First Person

Featured: Contemporary Performance Announces Festival Special Effects 2015

Contemporary Performance announces the festival Special Effects from January 8-10, 2015. The festival consists of artists from the Contemporary Performance Network presenting work at The Wild Project in the East Village. Curated by network editors Caden Manson and Jemma Nelson the four day festival will hold panel and artist events, launch the Contemporary Performance Almanac15 book and throw nightly performance parties in the Wild Project Bar. Artist driven and oriented, Special Effects gathers experimental performance works by practitioners exploring contemporary issues. Drawing on a network of over 15,000 artists who are part of www.contemporaryperformance.com, the festival samples the the richness of the discipline of performance and presents an open forum for critical thinking on the ...

First Person: Agnes Nedregard

She crouches down covering her eyes with her hands; stands up, takes off her boots, and removes her characteristic, thick glasses. It is difficult to tell whether she is aggressive or sensual. She looks, in any case, like she is spotting her prey. With limited vision but harnessing all her other senses, Agnes Nedregard approaches a member of the public and gets very close. She holds her hand and then, tenderly, caresses her right cheek. She walks slowly toward a man, sits on his lap and then embraces him. She moves to another and leads him to the other end of the room; stops, and abruptly bumps into his shoulder. She then stands behind a third man and covers his eyes with her hands. For almost half an hour, Nedregard approaches about thirty members of the public, weaving different interact...

Polymer: Art-Boiling Factory

January, 29th, 2014 Photos from Culture Factory Polymer Facebook Page www.facebook.com/culturefactorypolymer “The term “polymer” derives from the ancient Greek word πολύς (polus, meaning “many, much”) and μέρος (meros, meaning “parts”), and refers to a molecule whose structure is composed of multiple repeating units, from which originates a characteristic of high relative molecular mass and attendant properties.”  Wikipedia. According to the weather report, it’s -20C (-4F) tonight in Tallinn, the Estonian capital with a population of 400,000.  Over 50 artists are being evicted from their self-managed cultural center Culture Factory Polymer. I began to learn about Polymer three years ago when I organized a festival that took place simultaneously in ...

First Person: Ernesto Pujol’s Time After Us (New York)

above: Ernesto Pujol surrounded by his performers, dawn | photo by the author   An Exercise in Reverence, Patience, and Force How is one meant to wrap words around an experience that exists beyond our humanly agreed-upon notions of time? Durational work has become a contested milieu for both performers and critics, becoming at times as formulaic as the structure it is attempting to do away with. Yet, when executed with the grace and conviction of Ernesto Pujol, it gains otherworldly powers of space and time manipulation, inducing a sense of deep reflection, of forging forgotten links, memories, future nostalgia.  It is so rare these days to enter a space that has been so profoundly altered and warped by so little.  Between twenty-five and thirty-five performers walk in a circle backwa...

First Person: Massive Attack V Adam Curtis

above: The Park Avenue Armory Drill Hall, Photo by Susane Berger The multi-media spectacle of the fall thundered through the Park Avenue Armory’s military airs with all of the pomp and circumstance of the pope arriving, or rather some great dictator, rolling through taking his victory lap, the press outlets blindly congratulating, the masses gathering, huddled together to hear the booming voice of certainty wash over them and make them feel secure, informed, and more than anything, that their hands have become just a little more clean after having heard the master’s commencement address. NOW FIND YOUR OWN WAY HOME read the final banner on the 9 massive screens, all among confetti raining down upon us, lamenting the conclusion to a supposed hard journey that we should congratula...

First Person: homeLA (Los Angeles, CA)

There’s a grand experiment afoot; the intrepid folks at Pieter and the Dance Resource Center are seeking to infiltrate large private homes throughout Los Angeles with a “site-sensitive” dance series called homeLA. The concept is a mutually beneficial one; the city’s small but scrappy experimental dance community opens up new performance venues for itself, while the sites themselves are enhanced by evocative dance works that play off their unique architecture. The first installment of homeLA took place this past weekend at the home of Chloë Flores and Tim Lefebvre—a stunning, custom-built modernist compound nestled at the top of Mount Washington. The four-story main house and adjoining guest house, which sit elegantly on a hillside and deftly engage indoor/outdoor dynamics with elements lik...

First Person: Chris Green on Forced Entertainment’s Quizoola (Great Britain)

Although, I have many reservations about the relevance of Forced Entertainment’s work as ‘experimental’ I was pleasantly surprised and challenged by the presentation of this work in a 24-hour durational version. The form of the work is simple; there are 6 performers, one stage, two chairs, a circle of light and many, many questions. Only two performers occupy the stage at one given time, with a new performer entering every two hours in order to take over from the performer who has been sitting for four hours. One performer asks the questions and the other performer answers – this relationship changes with the asking of the simple question, are you ready to stop? Before the performance took place the company had asked for questions to be submitted to them, as it was for so long they needed ...

First Person: Robert Wilhite interviewed by Nuri Richards (Mexico)

At first, when I called the corresponding area of the Jumex Collection to set up an interview with the members of IGLU I was expecting to talk with Davitt Felder the director of the performance, and maybe in a quick dynamic get to pop one question to each person involved in the performance. I was 30 minutes earlier at the Tamayo Museum so I waited. Around 10:00 a.m. the museum staff started arriving, including a tall, white-haired, interesting looking man that made his best effort to wish me a good morning in Spanish. No more than 3 minutes later the police officer told me that one of the “persons of the performance” just came in. I went to the auditorium to find a perfectly built stage that reminded me the late70’s. There I found the same man who entered with members of the museum e...

First Person: Elia Arce, First Woman on the Moon (Houston, TX, USA)

First Woman on the Moon by Elia Arce, was presented by DiverseWorks at Frenetic Theater on November 30 and December 1, 2012. This remounting of Arce’s seminal performance was timed with a 25 year retrospective of her career and the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012. The performance has historical significance due to giving a unique perspective to the Latino identity movement. The perspective Arce presents is of issues of class and spirituality rather than race and ethnicity. For the multi-media performance, Arce lead the audience through various places, sounds, emotions and sights offering glimpses into the core of her identity. Various settings were projected onto a large screen in the background. An additional element came into play with Arce bringing a camera around with her which she f...

First Person: Stacks at Art League Houston (Houston, TX, USA)

Stacks is on view at Art League Houston from November 16 through January 4, 2013. The exhibition was kicked off with collecting objects the artists defined as “negatively antiquated Black memorabilia and paraphernalia” which were then obliterated in a wood chipper at the opening. The week prior to the opening, show curator Robert Pruitt and artists Jamal Cyrus, Nathaniel Donnett, Autumn Knight, Phillip Pyle II, and M’kina Tapscott requested the objects be dropped off at Art League Houston. Specific items the artists requested on their list included: family photos, Ebony and Jet magazines, Black light posters, Jazz albums you pretend you listen to, old school slow jam mix tape cassettes, scratched rap cd’s, Starter jackets, Obama 08′ stickers, etc. Opening night, poet Douglas Kearney began ...

First Person: Jill Bernard’s “Drum Machine” (Houston, TX, USA)

Drum Machine was performed by Jill Bernard, special guest of Station Theater, at Avant Garden on November 25, 2012. Station Theater is a comedy and arts conservatory in Houston, Texas. Bernard began the solo performance with calling an audience member onto the stage. This person was asked questions such as: “What do you do for a living?” The volunteer was then allowed to return to their seat at which point Bernard called out for the name of a war in history. The Civil War and the Trojan War were both called out. Bernard stated she had not performed about the Trojan War before and so selected it. Bernard then introduced us to her “drum machine,” showed off a variety of beats and began a comedic musical performance. This included performing and dialoguing with herself as numerous...

First Person: In The Middle Of This – Nuri Richards (Mexico City)

December 1st of this year groups of people went out the streets in Mexico City in a peaceful protest against the designation of the new President. People were beaten and arrested without evidence of involvement in acts of vandalism.  Part of the persons took down by the police are musicians and artists committed to culture. There was also a 52 year old lady  who a police patrol picked up for asking a officer to stop beating a guy. There are stories of verbal, sexual and moral abuse. How not to feel fear in the middle of what’s happening here?  How do we continue? How do we get up and get down every day with the sound of glass crashing in the floor? How do we contain these feeling in the chest that seem to be something between sadness and anger? I’ve been writing, or trying to w...

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