Michel Yang is an American born, Brussels-based performance artist. Her work explores notions on identity and cultural hybridity. Her own creations have involved rewriting scars, brick-laying her body, fashioning heels out of candle holders, teaching French while speaking fake Chinese… Such works root from her practices on tracing resistance, framing identity, and embodying objects, spectres, and nothing. Michel’s primary medium is the body, however, video and photography have recently begun to enter her work as extensions of her body practice.
Michel received a Master of Fine Arts in Dance at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 2000 she relocated to Brussels, Belgium where her curiosity carried her to other branches of dance and performance, working in inter-disciplinary projects, improvisation, and performance installations. Michel has worked with Lilia Mestre, Stefan Dreher, Pierre Droulers, Mia Lawrence, and Walter Verdin to name a few.
As a teacher Michel’s subjects are contemporary dance, improvisation, and forms of materialization. A few places where she teaches include Ultima Vez, The Royal Conservatory Antwerpen, Summer Studios, Charleroi Danses, D.A.N.C.E. Apprentices, Washington University… .
FRAME OF RESEARCH
Oracle – Voicing Singularity Together
Oracle is Michel Yang (BE/US), Justine Maxelon (BE/DE) and Caroline Daish (BE/AUST) collaborating with philosopher/artist, Kathleen Coessens (BE). We come together to explore embodied vocalization.
Oracle is a body-voice improvisation practice. It takes the form of a sharable act that involves individuality in a communal setting. Rather than focusing on composition or singing from a musical practice, Oracle explores inner sensations coming from a body practice, manifests them vocally, while connecting oneself with the collective and the environment. The invisible becomes concrete, not through sight but through sound. As a closed-eyes practice, we access another form of self, heighten listening and investigate duality within, between, among ourselves and the spectator. Voices meet in (dis)harmony. Our physicality embodies the situation bridging (dis)harmony to the visual. Vocal architecture, blind interaction, and movement score create an abstruse reading of the space and moment.
Oracle began in December 2015. Each of us came with a different motivation to devise a voice-body practice. We quickly found complicity in our ways of working and commonality in our questions. Caroline researches spatial sound and empathy; Justine explores texture and materiality of movement and voice; Michel, confronting illness, seeks vocalizing as an alternative, obscure and concrete way to touch the unknown and hostile. Together our urgencies resulted in a responsive practice to confront individual vocality within the communal.
Since then Oracle has evolved and been exposed to various contexts – performance, workshop, spontaneous interventions, sonic parcours, installation, laboratory… While permeable and ever changing, Oracle presently takes the form of an eyes-closed performance practice reading different spaces; train stations, parks, institutions, forests, public libraries, urban gardens, waterways and private living spaces.
For the residency at Bains, we will recollect ourselves to focus on Oracle and healing. Each of us will guide the oracle practice touching on meditation, building our lexicon of tools, and addressing vocal agency. As a permeable practice, we invite other artists to share embodied knowledge with the collective through participation.
Additionally we will deepen our exploration of live scoring of Oracle sessions. For this we will focus on gathering artists of other disciplines (drawing, graphic, writing…) to experiment with translating the vocal landscape into their respective disciplines.