ADMA 2021-2022


Dages Juvelier Keates


We do not know what “the body” is. To whom does it belong? How far does it extend? I have researched these questions as a dancer, choreographer, herbalist, body worker, teacher, poet, analysand, yoga practitioner and student of Hasidic Judaism. This year, I focused on the amanita muscaria as a metaphor and a method for deepening my research into ephemeral, in/digestible, “fruiting” bodies.

“Bodies that perform forbidden actions become forbidden themselves, marked as unnatural, offensive, defiant. This is also where queer sexuality meets queer ecology, including the effect of fungi on agriculture and agricultural metaphors.” Patricia Kaishian & Hasmik Djoulakian, 2020

Our bodies are never bound or closed. To have a body is to possess needs that must be satisfied by the consumption of other bodies for survival. Neither fungi nor their human descendents are able to directly translate energy from the sun into; lacking chlorophyll, we can’t make sugars from sunlight or carbon dioxide, necessitating our reliance on other matter for food. We are dependent on “Others.” Our sense of self is created in a dialectic with the construction of the Other: living or dead, assimilable or not. To be born with a body, with breath, is to be born with the Other already inside.

We are what we eat. We are what we internalize. We are the other. We are a queer assemblage of genetic histories, imperatives, genocides, gendered, racialized, classed chronologies that define our initial rubric of existence. We are born into asymmetries between our parents, and between their bodies and “the world.” The mycelial mat is the largest organism on the planet. As the nerve net of trees, this mat conducts nourishment between beings we perceive as individual mushrooms. We see the mushroom as a fruiting body that quickly blooms and decays, but the system in which it is embedded has the potential to live for the duration of the world. Mycelium, like the unconscious, has mobility: a world wild web of cells and their chemical excretions extending often invisibly through the substrate. The mobility of movement through “the web” occupied my focus for the second half of the year. Just as fingers seek mushrooms in the woods, fingers “search” out new worlds in the wilds of search engines, in which we touch connections into existence. To “google” is to seek, follow curiosity, make connections, spend time, feeding our touch, gaze, and desire into the computer- a touch that makes the world.

What is fed into the machine in turn feeds us. Through targeted ads, our desires are fed back to us, amplified, perverted. The internet proliferates in the increasing depersonalization of power. But power has not disappeared, it has become diffuse. Whose desire is it that drives the search?

What makes us? What craves us? What eats us? If we are what we eat, are we also what eats us? What/who craves us? Kill and consumes us? Why do we want what is bad for us?

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Dages Juvelier Keates (she/they) is an artist working with and through the materiality of their body as a somatic space for holding paradox. Their transdisciplinary praxis spans performance, choreography, dramaturgy, writing and pedagogy. Deeply influenced by psychoanalysis, they carry out a queer feminist study of the subjective body as an accumulation of unanswered questions; a carnal, poetic, ephemeral archive entangled within and between “others.” They have recently led classes and workshops at University of Gothenburg/PARSE Research Conference (Gothenburg, Sweden), Paideia European Institute for Jewish Studies (Stockholm, Sweden), University of North Carolina (North Carolina, USA), Ariana Reines’ Invisible College (New York, USA), and The Royal Institute of Art (Stockholm, Sweden). In 2018, Dages published “Radical Acts of Embodiment,” released with a reading at McNally Jackson in New York City. Dages holds a BA from Bard College (dance and choreography), a transdisciplinary MA from New York University (2014), and an Advanced Masters from Sint Lucas Antwerpen (2022). They live and work between Stockholm, Sweden and New York City.