Highlights: Performa 09 (NYC, USA) Part 1

Performa:

Performa, a non-profit multidisciplinary arts organization established by RoseLee Goldberg in 2004, is dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of twentieth century art and to encouraging new directions in performance for the twenty-first century.

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Performa’s Objectives are:

  • Commission new performance projects in visual arts
  • Present a dedicated performance biennial
  • Consult and collaborate with art institutions and performing art presenters around the world to create dynamic and historically significant performance programs
  • Offer an ongoing educational platform for expanding the knowledge and understanding of this critical area of visual art and cultural history

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Here is part 1 of ContemporaryPerformance.com’s highlights for this years Performa festival.

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Arto Lindsay
Times Square
Sunday, November 1 8:00pm

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Acclaimed musician and artist Arto Lindsay will design and organize a multidisciplinary procession, “SOMEWHERE I READ,” featuring over 50 dancers and performers. Serving as Performa 09’s opening event, Lindsay’s procession will proceed down a major street in Manhattan on the same day as the New York Marathon (November 1). A central element of the piece will be the use of cell phones as musical instruments in a sort of pared-down marching band. All the participants will carry cell phones playing music specially composed by Lindsay. An inventive adaptation of the standard parade format, Arto Lindsay’s Performa Commission will create an oddly intimate public spectacle across New York City’s main streets.

Born in the United States in 1953 and raised in Brazil during the heyday of the 1960s Tropicália movement, the multi-faceted songwriter, producer, vocalist, and guitarist Arto Lindsay is known for his unique fusion of Brazilian music and the downtown avant-garde. A pioneer of punk jazz and no-wave, Lindsay was a catalyst of the 1980s Lower East Side noise rock scene. Acclaimed by visual artists he has collaborated with,among others, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Ernesto Neto and Vito Acconci. Lindsay started working with the parade as an art form in 2004 with De Lama Lamina, a collaboration with Mathew Barney for the Salavdor de Bahia Carnival that paid tribute to the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomblé and explored some of its aesthetic and social implications,. In 2008, the Staedelschule and the Museum fur Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt invited him to put on a parade. “I AM A MAN,” an eleven-part parade featuring robot dogs, a group of philosophers, cheerleaders, a German brass band, and punk rock musicians, among other participants, addressed the constraints borne and liberations achieved by the contemporary body.
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The Bruce High Quality Foundation
X Initiative
548 W 22nd Street
Thursday, November 5 6:00pm

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This fall The Bruce High Quality Foundation founded BHQFU, a free, unaccredited “university” dedicated to the creation of new histories of art. These histories, which take an omnivorous approach to research, combine satire and polemics, the learned and the base, to “resurrect art history from the bowels of despair.” These histories form the pedagogy and production of BHQFU, taking the form of videos, lectures, and texts distributed freely from the group’s headquarters and website. One of the first of such histories to be made public is “Art History with Benefits.”

“Art History with Benefits” is a half-hour presentation examining the romance, figuratively and literally, between cultural funding and sex. Drawn from such diverse sources as environmental psychologist Paco Underhill’s “Why We Buy,” George Buchner’s “Danton’s Death,” and congressional records concerning the NEA debates of the late 80s, “Art History with Benefits” relentlessly upturns expected notions of how and why culture happens.

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Auf den Tisch! (At the Table!)
Baryshnikov Arts Center
450 West 37th Street
Friday, November 6 – Saturday, November 7, 7:30pm

Picture this: you enter a room and can take a seat at an enormous table, with four microphones at the ready, as if in a conference situation. From your chair you can see how the table becomes a platform for action and reflection. Or something of the kind. You see performers sing, play, dance, and talk about performance issues, fragility, and territories. Or not. Meeting and improvising at an oversized table such as this one, it is no wonder that things get out of proportion. “Auf den Tisch!” (At the Table!) is a curatorial improvisation-project by Meg Stuart. Upon her invitation and initiation, a changing cast of performers, thinkers, writers, musicians, actors, and dancers confer about their pressing issues while presenting a performance of negotiations.

American choreographer and dancer Meg Stuart’s work is fueled by her search for new forms of co-operation, presentation contexts and the ‘crossbreeding’ of theater, architecture and visual arts. Working in Brussels since 1994 with her own Brussels-based company, Damaged Goods, since 1994 she produced an impressive body of works including collaborations with artists Gary Hill (Splayed Mind Out, 1997, presented at Documenta X in Kassel), designer Bruce Mau (Remote, 1997), or directors Stephan Pucher, Christoph Marthaler, and scenographers Anna Viebrock (ALIBI (2001); Das Goldene Zeitalter (2003, Schauspielhaus Zurich); Visitors Only (2003)); and Doris Dziersk (FORGERIES, LOVE AND OTHER MATTERS (2004);BLESSED, (2007); All Together Now (2008); Do Animals Cry (2009), among many others. Her participation in “This is the Show” and the how is Many Things (1994, S.M.A.K., Ghent) launched a series of process-oriented dance installations and performances in the visual art field. In 2008 Meg Stuart’s body of work was awarded with a New York Dance and Performance Award, also known as Bessie Award.

Curated by Meg Stuart. With Trajal Harrell, Keith Hennessy, Janez Jansa, Jean-Paul Lespagnard, Jan Maertens, Yvonne Meier, Anja Müller, Vania Rovisco, Hahn Rowe, George Emilio Sanchez, Meg Stuart, and David Thomson. Presented by Performa and the Baryshnikov Arts Center. Production: Damaged Goods. Supported by the Flemish Authorities and the Flemish Community Commission and Flanders House, the new cultural forum for Flanders (Belgium) in the United States.
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