Interview by Sarah Tsung with Wu Tsang and Tosh Basco from Moved by the Motion
ST: Can you describe how you came to the name Moved by the Motion and how you came to begin collaborating with each other?
MBTM: Moved by the Motion began first as a performance between Wu and Tosh in their initial collaboration. The experiment was to try and bridge the gap between their practices, namely film making and performance, where Wu would ask Tosh a question and Tosh would respond through movement. We titled the performance Moved by the Motion. Soon after that, the experiment began to include more people, more practices, more languages.
ST: As a collaborative, interdisciplinary “band,” you’re constantly working in dialogue with other artists. Can you talk a little bit about your approach to collaboration with such a wide range of artists, thinkers, makers, etc.?
MBTM: Dialogue is a great word for the way in which we approach the work that we make together. There is often text or invitation at the core of each piece that we do. Then we talk about it. We study- group it, reading- group it, hang out about it, have dinners about it. There are varying degrees, but the main impetus is to make and be in conversation with one another, to gather and meet, to try and dance or perform the impossible problems of form that we are faced with.
ST: The works that you create holds so many dialogues within themselves—between film and performance, between bodies and identities, between language and visual, between individual and group, between movement and setting, performer and audience—what kind of conversations do you find yourself particularly drawn to exploring?
MBTM: We love talking through music and poetry, but there is no limit to where or how the conversations go. Often we use text to ground the conversations but they are never limited to text. The meandering is what is most interesting. The journey, not the destination.
ST: What interests you about pairing language and visuals? What is your relationship to writing or /what is the role of writing in your practice(s) as artists?
MBTM: We often end up working through the ways in which seeing is experienced. Because the world is very visual, we like visuality to be one access point. But the world is also so much more than the visual. There are also many uninterrogated aspects of language that are tangled up in visuality that feel important to disentangle even if for momentary rupture.
I’m thinking about the ways in which reality and fiction are blurred in some instances, history for example. I’m also thinking about the ways in which the blurry can become rigid or fixed in certain moments of time—, like a photo’s meaning, or borders.
ST: How important is it for marginalized bodies to be represented in your work, and how important is it for those bodies to be explicitly legible as representing those identities?
MBTM: In our work, it is important for us to interrogate the language of concepts like: Legibility, representation, marginalization, violence, visibility and how they exist out in the world in the different ways that they do. They are often employed with unidirectional trajectories that can sometimes reify the violence embedded in the m….
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Moved by the Motion began in 2014 as a dialogue between different artistic languages, an experiment between Tosh Basco (formerly boychild) and Wu Tsang in which performance became a space to bridge the linguistic gap between their artistic practices, namely movement, performance, and filmmaking. This space for play quickly became a “roving band” of interdisciplinary artists where the gravitational force of collaboration serves as a mode of making in concert, where text is always present but no form takes precedence over another. Moved by the Motion is an open collaborative entity that includes Basco, Tsang, experimental cellist Patrick Belaga, dancer Josh Johnson, electronic musician Asma Maroof, and poet Fred Moten. The group frequently expands to include guests, such as Tapiwa Svosve, Sophia Al Maria, Kelsey Lu, Ahya Simone, and the performers of the Schauspielhaus Zürich ensemble, where Moved by the Motion is currently in residence.