Kayla Tange “DEFINING BOUNDARIES” / Human Resources
Multimedia installation and performance
Curated by Vardui Sharapkhanyan
Defining Boundaries explores the construction of boundaries that protect sacred interiority. Tange’s performance utilizes ritual, sound, ephemeral architecture and collected confessions (including her own) in an attempt to establish psychic, emotional and physical boundaries, guarding against abuse and trauma; elements heavily circulating in our current political climate. In these times, it is essential that we practice empathetic listening toward our friends, family, and community at large. Yet, do we even have the resources, strength, or methods to protect our own psychic energy? Defining Boundaries is a manifestation of sanctuary; a necessary action for when our vulnerability is exhausted or abused. Retreat and the cultivation of personal sacred space opens dialogue, and acceptance surrounding communal elevation out of racial and sexual proliferation. Tange uses her experience as a sonic medium to build an atmosphere rife with sex, shame, secrets, and identity. In Defining Boundaries, Tange projects into Human Resources the recorded confessions collected in past performances—Confession Box (2015-2016), A Bare Witness (2016) and Boundaries (2016-2018)— where public space became an interactive confessional. Unlike previous performances where her own sexual vulnerability was used to allow others to expose theirs, Tange now paints a filter from the confessions as the audience reflects on their own capacity to build a protected interiority. The physical boundary she designs within, resembles a white a cube; a space not so different than the interior of white galleries that art critic Brian O’Doherty reflects upon. “The outside world must not come in, so windows are usually sealed off. Walls are painted white. The ceiling becomes the source of light . . . . The art is free, as the saying used to go, ‘to take on its own life.’” Defining Boundaries is a call to protect interior worlds, tight-knit artistic communities and to celebrate the words of Anais Nin: Had I not created my whole world, I would certainly have died in other people’s. This two day performance and installation urges for self-preservation against confessions representing larger issues, including addressing the media saturated with sexist representations mirroring the interconnected power of patriarchy and capitalism. Although we are exposed to the intimate disclosures Tange has collected, we witness her enacted isolation; a process that inspires insulation and protection of our own sacred interior spaces. Once this internal dominion is created, the self re-connects and re-gathers the deeply buried, fragmented inner parts and welcomes refuge where stillness and the inner workings of the mind, heart and spirit expand.
Kayla Tange was born in South Korea in 1982, and adopted at age six months by a Japanese American family residing in Lemoore, California. She moved to Los Angeles in 2000 and her love for photography slowly progressed into a conceptual performance practice where boundaries, sexuality and identity are recurring themes. Tange has had solo performances at Coagula Curatorial, Miami Art Basel, Highways Performance Space, New York Burlesque Festival and Asian Burlesque Extravaganza and performed alongside Ron Athey, Taylor Mac and Sheree Rose. She is the co-producer of Dear Mother (2017) —a short film about her Korean adoption and relationship to performance. Dear Mother has shown at the the Korean American Film Festival New York, Asian Pacific Film Festival in Los Angeles, San Francisco Short Doc Fest and Boston Asian American Film Festival.