In collaboration with:
Kym Chambers (costumes) Esther Neff (sound) Jillian Rose (set)
Performed by: Hadar Ahuvia, Lorene Bouboushian, Laura Bartczak, Corinne Cappelletti, Clara Freedman, Paige Fredlund, Katelyn Hales, and Gabriel Lukeris
Technical Direction: Allison Malinowski
Lighting Design: Saúl Ulerio
This work was the culminating experiment in a multi-year project addressing movement material as found object that can be run through the systems of performer/choreographer/audience relations.
After recycling the same dance material through all of my performances for about three years, I brought together 20 segments of dance/performance material for 9 dancers. Each hour-long show used about half the total available material. In each show, I worked in duet with Esther Neff on a sound sampler to treat the material as something that could be framed and re-framed within certain conceptual and situational parameters, as a conversive improvisation between performers, audience, and the structures of sound, space, objects, and choreographic voice. I worked with the dancers to behave as if dance is an empty vessel, as if choreographic voice is a way of fabricating relationship and impetus in the moment. I experimented with the dynamics of performer obedience and waited for dancer mutiny.
In this project, we discovered a conceptual unwieldiness. We found a certain hyperbolism. We lost a sense of the difference between real and false interrelatedness, the more we performed the work the more we could reference, the work compounded itself, grew smarter and more complex with each performance. What we held onto over the course of the work was our own sense of the impossibility of history, of building an archival sense of our own work that was constantly changing, or of finding a sense of place in the historical Cunningham Space just before its closure. With my live choreographic voice, I dug into my own sense of patriarchy toward performers, my belief that by simply pushing them beyond their comfort zones I can send them toward some inexplicable hyper-realness.
On the score: because this dance exists as clusters of material that is then selected by Lindsey in the moment during live performance, there can be no set order for the sounds and music. Everything must be constructed in response to the immediate situation, using a sampler. There will be mistakes, the sound is not a track for the dance to run on or beside. This is the opposite of how Cage and Cunningham used dance and sound; their performance-objects were autonomous things which could be juxtaposed as such. Here, we attempt to integrate, inter-relate, and subject; women and art are simultaneously constructed by and construct what they are “not.”
On the costumes: While costume is typically applied in pristine fashion to the dance, here is constructed a wardrobe consisting of lived-in cloth derived from the boudoirs of the dancers themselves. Torn. Burnt. Soiled. Discarded. Cut. Undone. Mismatched. Imperfect. Herein is the portrayal of a trial at perfection told through cloth. Where needlework admits its tediousness. Where hemlines lose their thrill. While some mean to fail at the task, others take up the cause in an attempt at clarity of line, form and function. Together, these disparate depictions of simple cloth become depictions the feminine, dissolving into oblivion.
On the paintings: These paintings are stretched paper over stretcher bars. They are drums. They are windows into the world of this piece. They are all eyes on you. They are all eyes on them. They are the forest we are lost in. They are the branches reaching. The are the faces we never see. They are the thoughts we never hear.
Video Documentation Here: