FlucT performer speaks on dystopia, what it’s like to rub elbows with Miley, and why the new Yeezy line looks a lot like some of her work
If you frequent any of the bars and venues in Bushwick, Brooklyn, it’s likely you’ve run into Monica Mirabile. But unless you know her, you probably would not guess that she’s one of the core actors behind the venues and shows that has made that Myrtle stretch of Bushwick what it is – a hub for queer, feminist, radical leisure, art, and community-building.
As the co-founder of Otion Front Studio, a collective performance and rehearsal space, she has introduced many people to experimental dance and performance through workshops and performances, and provided a rehearsal space for independent performers and artist. As one half of the performance duo FlucT, she has captivated audiences with her thought-provoking and transformative choreographies in art museums, on massive tour stages, in night clubs and radical spaces. Many who have followed her closely claim that her and FlucT-partner Sigrid Lauren inspired the clothes in Kanye’s Yeezy collection, the movement and aesthetic in Sia’s Chandelier video, and the choreography in Rick Owen’s SS16 Women’s Cyclops collection. She’s also on the board of Stream Gallery, which puts on multimedia shows by rising artists.
This fall, Monica premiered A Ghost Story, a performance choreographed by Monica in collaboration with her cast that explores the many ways past experiences and unconscious trauma shape us and what happens when they come to the surface. I sat down with Monica at Otion Front Studio earlier this month to talk about how she found her way from Florida to New York, and how she ended up performing during Miley Cyrus show in New York.
You recently performed during one of Miley’s shows in New York. What was that like?
It was interesting. I performed during Dan Deacon’s set, who was opening for her. Me and a friend danced on stage initiating a “follow the leader” game.
What was it like to meet Miley?
The whole tour is somewhat D.I.Y. Miley has a confidence that I admire. I get why young people obsess over her, that kind of confidence is so incredible to watch. And the fact is, she’s only 22. She’s young and exploring herself but gets to do it publicly – discover what it means to be real and be down to earth while still being a weirdo.
Are you happy you did it?
One of the reasons I agreed to perform was because I was afraid and confused by my own feelings of commercialization and specifically Miley as a commodity. And I kept telling myself on the train ride there, “Just let go, just let go,” as a mantra. Let the fear and confusion that you have teach you something new. And it did. After the show, I went to the afterparty and it was just a normal night out in New York, it was very disenchanting. I kicked myself in the ass because I should’ve been working. I felt like an idiot. That disenchantment is a form of hope. and it’s also revealing of my own practice. I woke up this morning and I thought, I love what I do. It’s not that. I feel no way inducted into that world, and that’s a good affirmation.
Your practice is very fluid and mutative and open-minded. On one hand you play with the body as machine a lot, but you also play with very fleshy, natural things like feelings, ruptures, human limitations. It seems to me that there is one type of movement that is foundational to all of your work, and that’s this sort of glitchy movement that seems to be where the cyborg-like body or the bleeding machine become one. I’m curious about the origins of this glitchy aesthetic.
I started using the technique of glitching in my dances at first because glitching as a physical movement was something I was very apt to do, it just came really naturally. And I think it came so naturally because of how technology had taken hold of me as a young person. Like, scrolling back and forth on the timeline in iMovie. Those movements are so interesting to me.
In your interview with The Front you mentioned that a core idea in your practice with FlucT is the triad Gaping, Glitching, Gushing. Can you explain what these concepts mean to you?
Gaping, Gushing, and Glitching speaks to how we absorb information – mainly without knowing it. At this point in the information age, rarely do we learn how to process information well. Processing information is really hard when it comes to this body that we have and this brain that we know so little about. So when we absorb information, it comes out in strange ways, and gaping, gushing, and glitching are ways of describing those different ways.
Gaping is when you feel empty inside. We all know that feeling. You wake up in the morning, or maybe something happens to you, and you just feel unsatisfied. You’re not fulfilled, it feels like there’s nothing and it sucks.
Gushing happens when you start to fill that hole. This is when capitalism comes in, because it provides us with all these tricks to fill in that hole that can’t be satisfied. We buy the tricks thinking it’ll help, but it leads to an overload, because you fill it with all this bullshit that’s not going to help. Although, sometimes it does but not for long. With gushing, it all comes out. It’s mania, you feel crazy. You’re like, I have to do this, I need coffee, I need to go eat something, and I need to go to the gym, no I’m not going to go to the gym, I’m going to go hang out with my friends, and oh look at that one, that one is hot, I’m gonna fuck that one. This kind of mania, I really feel like we all understand those feelings.
Glitching is the primary movement. It’s what happens when all that information explodes, the system is losing control and your body freaks out.