We had the good fortune of connecting with Kate Gow and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kate, why did you pursue a creative career?
This is a question I’ve been trying to unravel for myself for a long time. Why art, and why dance specifically? The answer that I have now, which I’m sure will evolve with time, is that I’ve always been obsessed with collecting information. The idea that there is information in my body that doesn’t exist anywhere except in other bodies fascinates me, as the flow of information from teacher to student in a dance class mostly happens sensorially, not through any other medium. When I step into a studio I am delving deep into the research of myself– where my body is at any certain moment of time, what mental state I’m carrying into the structure of class, not expecting to have any grand epiphanies, but rather to do the slow, life-long work of getting to know oneself new every day. I’m eternally in a state of wanting to know more and wanting to process what I do know through movement– regardless of the many paths my life could’ve taken, I think I always would have ended up finding a way to sift through life kinesthetically. Dance is uniquely ephemeral in process and execution, and I think the best way to collect and remember that body knowledge is still yet to be found– so I’ll continue to move, think, and gather, and write it all down while I do it.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Growing up, everything felt like an either/or decision. Either you were right-brained or left-brained, creative or logical, Asian or white. I existed in the in-between– I was half-Japanese in a place where I had no one that looked like me to look up to, and I was constantly pulled in between academia and the arts. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college, when I volunteered at Professor Sydney Skybetter’s first Conference for Research on Choreographic Interfaces (CRCI) at Brown University that I walked into a room that valued dancerly knowledge in a way that I had never known possible– where the kinesthetic information I’d been gathering for all of my conscious life was upheld as intrinsic to creating a more just and equitable world. This was the in-between I had been looking for: where artists were considered experts who could make productive interventions in emerging technology, just the same as engineers, software developers, and roboticists. I kept going back to CRCI, and was hired as a Programming Associate after I graduated with Boston Conservatory’s first BFA degree in Dance & Technology, which I created for myself after coming back from Brown my freshman year. Recently, I’ve stepped into the role of Archivist, figuring out the best way to tell CRCI’s story and weaving together the many different threads of choreography, computation and surveillance– finding myself in the in-between of it all. It’s a unique position, creating an archive– though my work is to record, categorize, and contextualize, I leave fingerprints on everything I touch. What I choose to keep, where I place it, what I change the file names to: I am always showing my hand.

My personal art derives from the same triad of archive, memory, and the body. I teach and choreograph dance, write, and design digital spaces– all of which filter in to every other aspect of my life. When I speak about my work, my art, and by extension, myself, I often find myself saying “my membrane in very permeable.” Everything I do, everything I am, seeps into the thing next to it, and I am remain powerless to halt that motion.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My mentors and teachers have championed me in a way that I can only hope to pay it forward in the future– thank you to Sydney Skybetter, Joy Davis, Carlee Travis, and Joci Hrzic for all of your time, advice, and guidance. I never wanted to teach until I had teachers like you who made me say, “Oh, now the world needs more of this.”

Instagram: @kcgow

Image Credits
Victoria Awkward, Jim Coleman, The Mills Gallery at Boston Center for the Arts

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