Current project: a tonal caress.

a tonal caress.

The desire to understand and be understood is at the core of human yearning. Every gesture, every movement opens a fleeting vulnerability, the opportunities and dangers of self-expression. NOW-ID and V. Project come together with sign-language poet Walter Kadiki to explore the challenges of communication and identity - the threshold of desire and potential - through the primal, wordless language of movement.

Photos by David Newkirk.

For the past few years, we have been considering ideas related to the nuances, beauty, and brutality of human expression. Our communications with each other- flawed as they often are - ultimately shape our identities and beliefs. We share a symphony of language, touch, and fleeting looks that is truly remarkable, yet it seems inadequate in the face of the infinite complexities between individuals and societies. Recent events have led to a breakthrough in our attempts to address these intricate questions through art, and we are excited to finally bring our vision to life through A Tonal Caress, to premier summer of 2018.

The divisiveness of the current political climate has created a sense of urgency around the notion that we must find better ways to connect with each other. In a stroke of good fortune, we have embarked on a collaborative project with Walter Kadiki, an Australian artist we believe will help us bring a new level of depth to the performance we are producing. Mr. Kadiki is a deaf poet known for his enthralling performances of sign language poems. In his words, Kadiki uses poetry as, "a special channel for expressing [his] innermost feelings without the strain of being misunderstood." This struck a chord with us, as we have been working to create an original performance focused on movement as a form of communication.

Poet Walter Kadiki

Walter is a master of weaving signed poetry and visual vernacular into poetic performance. He is known for his profound and engaging signed poetry and storytelling that bridges cultures and is accessible to deaf and hearing audiences. He has delivered workshops for young people across Australia in Deaf Slam Poetry, has worked with community groups to create the poems such as Butterfly Hands which was performed at Federation Square in Melbourne, and in Geelong. Walter has performed his signed poetry at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, ACMI and various events across Australia.

"I started composing deaf poetry at a very young age with the influence of family members who were also into poetry. Poetry was a special channel for expressing my innermost feelings without the strain of being misunderstood. My earliest poems were mostly about the frustrations of living in the hearing world, of being misunderstood, underestimated and frowned upon. The poem tones changed with each phase of my upbringing. That is, poems of sorrow, and then self-condemning, and then of dreams that were far beyond my reach, and then love and so on."

Graphics by Cameron Hooyer.

Graphics by Cameron Hooyer.