"I am in quest of a vital intensity indistinguishable from intoxication. I want more energy than I need; I want to overflow."
-Michael Green, Bataille's Wound
Growing up fascinated by child-friendly adaptations of world myths, playful investigations into the paranormal & the introduction (primarily via the two aforementioned contexts) of an atheological "beyond," M KITCHELL, starting in his late-teens, began to deepen his fascinations by engaging in research-based explorations of narrative and tableau using the mediums of writing and photography. He received a BFA in photography before dedicating the next ten years to engaging with Bataille's conception of "the impossible," mostly via a marked dedication to the form of the book. After feeling like he had exhausted the possibilities of textual narrative as a step toward the impossible (later presented cohesively with the publication of his book Experimental Men), he began to move away from the book and towards the medium of the body.
This new phase of exploration began with an extended obsession with post-ashtanga yoga, inititally inspired by Georges Bataille's writings on pranayama and yoga as methods of meditation. Once establishing a connection with his own body by way of a steady yoga practice, Kitchell continued into the realms of strength training, acrobatics, hand-balancing, mobility/flexibility and dance. Not merely interested in the acquisition of skills for the sake of skills or even for some holistic idea of health, his goal in training seeks to explore the way the body can touch upon Bataille's idea of the "impossible" or Blanchot's idea of the "outside," something beyond an idea of material reality and past the confines of religion. In the abstract, it could be said he hopes to, one day, discover how to levitate. His physical training has been accompanied by research into comparative religion, ritual studies, Bataille's sovereign operations, the machinations of Hijikata's Butoh, and Grotowski's Objective Drama & physical methods (with particular attention paid to the idea of "training to immediately access one's own psychic impulses").
In 2018 he began teaching hand-balancing, and has since taught classes on acrobatics, active flexibility, mobility, floor movement and group fitness. His pedagogical interests are multiple: to begin, he is interested in teaching only what he feels he has fully engaged with—he is not interested in posturing knowledge on something he is unaware of and will happily direct a student to someone with a higher level of expertise if he does not feel comfortable answering an inquiry. Second, he is interested in helping adult students meet their bodies at their current level in the pursuit of skill acquisition; he does not believe in a one-size fits all approach to training. Beginning his physical pursuits (in any legitimate capacity) in his late-20s while carrying a body that much of Western Society would label "obese," he understands how to communicate ways of training to individuals that are not inherently prepared for the pursuit of an acrobatic skill. He rejects the idea of "fitness" as an industry, prefering to consider it merely as one part of a practice. Finally, his primary interest in teaching is to help explore new ways of communication; beyond physical pursuits in and of themselves, he looks for ways to communicate experience and "metaphysical" ideas that are often considered beyond the realm of language.
VERTIGINOUS is intended to operate simultaneously as art practice, teaching pedagogy, and research hub.
VERTIGINOUS takes a research- & practice-based approach to closing the gap between physical existence and conceptual/narrative explorations of the "outside". The results of these encounters are delivered primarily in three different modes: first, through the written word, either via "documentary"/research-based essays, fictional parables, or imagistic promptings to fully explore an idea. Second, through performance and visual work somewhere between (or outside of) theater and circus, portraiture and narrative. Finally, Kitchell is explicitly concerned with the idea of communication, of seeking to further understand what he's encountered by aiding others in encountering this information. This communication is offered via in-person (& online) group classes, one on one private sessions, online coaching, and follow-along videos & tutorials.