In Everlasting Stranger, New York-based choreographer and writer Will Rawls (b. 1978, Boston, MA) activates relationships between language, dance, and image through the fragmentary medium of stop-motion animation. In his installation, time and movement slow as a live, automated camera photographs the frame-by-frame actions of four dancers. While the performers occupy the labor of becoming images, visual capture is staged as an obsessive process that is constant yet compromised by the movement it aims to fix. Here, as in previous works, Rawls develops strategies of evasion and engagement within systems that mediate, distort, and abstract the body.
Rawls’s exhibition takes inspiration from the work of Guyanese writer Wilson Harris and his surrealist novel The Infinite Rehearsal (1987). In the book, the constrictive projections of the colonial gaze manifest as a child’s fever dream where ghosts reinterpret time, genealogy, and identity as unstable matter. Harris’s novel serves as a conduit through which Rawls addresses the misrepresentation that haunts all forms of capture, including photography and choreography. Within the temporal delirium that marks existence in quarantine, Rawls animates the life that appears between frames.