Cataloguing Compliments//Commonplacing Experiences [Anicka Austin]

Cataloguing Compliments//Commonplacing Experiences [Anicka Austin]


a reflection from movement works (Lum. and untitled)
involving collecting things as a way to create meaning, assess value and recognize power in thoughts, words and movement ritual. taking liberties with commonplacing, a method of compiling knowledge (quotes, measurements, movie titles) and writing them in a book.

'commonplacing' experience: from the idea of writing down information that can be referred back to, I’m curious about collecting experience that is then written on our bodies through marks -- seen (scars, body language, studio floor costume glitter) or unseen (thought processes).  Facts, recipes and happenings are stored inside of our bodies, and as movers we pull from these informational journeys. Or it pulls us, a deep-dwelling linger in the body that shows up as a language spoken though limbs. How do we use collected experiences to manifest meaning inside of our choreographies? It is making an {abstract, simple, human} experience in the dance real and meaningful by remembering, through movement --- what is important. As an audience member, when I'm watching, those movements resonate with my collected experiences, and the memories that come up are the ones that have meaning, value and power in that particular moment.


Reassessing {Assessing} value is a function of art.

Reassessing {Assessing} value is inherent in collecting.

Reassessing {Assessing} value means acknowledging where focus lies.

Infusing focus into what is valuable to you grows that valuable thing.


Collected compliments and wishes were the focus In Lum. and untitled.



Below is a series of a few commonplaced compliments collected during untitled. Audience members wrote the compliments {to themselves, someone next to them or someone who wasn't in the room at the time} on a skirt made of curtains, hanging from the ceiling. Towards the end of the performance, I slipped into the skirt from underneath, broke the strings attaching it to the ceiling with my teeth, and wore the skirt, draping myself in compliments. I later transcribed them to a book.  This work and Lum. are performances more closely connected to the traditional idea of commonplacing. Performance has now become a multi-layered embodiment of commonplacing. 


All are anonymous. 

Your presence is huge and calm

             like a tsunami of tissues. 

Beauty is too simple a word

                  for your courage. 

I think you make a lot of sense.

You are perfectly beautiful

              in whole.

Bare souls.

You did amazing things today.

You're very fashionable and one of the

            best people I've ever known. 

I wish the best for you.

           You were good and are still good.



Moments like this are meant to be. Made beautiful memories.

Your presence and strength

              have inspired (me) to go on. 

Mom, if only you could see how beautiful you are. You radiate. 


One compliment to humanity, inspired by untitled, collected from poet, Mehtab Khalsa.
The first in a series of eleven:

Oh humanity, you are Creative! You are the creative light in

infinite colors of the rising sun. You are creative light that dreams change.

She and he, you and me, together we are creative humanity!



Sibyl, group show curated by Kelly Blackmon (my work inside of Sibyl was untitled)
April 30, 2016 at 368 Ponce
Performed and choreographed by me.

Costumes by Marian Austin


Lum. was performed as part of Fulton County Arts and Culture’s National Dance Week.
April 27 and 28, 2016 at Abernathy Arts Center and West End Performing Arts Center
Dancers: Simon Phillips, Simone Stevens, Erin Rauch and Julia Weiss.
Choreographed by me.
Costumes by Marian Austin



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At this moment, Anicka likes the words healing, rich, honest and any derivation of love, including loveable, loving and lovemaking. She works with bodies and movement in Atlanta and is
incredibly grateful for this. 


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