I passed a note to her on the train: Who are you?
When I met her, I was 22. I lived in Fleetwood, in Westchester County. I would take the Metro down to the city and stay there all night, sometimes just wandering the streets until the Harlem line opened up again. The morning I met Katherine was after one of these all-nighters. I was sitting a few seats back from the front of one car, and I noticed this girl, in the front seat on the other side of the aisle. She was eating an orange. She was looking off into some place that a pre-conscious, pre-jungle, pre-Eden part of me recognized.
From where I sat, I could see her profile. She was sexy. A sly smile curled the corner of her lips. I could see the left side of her, and one lens of her bright eyes, and something was going on. I watched her eat the orange. The way she peeled it and took it in with her lips mesmerized me. It was erotic; it looked like the fucking thing tasted good. And it was more than that. What got me was this acute sense that the girl eating it was in on something. That there was something happening there, and what was happening was much more than a girl eating an orange on the train.
I wrote a note down on a piece of notebook paper. It read: Who are you?
I passed her the note.
For the rest of the ride north (she was only a stop or two after mine) we sat together. I instantly reverted back into young-guy-mode. I interacted using my persona, a gently wretched thing filled with insecurities and auric gaps. She was quick, friendly, and open. We became friends.
Some time later I watched her dance. Performance art. I remember a dark room and things billowing and her silhouette sweeping around; evanescent moments, shapes and auguries. I asked her to participate in a music video I was shooting in the east village for an unsigned band. We hung around some more and I moved away and she moved away. That was twelve years ago, and I’ve just recently found her again. And I’ve been reminded of the girl on the train, and the things that I recognized. How things begin is how they end.
I discovered this video on her facebook page. It was early in the morning, and I decided to check it out. I could’ve had no idea how it would strike me.
The thing with Katherine’s work/pleasure/art is this: It’s a direct skinny dip into the fucking sexual-amative ether. I’m telling you. If you watch, and listen, and slough off all of that nonsense you’ve been taught about rational deduction; if you can, for a moment, pin down the squirming worm of your brain just DYING to categorize, analyze and breakdown – if you can do this, you might find video (by Matt Feato) the way I found it: an oasis of the elusive obvious, where the elements of dance, light, and music line-up and hypnotize. There!- A silhouette passes in front of frame; the color has just rippled from gauzy pink to vermilion to cerulean. In just that spiderleg of a second, something entirely new is happening. Which is the dance, now? Which is the light? What is moving? What is experiencing?
Let this take you away. Give it a few seconds to get going, to lift you off, and then – you’re gone. Bye bye. Eat it, drink it, an extra side of trip-hop honey and finespun, immaculate dance. By two minutes in, I’m on the gangplank and tingling. By three minutes, I’m happily dying; when it all comes together for me at four, I’ve arrived in elysium, amid pounding breakbeat hooves, aerial and undone.
Katherine Kendall Video by Matt Feato. FLUID / ASIDES