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In Performance: Meg Stuart’s Auf den Tisch! at YBCA (San Francisco)

March 25, 2011 – March 26, 2011
8:00 pm
YBCA Forum

© Paula Court

Auf den Tisch! (which means “to put things on the table”) is an improvisation project by internationally acclaimed dancer/choreographer Meg Stuart. The setup is a large table with four microphones that the audience and performers sit around. As the performers begin to improvise — singing, playing, dancing, talking, sometimes “on stage” (on the table) and sometimes not – the lines between performers and audiences begin to blur and the experience becomes a collaboration or negotiation where everyone has to “put things on the table” and work through the situation together. With an ever–changing cast of performers, thinkers, musicians, dancers, visual artists and audience members, each performance is a unique experience. The cast for the YBCA performances include next to Meg Stuart well–known San Francisco performer and choreographer Keith Hennessy, and composer Hahn Rowe and several other artists.

Curator’s Statement:
When describing the YBCA’s performing arts program, I often talk about my desire for the program to be a platform for bold experimentation, to support artists taking risks and to support collaborations – these values really are the underpinnings to my curatorial approach. Every year I have a long list of artists from around the world who I would love to work with and bring to the Bay Area, and Meg Stuart has long been on my list of artists to support. When thinking about which Meg Stuart project to present, and thinking of this presentation as an introduction, it made perfect sense to start the conversation with her unique project Auf den Tisch! (At the Table!)– a piece that is an embodiment of the values of experimentation, collaboration and artistic risk taking.

A cornerstone project for our big idea DARE, Auf den Tisch! is a piece that situates the audience as part of a debate, and invites the audience to observe a platform of ideas, questions and negotiations. It’s a work that reveals and illuminates the creative process in precarious motion, and brings together a local and global group of participants in a convergence of artistic and intellectual exchange in San Francisco, in this particular moment in time.

The simple parameters of this improvisation invite a complexity that I find profound and relevant to our everyday lives. The piece reminds us to be in the moment, to be present, to listen and respond. A reminder about the improvisation we engage in every day, how we all are finding ways to move through the world, adapting to constant change and challenge. This piece is a distillation of negotiation. This notion of potential is at the heart of these negotiations and exchanges – the potential for beauty and grace, for failure, awkwardness, and vulnerability. Poetic and powerful metaphors to reflect upon long after the piece has concluded. -Angela Mattox, Performing Arts Curator

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Caden Manson is a director, media artist, and teacher. He is co-founder of the media ensemble and network, blog, and publisher, He has co-created, directed, video- and set designed 18 Big Art Group productions. Manson has shown video installations in Austria, Germany, NYC, and Portland; performed PAIN KILLER in Berlin, Singapore and Vietnam; Taught in Berlin, Rome, Paris, Montreal, NYC, and Bern; the ensemble has been co-produced by the Vienna Festival, Festival d’Automne a Paris, Hebbel Am Ufer, Rome’s La Vie de Festival, PS122, and Wexner Center for The Arts. Caden is a 2001 Foundation For Contemporary Art Fellow, is a 2002 Pew Fellow and a 2011 MacDowell Fellow. Writing has been published in PAJ, Theater Magazine, and Theater der Zeit. Caden is currently an associate professor and graduate directing option coordinator of The John Wells Directing Program at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama.

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