Life Across the Country, a Photo Diary Series: Installment 2
I walk directly to Columbus Ohio's Newport Music Hall from my contemporary dance class, where I spent 90 minutes learning new Bartenieff exercises. But when I jump in the pit after photographing Dilly Dally and Fidlar, all that time spent puzzling out how to move my body drops away.
It isn't that contemporary dance and moshing aren't alike; each teaches weight sharing and bearing, and each places a focus on intentional bodily impact. The difference is that all of the sweaty, shirtless cis white bros in the Fidlar pit have never taken a contemporary dance class, nor have they learned to share weight with another person––they only know how to crush. Within my first five minutes of moshing, I push a dude over the barricade for recklessly throwing himself on myself and others. When a friend and I reconvene in a 24-hour Subway after the show, I learn that the same dude put his hands around my friend's neck in the pit, twice. They punched him the second time. If he hadn't been kicked out, I wonder, would there have been a third grab? A second punch?
At its best, a mosh pit is a site of communal risk and care. Bodies give and pull, and though the exchanged contact is acute, it's given consensually. Moshing isn't unlike the way I might pour myself into a dance partner, giving little by little, feeling them adjust into me. At its worst, a mosh pit is violent, not because of the pushing, jumping, or shoving, but because boundaries are overstepped.
Will it ever not be exhausting to be a body, moving in a space others have expanded upon? In my mind, the afterimage of a mosh pit foams, boy's bodies oozing to cover each moving thing they can.