The combatant was not an isolated individual: his actions were taken on behalf of the nation, a hierarchical military establishment, and an intimate, interdependent pla- toon – this was what distinguished martial combat from murder. In civilian as well as in martial contexts, the power of such institutions was frequently used to legitimate brutal behavior; people slipped into an agentic mode and acted in ways they would otherwise find unacceptable.
– Joanna Bourke
Over the course of Torres’s Fall Sponsorship at High Concept Labs she has worked on the development of Agentic Mode a new body of work deconstructing the technical form and logic of Muay Thai (martial art) as a model to contemplate the mental space of fear that creates outputs of violence. This investigation combines the multifaceted nature of violence both as a socioeconomic structure forcing Black and Brown neighborhoods to compete for resources, as well as the influence of historical wars such as the Vietnam war and its ongoing legacy felt through the ephemera of Tiger Stripe Camouflage print.
This is an attempt to locate a root problem of why do we fight each other? Are there any tangible solutions to solve the tension that make us hate and hurt one another? What is the proper way of defending without becoming the aggressor? And who is under attack?
Agentic Mode: Long Form is a 45-minute movement performance that employs audial soundscapes, literature and oral history.
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This series presents martial arts and self-defense from the perspective of prioritizing self-care and autonomy for bodies that are under attack – specifically black & brown, queer & trans bodies – and investigating the systems of power and violence that are in place. We present a series of performance art pieces, installations, and workshops that are inclusive, body-positive, and trauma-informed as a way to process these themes and strive toward empowerment.
High Concept Labs Fall Sponsored Artist, Marcela Torres with Stormé Legacy presents this series facilitated by Stormé Legacy collective members Alex Chen, Leila Elaqad, Diana Balitaan, and Myoko Leon. Stormé Legacy is a QTPOC (queer & trans people of color) martial arts collective that fosters an intersectional, trauma-informed, and anti-fascist culture of training.