Kate Madara is a current HPI 2018 artist focusing on intertwining her photography background with experimental performance. Outside the studio she works at Children's Hospital as an Ultrasound technician and spends her time rejuvenating with animals and nature. 

Can you describe your experience of Headlong Performance Institute so far?

I feel like the program is very good at guiding a collaborative group process. I feel I’ve gotten to exercise muscles of myself that I haven’t been able to exercise or have access to in years. I’m in a space I haven’t been in in a really long time, and that’s been really nice to access while I work on my art in in a really open and joyful space. I feel a lot of healthy tension that allows me to explore different facets of my art making practice so it can be sustainable and work for the communities I'm interested in serving. I think the projects that we’ve done have been very well organized, and different exercises that we do are just very thoughtful and compassionate. The staff is just really good at making sure everything is taken care of, from the basement to the attic basically.

Living in Philly for a while now, how would you say being at HPI fits in with the rest of your Philly self?

Totally different experience. It’s starting to kind of line up a little bit more, but when I came here, it was the total opposite of my experience of being in Philly. I've gotten clarity and understanding of what parts of me were driving that versus what parts of my environment I was absorbing and casting back out. Also, because I’m usually really busy, it’s nice to have a space where I can keep working on those things consistently and not have to let something drop and then spend more time later on picking it back up before being able to move forward with it.   

Giving you space within the chaos of everything to focus?

Ya, it’s helped me feel more connected to Philly. Sort of being able to see places and spaces in my life where things were going well that I couldn't see before, because I didn’t know how to focus on them.

Do you feel like you’ve brought creative material in with you from before Headlong, or has being in the program sparked an interest in all these things you didn’t know about?

It’s very grey for me. All of my projects are, well, I’m a collector and my work usually takes years to solidify, construct and find a place for.  One thing I have appreciated is the ways in which I’ve been able to talk about what I do to myself that are completely new, and I'm even gaining new words to do so. I've been working on that for about a year or so, but in a way that wasn’t necessarily rooted in myself or my experience, more like healing other spaces outside of myself.

What I was working on before I got here, I knew I wasn't sure where it was going to go. So, I carried a little bit with me, but most of the projects I’m working on have shifted quite a bit.  The structure of the main piece I'm working on I had developed, but the last couple weeks have been about a whole thing opening up that I didn’t even see. And it’s really good. Some of that is just research, but a lot of it has to do with the ways in which I’ve kind of grown and gotten to let go of a lot of my past, and find new ways of seeing my world.  My work is pretty ephemeral and as my process goes along different parts really hit me as the thing rooting, built over time.

What are you curious about unfolding in the future weeks of Headlong?

I haven’t put a lot of definition to that, especially because it’s a very experimental kind of explorative space, so I want to honor that about the space and take advantage of that in myself because most of my work that I have made has been so targeted and specific.  I wanted to give a space for myself of kind of mushing around things and collecting and seeing how it comes up.  I've had trouble with one way my work has functioned in the past, that I've been working for some time to clarify.  Luckily, with the help of the HPI community I've made huge strides in that.

Seems like it aligns with your desire to mush around for a while, because maybe there’s less specificity?

Ya, I think I had such a pointed way of looking at my process.  I really feel like I could find other ways to approach those things, and all that kind of lines up with this bigger conversation I've had about myself.  As a humans, I can’t cut a part of myself off like it doesn't exist, but it’s about how to let those things go and be soft and explore what’s happening, and let that inform what kind of gathers and blooms around that.

Is there any fun fact that people at HPI or in the art world might not know about you?

I really really enjoy going into the woods and talking to trees and animals. Ya, it’s my favorite thing to do for myself.

See Kate’s work!