Kit Yan

The following artistic statement is taken from Kit Yan’s bio page,

Read the text below.

As Kit does, make a list of some of the categories and memories that you think define you as you—that make you who you are.
Are you that person in public? Sometimes? Never? Only with some people or in some places? How might constructing stories from memories help us begin to imagine our full selves into visibility, as if you are “a little sculpture made of everyday moments.”

Artistic statement: When I think about storytelling, I think about people. How complicated, beautiful, messy, and strange we can be. How everything about us is a little sculpture made out of everyday moments in our lives. I am who I am because I am Asian, I am transgender, and I was raised poor in Hawaii. I love all of these things about me and my stories reflect the experiences I’ve had- the time I got a blood transfusion because I stopped taking T without consulting my doctor, the time I went on tour with my best friend who I was in love with, but who was in love with our drummer, the time in my life when I took step aerobics classes with older women who kicked my ass and made me feel free in my body. Without all these memories, I wouldn’t have stories. And without these stories I wouldn’t remember.

Life Writing Workshop: Reclaiming Your Own Narrative

Think about a story that someone else has told about you that you see differently than the teller. Maybe it’s a story your parents have told about you when you were a baby. Maybe it’s something a sibling has said about the way they treated you (or you treated them). Maybe it’s some gossip (true or untrue) that a peer shared by you.

Write down that original story about you from the perspective of that other person.

Now, look that story over. Why do you see it differently than the original teller? What did they get correct? What did they get wrong? What did they miss? Answer these questions by editing the story you wrote down: make a list of missed details, or highlight things that are actually correct, or write notes in the margins about missing information, or strikethrough details and events that are wrong from your perspective.

Now, review the edits that you made. Ask yourself: how is this story different now?

On a fresh sheet of paper (or document or canvas or slide show or…), start with this line: If I had the power to tell my own story, it would have gone like this.

Now…just continue. Retell the story, but fix the narrative. To quote Kit Yan, “be truthful to your own experience of the world.” If the original story included any feelings of anxiety or shame, how you can expose those? Is there something about you or your life since the events of the story that shows you in a more complex, multi-dimensional way? Something that shows you being joyful?

When you’re “re-telling” this story, feel free to do it in any format that feels right. Maybe it’s a quick essay. Maybe it’s a poem. Maybe it’s some visual art. Maybe it’s a short play. Maybe it’s an opinion piece or editorial. Whatever allows you to take back your own narrative.

Considerations for the Performance

Darren Canady, KU Professor of English

Experiencing a live performance is dynamic by design. When you are in the same physical space as Red Sky Performance, these artists intend to affect you on a palpable, human level. But for that to happen, you have to be an active and engaged collaborator in the experience. The best way to do that is to do some simple tracking during the piece.

Questions for Engaging a Performance

The best way to do that is to do some simple tracking during the piece. Pay attention to:

  1. What visuals catch your eye? What “pictures” are being created by the artists?
  2. How is the space being used? Does it feel expansive? Does it look compact?
  3. What’s in the soundscape? What are the textures of the music that you hear? What’s sounds exist that are NOT music?
  4. How are the human bodies you see affected by the above? What is the relationship between body, voice, sound, and space in this performance?
  5. What story is being told? What are the major points of that story?
  6. Now this one is major so make sure you’re giving it some attention: What emotions do you feel throughout the piece? Why? What moments arrest you? What moments leave you with questions?
  7. After the performance finishes, take just a few seconds to write down a list of sensory words, adjectives, or emotions you’re left with. Use these to form questions for the artists and as artifacts to explore during the rest of the curriculum.
  8. How does this performance allow you to notice or experience your own body in a new or different way?

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