Ryan M. McKelvey

A Brief Biography

Formative years in poetry and theatre brought me to collaboration, drag, and live art. My performances are usually one-to-one encounters or other, more public, explorations of intimacy. Alter egos occasionally get slipped on, too. I hold an MA in Performance & Visual Practices from the University of Brighton and a BA in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. From 2010-2013, while in Korea, I created ensemble theatre, developed narrative solo performances, and worked as a drag queen. It was during this time that Zoya and I came together to form Home Soil. Upon moving to England in 2013, I began experimenting with durational & installed work, as well with work that intervenes in public spaces. I also write poems and essays. Over the past eight years, I have performed in Seoul, Brighton, Bath, New York City, and Pittsburgh.

Artist Statement

I have never really had a dedicated studio practice, and I’m honestly not sure what I’d do with a studio most days. My work is so often imagined and conceptual until it’s not, until it’s live. As a live artist, I contrive performances, rituals, and situations for observers or participants. I think about social interactions and intimacies I’d like to have with others. Then, I devise one-to-one engagements and other types of performances. In recent years, my performance and writing practice have become more closely entwine. My work as a whole seeks to think through, what I’ve recently been referring to as, ‘blind communion’. Not blind as in unknown or unseen but as an expansion of possibility, serendipity, and chance encounter.

My performance work assumes an ephemerality and lack of artifact. I try to stretch these limits, i.e. the limitations of normative time and event, through performative photography and film work. I’m also encouraging myself to explore mixed-media object-based markers of live work, as well. I’ve been thinking about conventional film-and-photo documentation and how it ruptures or deflates the one-to-one encounters. As I move forward with the form, I hope to conceive of alternative, more project-appropriate methods of documenting intimacy.

With Home Soil I am further encouraged to explore intimacy in the public realm. I’m currently devising performances from America, hoping to share internationally this summer & autumn, and reaching out more. Community and contact are vital—stay in touch!