On Illegibility by Yun Ingrid Lee
Presented as part of the Eclipsing Festival, February 3, 2019 at Links Hall (*)
Images by Katarzyna Perlak
Your neutral masked face is unknown
You are literally unrecognizable, mistaken for someone else
Your features are ambiguous
I wonder if you prefer to be identified as
I wonder how you prefer to identify
You perform a soft hand dance
Gestures of confidence, knowledge, insistence
With wrists circling and fingers splayed
I am convinced
I question my complicity
My privilege lies in thinking I have nothing to hide
Your body in the flesh and your digital projection
Pulsing in and out of sync
The computer will determine whether you pass
Whether you are valuable enough to be seen
And yet you are the one in control, manipulating the situation
Like sardines appearing to disappear
And can you see me?
Sitting in the dark audience
And do you think:
I too can silver
Your face shifts and is mutilated
You warp your own visage
You pull, push, and twist your flesh
Are you a victim or a perpetrator?
I wonder about facial recognition for babies
Can their sex, age, and ethnicity be identified
Even though they are too young to consent
have object permanence
or eat solid foods?
Your face is finally revealed
I audibly exhale
This is you
or at least that’s how you appear.
Aurora Tabar is a Chicago-based performing artist and occupational therapist. Her professional and creative practices examine the process of healing and the potential for transformation. Aurora’s current project, The Existential Coat Check, is a roving pop up booth that invites participants to shed their ‘psychic’ baggage through writing and drawing activities. She has presented live performance locally at Links Hall, High Concept Laboratories, The Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago Cultural Center, and Outer Space Studios. Alongside Carole McCurdy, she is co-curatoring Power Ouch!, a festival of body-based performance taking place at Links Hall February 14-17, 2019. Aurora works in special education, helping young people with disabilities learn and build functional skills. She lives on the west side of Chicago with her partner and their two cats.
(*) PRJ is partnering with Links Hall to celebrate their 40th anniversary by providing a platform for artist-to-artist responses to the work that is presented as part of the Pay-the-40th-Forward season. Thank you, Links Hall, for all that you do for the dance and performance communities in Chicago. Congratulations on 40 years!