Gerrit Rietveld Academie & Sandberg Instituut Research Fellowships Reader 2023
Fellows Published —

What was the starting point of your research project?

I am writing a novel inspired by magical realism, anti-colonial studies, DIY architecture, and macroeconomics. In it, a multi-generational community, already split across The Territory and The City, deals with a turbulent period brought on by abrupt regional property law changes. We find out how their lives change and how they choose to respond.

What approach did you take for the fellowship research project, and how does it relate to the role of research in your practice?

In the beginning, I knew that I wanted to embark on an embodied research process; I wanted to experience things the characters in the novel were going through. Property law is quite funny to me as it relates to water. Because I knew that the characters in the novel would need to do this, I wanted to make a boat. During this process I grew to think of it as a raft, and then it devolved into thinking of it simply as something that floats, which is actually a module, so: a floating module. I fell into a deep, deep rabbit hole of material research into things that float. I'm still in that hole, in the dark; there’s not much to say about it right now, but . . . I guess it points to the fact that my research role has been to gradually transform myself into the person who completes this project. I do that by being patient enough to not know how to explain or present all of my findings in a cohesive manner while I’m inside the process—which is my present state . . . still processing.

Your work is very interdisciplinary. You research how we come together through affective connections while, at the same time, you are interested in the stories that emerge from these encounters. What research methodologies do you use when so many of these encounters are imbued by subjectivity of both participants and yours as an artist?

I'm writing the novel. Once it is finished, its dialogue and verse elements will be performed on top of the floating module, which I will arrange to shape the theatrical set. I am going to film that performance, which I will then go back over and animate bits of. What you see in the exhibition are my earliest attempts at hand-drawn animation. These steps are interdisciplinary because the purpose and the process are more important to me than a strict sense of discipline. If I had to choose an allegiance, I would say I am a writer. And I will do whatever I feel I need to do to nourish that writing process. Earlier in the fellowship period, I made many plant-based extractions: teas, tinctures, elixirs, tonics. These energies are shifting to the aforementioned material research and drawing or drafting. What binds all of these things together is the rituals and the practices that I need to do—as a writer and as a person—to remain sentient, aware, open, and willing to shift modalities when I feel called to do so.

Text Exercise 1

Collage Floating Pavilion, 2022, digital collage based on research for 3P set design [using Ken Isaacs], by Taylor Le Melle

Collage, Text Exercise, 2022, digital collage based on research for 3P set design [using Noah Purifoy] Taylor Le Melle

Fossil, 2021, direct animation on 16mm film [practicing drawing on film], by Taylor Le Melle