Chartreuse (Colemxn Pester) December 2021

Chartreuse is a dancer/performer/artist based in Berlin. She is originally from Texas but spent much time on the West Coast in the US (San Francisco and Seattle) studying and making dance. She relocated to Berlin in 2018, and in doing so radically shifted her process as an artist. As she navigates transitioning, her artistic work has focused towards care, mutual aid, and sisterhood* for queers and trans femmes. The strongest influences on her practice come from Radical Faerie ritual/culture and the writings of adrienne maree brown.

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WEEK 1: REST

“How will you be useless to capitalism today?

A question to embody everyday. Journal. Meditate. Sleep on it. Daydream.

Please rest.

Disrupt and push back against a system that views you as a machine. You are not a machine. You are a divine human being. WE WILL REST!” -Tricia Hersey (The Nap Ministry)

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I often work with the tarot as a tool for divination, communing with questions, and courting the unknown. For this residency, I’m working with Cristy C. Road’s Next World Tarot.

Day 1- Three of Pentacles (“The Team”) Mars in Capricorn

This card is about the tangible. It is about resources. It is a reminder of our interconnectedness. It’s being held by the quilt that is woven by the collective. Taking time to regroup.

I also drew this card on January 1st, 2021 when asking for a tool to guide me through this year. This card presenting itself today is a reminder of a recurring lesson for me this year… that I don’t have to do it alone.

Today I’m landing in the studio tired, edging on burnout. It’s not the most ideal state to be entering a residency period. I’m taking care of my body. Stretching. Beyonce is playing on the speakers. Calling to the energies, allies, and friends that will be part of this collective with me for this month.

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Day 6- The Knight of Wands (“The Fire Starter”) …an invocation to the moon as a trans ally and sister*

The last time I was dancing in the “Big Studio” here at Lake Studios was an intense day where friend and artist Jeremy Wade informed me that a dear friend of mine, Mariana, had taken her life the night before. This space holds this memory for me… dissolving to the floor in grief and tears and building myself back up off of that floor. But here I am today laying on this floor again.

I began to walk in a spiral… calling to the moon. Today SOPHIE is playing on the speakers… (a brilliant trans sister lost too soon). I am reminded of the power that is bubbling just under my flesh, ready to be called on. I release it. My neck arches back. Cycles. The tides pulling. Bloodshed. A guiding light in darkness. I know this dance. Hello moon in the sky.

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Day 9- The 8 of Swords (Restriction), The 4 of Cups (Reevaluate), The Knight of Cups (The Love Song)

Today my friends and co-conspirators Judy and Theo visited the studio to join in the practice. We all drew a tarot card to name the energies we were holding. Judy is an illustrator and will be making a zine to document the process of this residency. We began to discuss Jupiter and it’s potential magic as a trans ally. We danced an invocation to Jupiter to a song by a super talented Berlin-based trans musician named Mandhla.

We made an altar to honor the (tr)ancestors, each offering some items. With each item came names and stories. What emerged was a beautiful and intimate moment. I could feel the presence of these (tr)ancestors with us as their stories were told and we laughed and smiled. After this we finished off the day with a care ritual in the sauna. Today was nourishing.

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WEEK 3: CARE

Day 13- The 9 of Cups (Happiness) Jupiter in Pisces

During this residency I have learned how to do my own estrogen injection. Yesterday I did my injection for the first time by myself. It felt like a big step and I’m feeling very at home in my body today.

While at Lake Studios I have been reflecting on the pressures and expectations to produce… that the dance studio is framed as a site of production. What does it mean to insert a community practice of care into that frame? How does it subvert production? In my application for this residency I was direct that my intention is to reappropriate resources (money, space, time) from institutions towards the communal care of trans femmes… that is this art practice… to invoke a pop-up care temple.

I have been lighting a candle every day for Ella, the Iranian trans women that took her life at Alexanderplatz in October. Her story is with me. Today I dedicated a dance to her. The dance was powerful.

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DAY 17- The King of Cups (“The Throne of Movement”)

I did a ritual today of sensually shaving my entire body as the sun was setting.

Today was Unfinished Fridays at Lake Studios. Within the framework of UF, I shared a bit about my process throughout the month at the residency. I showed the altar that was built. I mentioned my daily candle lighting process. I talked about Ella. I did my estrogen injection for the audience and then proceeded into a dance invocation. Before I started dancing, I invited the non-cisgender people in the room to accompany me and hold space. It was powerful and beautiful to feel their support and care. I’m grateful for my time that I’ve shared at Lake Studios.

My residency will conclude in a few days with a ritual on the night of the solstice, December 21st.

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