Skye Hughes is an HPI 2018 artist who moved to Philadelphia from Boulder, CO to participate in the program. Her work is reaching toward a broad range of media this semester, including movement, film, photography, soundscapes, and acting. Skye is switching up her usual lengthy process and generating quick and smaller pieces each week.
Can you describe your experience at Headlong Performance Institute up to this point? Now that it’s our first day back from Fall break, where does that place you at this moment?
I think at the beginning, the first day we all met here and were introduced and had dinner, I was struck by how lovely everyone was. The faculty and the students, and that it was going to be really delightful, friendly, supportive, in really deep and meaningful ways. And it’s totally proven to be that. I think my favorite part of everything, of the program so far, are the people and the sort of sense of community and taking care of each other and having fun and being real. And then the commitment to making work consistently, and the consistency of morning practice, or even just the idea of a consistent coming to the table, getting ready for artmaking, and committing one’s day to that feels like it’s helping me shift and reorient the direction of my life because I’m like 'Oh ya, this is what’s important, and this is what feels right, and my prior priorities were really crushing this.' And now I’m just like 'Okay now I know exactly what I have to do in terms of work and life and location and all those things.’
The faculty are very personally invested in each student. I feel like they really really care. And present time…I feel kind of exhausted, and so it feels difficult to make work, but when I do succeed in making something I feel way , and it’s great. The faculty is extremely helpful in that regard.
Have you found yourself continuing creative ideas that were being born before Headlong? Or has new stuff flooded in since the beginning?
So new stuff has flooded in is the answer. I’ve been making smaller pieces week by week. Since there’s a lot of freedom and structureless making-- it’s pretty self-guided-- I’ve just sort of been making things ad hoc. And because I’m really busy with work outside of school as well, I don’t have the space to be working on bigger sort of longer-term projects. So week to week I make what’s possible, which is probably more useful for this program, and better use of my time.
And that’s pretty different from your history of art making, right?
Profoundly different, yeah. My work, I take years to form it. I have a project going which has already been a year or two in the making and is going to require a lot of people and a long process. It’s not possible to work on it here, which is totally fine, or maybe it is possible in some way, I don’t know! I can imagine the faculty also trying to find ways to support me in that. But I do feel like it’s been really beneficial to be making smaller work, just to be generative and be shaking up, ya know, the powers of creative flow. I hate that term, but ya know.
You also moved to Philly for HPI, can you talk about the transition from where you were to where you are now and how that’s affected your experience here?
I’ve really enjoyed living in Philly and starting to get to know the city. It’s like, it feels important to me to be in a location like this, a very like vibrant, lively place, in terms of performance. And so, ya, it’s so affordable compared to where I was living before. That was a huge treat! The food is not as good, that’s ok! Fine! But I think that’s another huge benefit of the program, is that it’s a very vibrant place.
We’re halfway through the semester at this point, what are you curious about unfolding going forward?
I’m curious about what is possible in the last couple of months that maybe wasn’t happening in the first. I feel like I’ve gotten, and we’ve gotten, a clear sense of the relationship of the teachers to our personal endeavors and maybe are beginning to get clearer on what we want during this time. So I'm excited to see what everyone and I come up with inside of this structureless structure and I’m hoping for more time to make work because the week includes a lot of class time. I imagine some people have time outside of Headlong to make things, but since I don’t, I really wish there were more time to make things. I guess that’s mostly it, and then having a showing at the end of the process feels like that’s going to kick us into a different gear. It’s felt sort of goalless the first months, which is cool, I like goalless times, but then, I’m like, 'Oh ya, goal times have a different impact on what we do and how we feel, so great!'
What’s one thing that someone in HPI or the performance world here might not know about you?
This is a funny one, I’m almost an ordained minister. Oh man! It’s not associated with any religion, but I will be able to do births, marriages, and death work. And also it’s a great tax write-off, you cannot believe, you can write-off your rent, everything! I’m going to marry all the queers!