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In Performance: Jen Rosenblit & Geo Wyeth – Swivel Spot (The Kitchen)

A companion piece to Rosenblit’s Clap Hands, which ran most recently at the 2017 American Realness festival, Swivel Spot continues Rosenblit’s line of performative inquiry into pairing and relationships, and marks a new collaboration between Rosenblit and music/performance/installation artist Geo Wyeth. Comprised of gently accumulating scored movement punctuated by surprising turns of music and interaction, Swivel Spot watches Rosenblit and Wyeth fumble blindfolded through a motley landscape of objects and sound, groping for grounding, and for one another.

Alexia Welch, the “supportive performer” who also provided her gentle care for Clap Hands, trails Rosenblit and Wyeth with plastic wrap, methodically pinning a city of objects to the gallery floor at The Kitchen. Welch’s methodical attention to materials stands in stark contrast to designer Nica Ross’s diffuse rose lighting, which makes the space seem to float just barely above the ground. Together, these elements create a tense landscape for Rosenblit and Wyeth to traverse: the humans hold the slippery, liminal space that lies between objects and light. They constantly turn surprising corners as they lean towards and away from one another, tearing away plastic to find lotion, or clothing, or a jug; stopping to lounge imposingly with peanuts; and in Wyeth’s case, suddenly keening a powerful and strange song, his heart audible for just a moment.

Meaning creeps up slowly on the audience member in Swivel Spot, as the piece moves swiftly and unassumingly between the familiar and the uncanny. Ultimately, Rosenblit and Wyeth meet one another in something of a bullfight, as Welch quietly dons a matador’s jacket. Their arrival seems to ask if every interaction between humans on some level is a fight, or a battle won, or a thrilling performance. Indeed, through the distraction littering their space at every turn, the struggle of the ultimate meeting is more triumphant than violent, a sweaty, fumbling victory over the terror of everyday minutiae.

Swivel Spot – Jen Rosenblit & Geo Wyeth – The Kitchen

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