Place Holder (working title) is a performance work collaboratively made by Kayla Hamilton and Kate Speer that exposes how surveillance actualizes and strips identities. Steeped in the air we breathe, surveillance has become an unassumed daily factor in our lives. We are particularly wary of the dominance of sight in surveillance, the racism built into computer programming, and how environments can either permit “authentic” expression or heighten covering of identity, to name a few concerns. From facial recognition on our phones to police brutality of black and brown bodies, how does surveillance circulate through the state, families, friends, and ourselves? What environmental cues trigger censorship or code-switching? And when a surveillance system is built around ableism, white supremacy, and capitalism, where are the cracks and breaks to thwart the system and counter it? How does one respond in these environments and the positive and negative repercussions of those choices?

Place Holder is the first collaboration between Hamilton and Speer who met while performing for Gesel Mason Performance Projects. Attuned to Gesel Mason’s embodied, investigative process the two have cultivated a shared intimacy through this shared practice. The artistic relationship has shifted from a place of unfamiliarity to a place of curiosity to unpack the richness and complexity of their differences (in terms of race, age, geography, and ability) and in doing so touched upon the moments of friction and connection. This process-oriented project will work towards a practice of equity, reciprocity, and reparations to shape a space in which we truly “move” within collective “spaces.” 

Place Holder is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by RedLine (Denver, CO) in partnership with Gibney Dance (New York City, NY), Building Bridges Art Exchange (Santa Monica, CA), and NPN. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information: The residency at BBAX was supported in part by Colorado Creative Industries.

About Kayla Hamilton

Kayla Hamilton balancing on one foot while

Kayla Hamilton is an artist, producer, and educator originally from Texarkana, Texas and now resides in Bronx, NY. Kayla earned a BA in Dance from Texas Woman’s University and an MS Ed in Special Education from Hunter College. She is a member of the 2017 Bessie-award winning collective of the skeleton architecture, the future of our world’s curated by Eva Yaa Asantewaa. In addition to Skeleton Architecture, Kayla dances with Gesel Mason Performance Projects, Sydnie L. Mosley Dances, and Maria Bauman/MBDance. Kayla has been supported by Paloma McGregor/Angela’s Pulses, Brooklyn Arts Exchange and Dance USA Institute of Leadership Training. Under the name K. Hamilton Projects, Kayla self-produces numerous projects, organizes community events, and writes arts integrated curriculum throughout NYC. When Kayla is not dancing, she’s a special education teacher at the Highbridge Green School who loves to watch Law and Order on Hulu while sipping on peppermint tea.