Brendan Fernandes Talk Video
Description of Brendan Fernandes talk video
Transcript of Brendan Fernandes talk
Gwen Perry Davis: I'm Gwen Perry Davis. I'm the senior director of development here at the MCA. And I'm so excited to welcome you tonight to the opening celebration for A Call and Response by Brendan Fernandes. Tonight's event is sponsored by Emerge, and I'm so happy to see so many Emerge faces in the room. Emerge is our affinity group of art enthusiasts and collectors who support the museum through the annual acquisition of a work by an artist not represented in the MCA's collection.
Part of that process of acquiring an artwork is also to stimulate and encourage the group's interest in, and commitment to, learning about, and from, some of the most amazing contemporary artists of our time. Thus, we are here tonight with the fantastic Brendan Fernandes. I want to thank two people in particular this evening for their support of Emerge. Sara Albrecht is in the room. Sara is our Emerge chair and a longtime MCA trustee. [I want to thank her] for her leadership of the group.
And I'd also like to thank Grace Deveney, our Emerge curatorial liaison and the MCA's assistant curator, for her guidance in one of the most engaging seasons that we've had. Thank you both, Sara and Grace.
This fall, Emerge will celebrate its tenth anniversary, and if you're interested in learning more about this program, please find me or any of the MCA staff after the program this evening. We'd love to tell you about it and welcome you into our group. And now it's my pleasure to introduce the fantastic MCA Curator of Public Programs, and––she's prompted me to say this––my favorite, favorite colleague, January Parkos Arnall, and the also equally fantastic Brendan Fernandes, for an engaging discussion on the work you will see later this evening in the Commons, A Call and Response. Brendan and January.
January Parkos Arnall: And so I made Gwen say that because she's also my favorite colleague, so––[laughing] I like to feel like it's a mutual…
Brendan Fernandes: I can't see anybody. This is kind of crazy.
JPA: I know, it's very dark. But we'll all get to see each other later, 'cause this talk is actually sort of happening in two parts. We're gonna chat briefly onstage here and get to some core pieces of Brendan's work, and then we're all going to go upstairs to the Commons and talk about the installation itself before we then have some drinks and light bites together, which will be fun. By way of introduction, I wanna thank Gwen and of course Emerge, who have been such incredible supporters of the museum and, especially, our work with our local arts community and ascending artists and emerging artists here at the museum. So, really appreciate the work that you all are doing with us. I'm so thrilled to be speaking with Brendan Fernandes. The exhibition A Call and Response opened yesterday but it has been about two years in the making [laughter] that we've been discussing [it].
JPA: Brendan has exhibited––I'm gonna give you a little bit of background before we start chatting––Brendan has exhibited and performed at the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, of course the Whitney Biennial, which many of you may have already seen in New York, to much acclaim. Brendan's work is currently on view and through, what? September? Yes.
BF: September 15th.
JPA: Excellent. All of that's just within the last couple months. [Laughing] He's also shown at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the National Gallery of Canada, the Andy Warhol Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, so many more. And in fact, just in the last two years, as we've been planning this show, we've been given a special treat here in Chicago to see two solo exhibitions of Brendan's work at the Graham Foundation and at the DePaul Art Museum.
So luckily, and I was so pleased to see my colleagues Sarah Herda and Julia Rodrigues Widholm, who organized those exhibitions, really took on different aspects of Brendan's work. And so, the piece that we took on with the exhibition here, I thought, would kind of focus on that, as I know many of you may have seen Brendan speak, and talk about his work. We're showing you lots of examples of the breadth of his work here.
But I thought we could kind of talk more about the sort of socially engaged and participatory work.
BF: Sure. Yeah, definitely. I'm here to talk.
BF: Again, thank you for coming. Thanks for having this conversation, and, yeah, let's do it.
JPA: Excellent. Brendan was born in Nairobi, Kenya to parents of Goan descent. You grew up in Toronto; you lived in New York for many years; you spent time in Los Angeles, and now Chicago is home, and we are keeping him here.
BF: I'm home.
JPA: It occurs to me often that your unique background, growing up in so many different places, has kind of given you a unique sense of like attunement to the city, to the ways that we move in our urban environments. I wonder if you could talk a little bit about the ways that you kind of came to know the urban environment and the way we move, and the works that have been inspired by that?
BF: For sure. When I always make dances or when I'm performing myself, I'm always thinking about collaboration and communities, right? Engagement and moving as groups, right? And in just my trajectory of living in different cities or in different places, it's always been cities. So, the urban space has been something that has really been something that I consider. And I've been thinking a lot about, how do we move through spaces? Where do we stop within spaces?
'Cause urban spaces are always asking us to continue to move. And I think about that socially and politically through capitalism as an act. When we're stopping, there's a sense of us being idle, or being lazy, or not working. So [I’m] thinking about the questions of, like, labor. In a lot of my work as a dancer, as a professional dancer, former dancer, I always think about those spaces of rest, stop, stillness, as activated spaces.
Spaces that still are engaged within our bodies but also those spaces that challenge. And I think that's something I think about as something that challenges, like urban spaces. We're always asked to move, but where do we stop? Where do we sit? Where do we take breaks? And so that space for me also becomes a space of contemplation, of conceptual thinking, a space to gather. And so, when I think about it in sort of a social and politically engaged space, I'm also thinking about critical mass.
How do we bring bodies together to come and gather? In the back, in the green room, I was talking to you about [how] when I was in India a number of years ago, there was an actual law that bodies that gathered in groups of five or more were illegal because that kind of sense created a presence of, like, trouble. That bodies coming together will create protest. And so, I kinda think about those notions of moving as forms that take on conceptual rigor in my choreography.
But then I also think about the spaces of even protest or even talking through a city. Everyday learned choreography. How we walk in this museum for example––those rules and etiquettes that come from social structure––how do we then break those down?
JPA: And so, when you're thinking about breaking those movements down––first of all, give us some examples of movements that are particularly interesting to you. And then, how can your movements and your choreographies and performances kind of help us as a general public that doesn't necessarily think about the ways that we move so much? How can it maybe encourage us to think differently about our cohabitance of the city?
BF: Sure, I think just the way that we travel, like in our daily life, through like a work ethic. We wake up; we have a certain trajectory of action to get to a space. And I think we're all movers. Dancers are trained in a specific kind of way and techniques, and we actually augment and transform our bodies to do different things. But in our everyday, even just walking––I think walking is such a political gesture. So, I think in our everyday we need to notice them more, right?
We do them, but we don't necessarily give them acknowledgement. And so even in some of my work, thinking through, studying with Yvonne Rainer in New York, thinking about: What is a pedestrian gesture? How do I acknowledge it? So I think it's about becoming more aware of it. And I also think that 'cause I want it to be social and political, so to find criticality within that system. That system being, like, "the institutional system," but also through the kind of things that we've already been taught, or how we've been told to move.
I do it a lot in the museum, and we're gonna be doing it here, but I'm sort of thinking about criticality within systems, and making the change from within. 'Cause I feel like if I just sort of did something and it just sort of happens, and it's not acknowledged, then it gets erased. So, I'm also thinking a lot about visibility/invisibility, which comes up a lot in this project through games.
JPA: And I know you've talked a little bit about the power that can be a part of invisibility. We think of power being sort of aligned with visibility or loudness, but what is that power that comes with quiet and with being invisible? That sort of pause in the frenetic movement of the city? What are those sort of powers?
BF: Yeah, I think there is always this question that within spaces, we wanna be heard, we wanna be seen. And so, I'm questioning: What does it mean to be invisible? What does it mean to be not heard? And I know that sometimes when I'm dancing, specifically on a stage space, people are watching me, but I don't see anyone. It's just within my own space. I'm really kind of contemplating that performance space of labor, and that specific moment that is very specific to a performer in their own body.
'Cause when an audience is, for example, watching, they see something totally different than what's happening on stage in my body. And so I think about that as well on the stage. But then in the city space, the everyday space, it's like we're just in a crowd. We're just kind of moving in and out, and sometimes that can be a positive thing. We don't necessarily always have to be visible. So, I'm still pushing that idea a lot in my thinking through the choreography.
In this piece A Call and Response, the choreography is based on three structural games: call and response, follow the leader, and hide-and-seek. So there'll be these moments, these prompts to ask them to hide. And how do they hide, and what does that mean to be visible or to be invisible, where bodies come together and form one mass, where you can't see where the bodies are? And so really thinking about that idea of camouflage, invisibility, and how, in a city space, we also kind of take that on.
JPA: You've talked about and used the words "queering public space" before. It strikes me that those are aligned, what you're talking about here, and I wonder if you can kind of talk a little bit more about what that means, to queer a public space? How queerness has really fed your work so much?
BF: Yeah, and I will just first note that my definition of queer is an open moniker for self-identification. So, within that space it's not necessarily about a gendered or a sexualized body. It can be, but it's also open to many other forms of being inclusive. So even when I do calls for dancers, I never say I want this kind of body type, 'cause that was why I stopped dancing, because my body was deemed not danceable. And so, I think about that as a space of like when I ask my dancers to––
In open calls, I'll say like, "I'm looking for strong and otherwise authoritative bodies. So, if you feel you fit into that definition, then you can partake." So that openness for inclusivity to be self-announced, to be self-authoritative is kind of what I think about in my performance spaces. And the performance itself is always kind of nonbinary. It's not on a stage; it's not performed. We don't have an audience, a clap, or bow. So again, breaking down those etiquettes, breaking down those traditions and those rules of how we are expected to see performance.
When I get asked, 'cause I'm a dance artist or performance artist, those people are like, "Well, how much are the tickets? Where are the tickets? Like where––?" And I'm like, "The form is changing," and that's where it becomes hybrid, and it becomes undefined. In my process I also kind of challenge that. So, for example, it's collaborative. My work is always collaborative. There are so many collaborators here that I wanna thank as well like Norman Kelly, architects who work with me on installation––to make these props, these devices that the dancers can participate in. But then my dancers. My dancers are giving me their body, their minds, their energies. And so in this choreography, for example, it's an open process. You'll come and watch us make the thing. So I have the prompts; I have the language; I have the kind of tasks that they're meant to do. But how they're gonna perform, that is still in development. So, there's no performance where it's the main performance; it's all kind of a thing that's happening.
And for me that is a moment to kind of queer the space, 'cause it's nondefined. And within that, too, we'll have, in the same space that the performance is happening, conversations, gatherings. There's a certain time in this performance where we just send out a prompt, and people just come and gather, and then we make something. So it's about, again, critical mass––gathering people to come self-identify, to come into the space, and then to make something.
And for me, that is how I'm thinking about the space as being queered. I'm also thinking about it in other iterations, as like what's a safe space? How do I think of a queered space as a safe space? I always think about this through the dance club, being a club kid in New York and dancing there––what did that space mean for me? So the dance floor, the space of being held on this architectural device that we forget so often––what is that as a platform for resistance? As a platform for gathering and to create a community of solidarity where solidarities exist?
JPA: And Brendan will also be a part of our upcoming Prime Time event, which is our late-night takeover event, so we'll be able to see this piece and how it transforms thinking about the dance floor in a different way.
BF: Yeah. And again, going back to A Call and Response, working with the dancers in constant communication, in constant dialogue, stepping in and out of process, and then going back into it––then it builds like a loose structure. It becomes something. The choreography starts as a very porous, open space, but then it becomes something more structural. So, it's never gonna be counted––it's never gonna be timed––but there'll be these kind of notions or these kind of prompts. So, yeah.
JPA: I love that about your work, the transparency and the sort of process-forward aspect. I think that's what's always really drawn me to so much of your work. And to that end, I think one of the things that draws many of us to Brendan's work is the way these different constituencies come together over the forms that you create. So where else do we see members of the S&M community, the sort of leather community, the participatory art or socially engaged practice community, art patrons, lay visitors who just happen to be walking down the street––
JPA: ––professional dancers, ballerinas, all different forms of professional dance, coming together? And it's certainly something we've been talking about here, how the performance medium has changed, and its potential to bring us together socially. That potential for social cohesion, especially around live events, is just so powerful, and we as a museum, of course, are thinking about that often. But I wonder if there are sort of tools as you've brought together these different constituencies, learnings that you might share?
BF: Well, I'm always so happy when I have my communities come together. 'Cause for me, I think, again, why do we have fractures? We're all sort of looking for the same deliverable. We all wanna be––counter-culture groups, marginalized groups––we're all looking for the same thing, so why make it separate? So, I feel like when the groups gather and I make this kind of thing happen, for me it's exciting because it really does create a different type of engagement. I feel fortunate that it's happening in the work. I feel fortunate that I can be part of so many groups. 'Cause it's all through a lived experience, right, bringing these groups together. So, yeah, maybe I'm not answering the question, but I'm just thinking that it's something that I feel pushes my goals of my work into the conceptual rigor to kind of find that solidarity, to find community gatherings where everyone can kind of find themselves and feel heard, seen, invisible, all of those things.
I think it's really important to kind of have those moments on those gatherings. And, again, under the auspices of dance. Dance is political. We all move. We might not move as formalized, trained dancers, but coming together and just standing is also a very important action. Or walking together. Or dancing together. I think that idea of thinking of bodies gathering, breathing, kind of just––that, for me, is so rigorous. That's what makes me feel, is kinda the crux of, the nature of, these kinds of actions.
JPA: And I love the way we kind of are joined together through the process of thinking critically about the everyday movements that we make. We join together in a common experience. That just in noticing our physical presence, we are joined together in all of our different physical forms.
BF: That's why I think it's more about acknowledging, right? We're moving every day. We're also moving the same way every day. So that's something that brings us as––there's a oneness there. And I think just acknowledging that, for me, again, is a very powerful action. And I was in a conference a couple months ago in New York. And instead of giving a paper, I delivered the whole group to kind of move together. And people were freaked out.
BF: And I was like, "We're gonna do this to you guys soon." And at the end people were like, "Oh. We just walked." And I'm like, "We didn't just walk." But there is that kind of––we kind of forget that walking can be powerful. Standing can be powerful. And just making the audience acknowledge it, and then do it, was a really––it took on a new thing. And people afterwards were like, "Oh, I really like that. I actually didn't feel insecure." So, I think this is also about moving.
If you're told to dance, or if you're told to kind of move in a certain way, there's a certain thing of like, "I can't do that." And so, I think there's also that kind of vulnerability in movement that comes especially with dance, but I think, if we think we're dancing every day, then it kind of changes that power dynamic within moving, dancing.
JPA: I often think about how we can get people to lower their inhibitions when they enter a social space so that they can be vulnerable. I think so much incredible work comes out of our shared vulnerabilities. And my go-to is always food. I love food projects 'cause everyone knows how to consume that, that experience as well as literally [chuckling] the food. But I love the idea that movement can also be that sort of shared experience.
BF: Yeah. And then to realize that food culture is something that we need by necessity to live, but also, it's a way of gathering, right? So, the same way of bringing people together. Like a celebration under the auspices of being together. Think about holidays or things like that. When I think about my family, our holidays always ended up with us dancing. That's what we [laughter] did, you know? It's still, like, a way that we gather and show intimacy with each other, is just through dancing. And it's not like ballet.
It's just like good old fam-jam.
JPA: I am part Greek, and we grew up also dancing whenever we were all together. Line dancing, big giant lines. Actually, one of my most precious memories of my wedding was just everyone, every single person, got together. And anyone can kind of move and dance in that way.
BF: Yeah. I remember my aunt. She lived outside of Toronto, and when she built her house, she built a dance floor in the basement, and I was just like, "Yes!" [Laughter] It was like the best thing possible. There was a dance floor like this––a space that was meant just for us to go and move on.
JPA: So I wanna talk a little bit [chuckling]––and you're seeing a lot of work behind us, and we're not talking about it, but I wanted to show you all sort of a set of pieces. Many of these pieces really do think about the floor, the dance floor, and that recognition of our environment. You did a piece called Art by Snapchat that you originally did for MOMA in New York, and then we convinced Brendan to do it here for our 50th anniversary because it was inspired by Art by Telephone––
JPA: ––a really important piece that was done here in the '60s, one of the first exhibitions in this museum. How did you think about the museum site as sort of inspiration for that piece? When you think about the floors, when you think about the structures, the imposition of the building of the museum tells us a lot about how we're supposed to behave. So how, in your work, are you subverting that a little bit?
BF: So, in different ways. I think, for example, there's a piece that I kind of think came up––it's called In Touch. In Touch is a piece that looks at West African masquerade, and I look a lot at how masks were taken out of their place of origin by the French and put into the museum. So if you notice a lot of masks in museums are there, but all those masks came with a performance. They all were danced by a masquerader. But when we put them in a museum context, we remove that body, and then the body is stilled.
I mean, the mask is not performed anymore. And so, a piece commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum in 2014––I worked with a Cameroonian, West African masquerader who kind of walked into the space, kind of came into the museum space unannounced, just kind of walking. Walking and watching and looking, but then kinda creating these interruptions. Breaking those rules of the museum. He had these bells on his feet, and he would shake his feet, and then people would kinda be like, "What's this person doing?"
And then he kind of walked to this one mask that is the mask that he wanted to perform, and he tries to kind of put it on, but he can't because the pedestal, the museum apparatus that says we can't cross that boundary or that border, is in place. And so, he starts to dance, but tries to put it on. And so, I subvert by kind of making the criticality of encounter, of interruption, of playing with the notions that this person is misbehaving in this space but is actually performing the original dance that came with this object.
A lot of it is intervention, and then kind of creating interruptions and other forms of encounter. So you may never see that performance, but if you do, you have to then have a physical change or stop. Another way that I do it is by making my dancers not move, and that's one of the hardest things to do. My dancers always want to move because, by nature, that is our task––to move. But I'm trying to say to them, within stopping, within being still, there is still action, and we need to make that physically.
So even for example on the Whitney piece, I'll say to them like, "Count for 48 counts, and just stay in the position," and they don't. So I've tried to push those kinds of rigors, stopping, being still, making kind of encounters. Yeah, those are some of the strategies, for sure. Within the museum, though, it always changes. And we're always questioning the floor of the museum 'cause museums are always built out of concrete floors, and dancers never wanna dance on that.
And I think that's interesting, because our bodies take on the residue of moving on this apparatus, this floor. And so, when I work with museums and dancers in museums, we always have to sit down and talk about the floor. The conversations of like, how does this floor penetrate my body? How does this floor leave residue of pain in my body afterwards? So that becomes another kind of question. And so, some of my other work has been building modular-like dance floors that have resistance, so the body can perform on it longer.
JPA: I think there's some images of the piece you did at Recess Gallery in New York as well, up here, where you built the floor structures for the dancers to play with in the space.
JPA: And I think that was one of the pieces that we were really looking at when we were building the exhibition here. The way that the dancers sort of moved together in that space and on those––
BF: Moved together. And that piece, too, that piece was also a response to Pulse in Orlando, and the dancers would, every day, come into the space, rearrange these modular dance floor pieces to create a new sculptural installation where they then kind of explored and understood it, but they would play this game where they would try to call each other through creating a Morse code pattern, hitting the floor. And then, if they could hear it, then they would kind of gather each other, and kind of come and create a critical mass of them moving together.
And this is something where a lot of thinking about A Call and Response was because one of the dancers was like, "I keep on trying to call him, but he doesn't hear me." And then I was kind of like, "How do we resolve that?" And then I was like, "Well, no; we don't resolve it. We just keep going with that because sometimes we aren't heard." So keep pushing and keep fighting to be heard. That stillness that I wanted happened because he was trying to call, I don't know, [I think] it was Kedija.
Kedija couldn't hear John's call. They just kept on sending that Morse code on the dance floor to kind of be heard. And so, I kind of felt that the stillness then happened, and it kind of worked in that way. And that piece, too, it was always changing. It always became something different. And for me, that was really important, that it was never a static space. The space of the dance happened and changed, but the movements kinda stayed the same, 'cause they had the set tasks to make the choreography but the site was always in flux. And sometimes we had a dance party in there; sometimes they performed Steady Pulse, which was a piece. Sometimes we had a number of conversations. So again, that kind of transitional space that is always becoming something. And again, that notion of becoming, for me, is something that's really important, that we're always in a state of flux. I am, and I think that also goes back to the idea of community engagement, and the different type of communities I'm involved in and a part of. Because I'm always evolving, as my dance is always evolving. I'm thinking through spaces where I'm one thing now, and I'm already something else. So, becoming is another kind of thread, a thematic that I think through when I'm making my performance work.
JPA: And you mentioned Kedija. I know you often work with the same collaborators, the same folks on many of your projects that you have that sort of steady cohort of people that you're really working deeply with, relying on. And I think this is something that we see many, many artists doing, the sort of sense of the artist as almost a director of a set of different facilitators within. So, the ways that you talk about how you work with those dancers, and the importance of working with people over and over again––
The dancers that we'll see tonight, Michelle Reed and Ben Wharton, are people that you've worked with many times. So how does that process of really building relationships with these people––Thomas Kelly in the house tonight [laughter]; Norman Kelly, who helped to construct the sculptures that we'll see tonight––so how are those relationships feeding your process as an artist?
BF: Yeah, I think that, again, as a dancer, we're always collaborating. I always think about the ballet, when I was a ballet dancer, working with a corps. We all have to move together. And we may not have to be able to touch each other, but we just feel each other through the intimacy of being with each other and understanding each other. It's a very generous space. Generous, and then also generative. Within that, I think that the way I make art, it comes a lot from my dance world and how I learnt to be a dancer.
The rigor, the kind of dedication comes from that way of understanding. And so, when I work in the modes I do now, I'm always collaborating. Even thinking with Ben and Michelle, they get my process. They understand the process, it's something that––we've created a vernacular or a language. And I do that with a lot of my dancers. And so, if we work together, we continue that relationship. And I think that's also a really important kind of way to think of being generous but also collaborative.
And again, like with Norman Kelly, we started the project at the Graham Foundation, but it just kind of felt like the synergy––it was just like a dance, a kind of conversation of, "Oh, okay. You get this." Or I would do some drawings and Thomas was like, "This is great. This makes sense for this." And it just becomes organic. And I think that's a really important part. I do this, but it's not just me. There's a lot of other parts that are making this happen.
And even working with my dancers in constant conversations, we just kind of do it. So, there's this kind of question of, "Brendan––" And I thought you were gonna ask this, and maybe I shouldn't bring this up, but I thought you were gonna ask me about the role that I take. Because I'm just in it with everyone else. We're making it together. And at the Whitney, this piece, we just sat and talked so much about it. About what we're going to do, how we're gonna do it, when do we take breaks, when do we stop?
So, when I see them, they're like, "We know it. We know how to do it." So that's what I mean. We build through this kind of conversation, this dialogue. And then within it, it gets formed, and it becomes something. So what's exciting about A Call and Response, we're in the days now, right? It's exciting. It's like, "We're gonna start making this." And you were like, "So will you be here on site?" I'm like, "I'll be here a lot, because I'm gonna have to be in that process."
And the process is that of creating in this open forum, where we'll be building and talking. And so, it's not always just gonna be like moving and dancing. But eventually it will form that, and then it will just be the actions, and I can sit back and just watch, or I can sit back and not be here. [Laughter] So it'll take on those forms. It's a way that I've been making, and I'm finding it as an interesting task of making that it's all open, but nothing is defined as, "This is the dance."
JPA: One of my most favorite things, and I tell you this every time I see you orchestrating one of your projects in any space, is to watch Brendan watch his dancers. [Chuckling] Because there are these echoes of movement in your body as you watch them move, when you're not one of the dancers in the piece. It's like you can see this little shoulder twitch––
BF: Better posture now?
JPA:––you can see it in his posture, you can see this. It's one of my favorite things. The exhibition actually has to sit within a space that already has such an aesthetic footprint.
BF: We worked it, though.
JPA: We worked it. I think it's a beautiful way of doing it but wanted you to understand what you're seeing in that way. And then when, as we're going upstairs, I would encourage you to look to your left as we go upstairs. When we leave the theater, we're gonna go to the right and up the stairs. Look to your left; there's one of the sculptural objects of Brendan's exhibition, [it] actually begins there. And then once we get up there, I'm gonna ask you not to use the swings tonight.
The swing sculptures are in the space, but the dancers will be using them tonight. So, as you see the dancers moving, if you wouldn't mind refraining from using those sculptures and come back another day and sit and reflect on them yourselves. But tonight, we're gonna reserve those for the dancers to use. Any other things we should let people know before we head up there?
BF: I think that's it, yeah. Thank you.
JPA: And then when we get up there, Brendan's gonna take the microphone again and talk a little bit about each of the pieces. And then we'll give you drinks and food.
Okay. We'll meet you in the Commons.
BF: Thank you. Thanks, January.
[End of Audio]
- Commons Artist Project:Brendan Fernandes, A Call and Response–
- Long Two people perform in an empty outdoor parking lot, one lunging and one leaning back, with their arms extended forward and wrists flexed. They seem to face each other, but the masculine person is closer to you and the feminine person is several paces further back. Their dark skin is highlighted by bright sunlight shining toward you that casts their shadows on the asphalt. The sky is blue and palm trees are in the background.