A project by Deborah Valoma made in collaboration with filmmaker Ian Lucero that integrates the spatial, rhythmic, and sensual dynamics of weaving and dance.
Improvisational movement by Victor Ramirez and Yismari Ramos Tellez. Music & sound by Adriana Brame and Petra Valoma.
Longing was installed, performed, and filmed in July 2011 at the Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, OR, during a two-week artist residency in conjunction with "Weaving, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," a retrospective of the work of weaver Laurie Herrick curated by Namita Gupta Wiggers.
Using the two-story structure of the museum as a loom, Valoma installed a series of warp threads running from the entrance, though the exhibition of Laurie Herrick’s work, and finally to the performance hall. Modern dancers Victor Alexander and Yismari Ramos Tellez, both trained at the Escuela Nacional de Arte in Havana, were invited to improvise with each other, the space, and the cords of the architectural loom. The soundtrack was designed by Petra Valoma by overlaying syncopated sounds of Deborah Valoma weaving with voice and guitar by Adrianna Brame. The day-long improvisational performance was open to the public and was filmed by Ian Lucero, director of photography and editing, with additional camera work by Dalas Verdugo.
Longing synthesizes the bodily experience of Deborah Valoma’s parallel artistic practices—weaving and dance. As a weaver, the artist approaches weaving in a dancerly fashion: standing at the loom, she steps on one foot then the other, shifting her weight in rhythmic movement. As a dancer, she visualizes the geometry of bodies moving in space as pathways of threads traveling over and under one another in mathematical sequences.
For this project, the artist researched schematic systems including weaving drafts, dance notational systems, and written music. Capitalizing on the organizational similarities of these repetitious patterns, the artist constructed the installation on intervals of four: four beats in a measure, four harnesses on the loom, and choreographic movements designed in multiples of four.
In Longing, Valoma purposefully triangulates textiles, dance, and bodies in motion, triggering a charged political zone of corporeality where the hierarchy of mind over body in western philosophy—a conceptual space in which the craft of weaving has been consistently devalued—is resisted and inverted.