The following interview is part of a larger publication of collected interviews among Center for Performance Research’s New Voices in Live Performance artists: Sidra Bell, Antonio Ramos, Elisabeth Motley, and Alexis Zacarello. The publication edited by Elisabeth Motley and J. Haggis provides a platform for shared dialogue and conversation for both the participating artists and public.
ANTONIO RAMOS EMAILS ELISABETH MOTLEY
AR: How do u compare your career before having a baby and now in motherhood?
EM: I’ve become very interested in the process of overlapping my life as an artist with my life as a mother. I’m curious about this intersection, and all of the nuances that lie within both roles. At times motherhood has had a sense of isolation for me. While I have a great deal of support a lot of internal investigation occurs during this time, which can produce an atmosphere of othering. At this moment I find myself reckoning the influx of challenges, growth and knowledge I face becoming a mother with the practice of making artwork. I have questions about the chaos and unknowing and find myself working diligently to make work that encircles the unclear. The first version of this work was developed with three of my collaborator’s and leaned into the idea of a dialogue amongst a group of women. After a discussion with Brian Rogers from the Chocolate Factory, he encouraged me to consider that this work was self- evident and to explore concepts of authoring all of it. I’m not sure if I am meeting this necessity yet, but my self-directed research most definitely parallels my mom route.
AR: I see you have been experimenting with voices can we talk more about this?
EM: After collaborating with live musicians for so many years I began to uncover my own desire and interest in a sonic exploration. Discovering sound- whether it is my voice, object or instrument has moved into a necessity for me in order to fully express myself.
For this work I explore early language sounds and incorporate my daughters toys into the score, as well as hip-hop beats that in my mind are an ironic conversation with nursery rhyme. The practice of making music in relationship to movement continues to be an experiment for me.
AR: So talk to me more about ur motherhood process. Believe me as a gay male artist i am so jealous about that feeling of being a mother. To have a creature living inside u and delivered to this world. how all ur senses open up, the smell, the sounds, the surroundings, sounds fantastic to me…
EM: I continue to laugh about how quickly my birth went. I had experienced cramping most of my pregnancy and so when my water broke I had apparently been in labor with out really knowing it. It was a speedy and rapid birth. I think it’s interesting that people explore procreation as a way of imprinting a part of themselves onto the earth. I don’t see Adelaide in this way. To me she is completely autonomous of both her father and myself. She is not something I created, but a succinct individual. I’m deeply fascinated by this.