The scores throughout all the “Modern Living” projects derive from a series of writing practices. The performers (an amalgam of young people, sometimes friends of Gerard & Kelly) are instructed to write on a personal topic (for example: describe your childhood bedroom) for 10 minutes straight, in an attempt to access the unconscious.
Gerard & Kelly then pull out segments they want to feature in the final performance, “the fragments that we think are meaningful not just to the performer, but that maybe will trigger memories for the listener, as well,” Kelly explained. (At Pioneer Works, he’ll occasionally take part in the performance himself.)
The pair believe that memory—like dance—exists in space. Kelly referenced an ancient Greek pneumonic device, loci, in which orators memorized long poems by associating certain lines with different locations. “We’re very interested in this notion of the house as a blueprint for memory,” he said.