I have over-soon titled “Castles”--over-soon because I am not sure what will happen. But I know that the central themes manifest as a collection of questions:

"If I am you, and you are me, then what does it mean when we are in conflict?" "How do we sing each other into resonance?"

"What is perseverance, and how do we conceive it for ourselves?"

I began to build. I began I began I began I began.

I need to be able to move, to breathe. I think I need to be seen, I think I need to be understood

I read that a persevering person is a perseverant.

I have been run run run run running running running running running running.

To desire the comfort of righteousness, to think you can get that by pretending that you don’t exist.

People ask me if I am transitioning and I ask back “transition to what?!” I touch the structure of myself, and the whole thing vibrates.

Fighting with yourself, fighting with others: If I am you and you are me, then what is the difference? Who am I really fighting? What if I can’t share my love?

Success is a fantasy. It will never happen. You keep going not because you can keep going You keep going because you cannot stop I have been running for so long The stars are falling from the sky- dying- and we are eating them. Self care is an illusion. It was sold. You paid money for a desire. Faith isn’t so bad- it’s a lie, but it isn’t so bad. I am surprised to be one of the ones still here. Sometimes you will believe that you are a tree or a river or a rock. And your memory is treacherous. If you’d rather die than live a lie, at least you will have that. Resilience is a tool of survival, but it isn’t the only one. You will beg for permission to give up, but it will not be granted to you. Just take a walk. There is a difference between loneliness and solitude. Balance, off balance, balance- it’s all the same. The birds chirping and the brook in the forest aren’t going to be there much longer. And neither will you. Are curses real? Talk to strangers, they are eating the stars, too. Ask them how it tastes.

Mbembe is part of my research because he strives to make the invisible visible. Foucault writes of necropolitics and Mbembe writes of necropolitics. He wants us to map out the partitions, the migrations, the occupations, the sorting of human bodies and to reveal to ourselves how it turns a profit for some.

In a world where most of us, some more than others, are kept in a state of almost-dying, and where young middle class white people don't even know that they're being practically coerced to live in luxury plastic boxes in city centers, he wants to see the extraction. Mbembe says "when a small number of people who control the mechanism of debt are no longer able to capture dependents, more and more people are made disposable as pawns, clients, or soldiers. People... are moved around forcibly in order to manipulate extraction.


Performance details:

Saturday 12/7, 7:30PM

Sunday 12/8, 2:30PM

Pangea World Theater Studio

711 W. Lake Street, Ste. 101

Minneapolis, MN 55408

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