First Person

First Person: Mulholland Dérive (Los Angeles, USA)First Person: Mulholland Dérive (Los Angeles, USA)

First Person: Mulholland Dérive (Los Angeles, USA)

The latest edition of Los Angeles Road Concerts, an annual daylong art/performance/music/literary event that takes over the entire length of one of the city’s iconic boulevards, took place on Mulholland Drive yesterday. It was very cleverly named Mulholland Dérive, after a Situationist strategy for combating the numbing effects of capitalism. In the words of theorist Guy Debord, “In a dérive [people] drop their relations, their work and leisure activities, and all their other usual motives for movement and action, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there.” It’s a sexy proposition, and previous incarnations of the Road Concerts (taking place on Sunset Boulevard, Washington Boulevard, and San Fernando Road) have been filled with an exub...

First Person: A New English Theatre of Berlin (Berlin, Germany)First Person: A New English Theatre of Berlin (Berlin, Germany)

First Person: A New English Theatre of Berlin (Berlin, Germany)

A bomb goes off, a telephone rings in the darkness, the lights flicker, and a thin tract of stage slowly reveals the actors standing dreamily at a hotel’s front desk. But this is no ordinary stage, and it is no ordinary theatre. The world of Hotel Methuselah is a reflection, a refraction, and a hinting at a world that lives somewhere between theatre and film. The stage is a narrow 6-meter long slit — a seriously wide widescreen — allowing us glimpses of actors below the neck and above the knee. Around them, a lush and well-crafted film offers us our only look at their faces, or hands, or whatever else the directors want us to see, while hinting back to lush noir films, French New Wave, and even some old Stan Brakhage. It is not always successful at merging the worlds of T...

First Person: Karen Cytter, Show Real Drama, DiverseWorks (Houston, TX, USA)First Person: Karen Cytter, Show Real Drama, DiverseWorks (Houston, TX, USA)

First Person: Karen Cytter, Show Real Drama, DiverseWorks (Houston, TX, USA)

Keren Cytter’s Show Real Drama was performed at DiverseWorks Art Space October 10 through October 13, 2012. This performance is in conjunction with Cytter’s exhibition Video Art Manual about the history and development of video art, on view in DiverseWorks’ galleries. For Show Real Drama, the actors are in the role of actors who are creating their own scenes following failed attempts at finding work as actors. Each scene is introduced with a projection of the words Show, then Real, then Drama. For this multimedia performance, the actors and the audience are present in the now, with the performers acting out the drama of their relationship while at times even describing audience members. A video projection of their previous interactions and “drama” adds a time-based element and reveals more...

First Person: Brett Bailey and Berliner Festspiele (Berlin, Germany)First Person: Brett Bailey and Berliner Festspiele (Berlin, Germany)

First Person: Brett Bailey and Berliner Festspiele (Berlin, Germany)

Earlier this month I saw a piece by South African Artist Brett Bailey and it continues to disturb me so I reckon it’s time to blog about it. The piece, part of the Berliner Festspiele Foreign Affairs festival, is a work titled Exhibit B and recreates the unthinkable “human zoos” of the 18th and 19th century with teh intent of shining a light on the ruin of colonialism across Africa. It took place in the eerie, beautiful, catacombs of the Kleiner Wasserspeicher, an ancient water tower, now haunting art gallery and performance space. The brick bunker of the Kleiner Wasserspeicher, built beneath a hill, has petal shaped rooms that curve into one another. The space is cold and dark, but was breathtakingly lit for this production. The rooms were fashioned as museum installations and spect...

First Person: Deborah Hay, Richmond Hall (Houston, TX, USA)First Person: Deborah Hay, Richmond Hall (Houston, TX, USA)

First Person: Deborah Hay, Richmond Hall (Houston, TX, USA)

Deborah Hay, a member of the Judson Dance Theater and a founder of postmodern dance, performed at Richmond Hall on October 13 at noon and again at 3pm. Her site specific work called Richmond Hall was performed by the audience, six dancers and her within the Dan Flavin installation. The event began with six dancers/conductors gathering and forming the audience into six groups. Each group was lead by a conductor and instructed by their conductor to follow and stay near them. Hay’s entrance was preceded by vocal sounds she was creating. She then joined the space and composed and moved her body through the space. Throughout the event, Hay performed around and at times within the pond-like masses the groups formed. Sometimes she created accompanying sounds. At other times, it was silent other t...

First Person: Imitation Of Participation at Prelude.12 (NYC) #prelude12First Person: Imitation Of Participation at Prelude.12 (NYC) #prelude12

First Person: Imitation Of Participation at Prelude.12 (NYC) #prelude12

This past October 3-5, 2012 Contemporary Performance Network was a critical partners for the annual PRELUDE.12. NYC Regional Editors engaged with PRELUDE and are now following up with their first person responses. These Regional Editors are Kathleen Amshoff, Esther Neff, Raul Zbengheci, and Emily Bercir Zimmerman. In the next days, we will post each of their responses and continuing the conversation in the comments section. Below is Kathleen Amshoff’s reporting on the theme, Imitation of Participation. Imitation of Participation Hoi Polloi/Alec Duffy In this panel discussion, Prelude curator Caleb Hammons questioned three people about their community-oriented theatrical work. I hadn’t read the program, and I sat expectantly watching these three youngish, hip people, suitably diverse...

Featured: (e)merge art fair 2012 (Washington, DC)Featured: (e)merge art fair 2012 (Washington, DC)

Featured: (e)merge art fair 2012 (Washington, DC)

Call him Ishmael. Seriously. At 5am on a cool morning in early October, Andrew Wodzianski launched his thirty-six hour endurance performance called Self Portrait as Ishmael at the (e)merge art fair here in DC. “Launched” is not a metaphor. In the predawn darkness at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, a sixties-era time-warp, Wodzianski slipped a coffin into the outdoor pool and climbed on board. Barefoot, dressed in a 19th Century’s seaman’s jacket and khaki pants, with only a couple of bandanas as props, he floated on top of the coffin until 5 pm the following day. Underwater magnets kept the light wooden coffin gently turning in the center of the pool but it was Wodzianski’s careful movements- laying back, sitting up, stretching, kneeling, occasionally dipping his hands in the water- that ...

First Person: Reflections On The Form Of Prelude.12 (NYC) #prelude12First Person: Reflections On The Form Of Prelude.12 (NYC) #prelude12

First Person: Reflections On The Form Of Prelude.12 (NYC) #prelude12

Though Prelude.12 addressed four themes, this organizing principle was the most privately critical aspect of the 3-day festival’s form as audience members leafed through the program for the color-coding blocks sorting the performances, lectures, video, and readings into the categories Manifestos, Imitation of Participation(the largest category), The Future of the Cinema is the Stage, and Return of the Singspiel. Beyond these four themes, formal aspects of the festival far better activated and echoed the most politically and theoretically driven concerns of the experimental performance it presented. Artists across performance disciplines have worked for decades to unify form and content, to align logistic and social structures of performance events with the ideological positions of theatric...

First Person: Overcooking and The Judson Church (Malte)First Person: Overcooking and The Judson Church (Malte)

First Person: Overcooking and The Judson Church (Malte)

In the age of processed culture, to build roots is uncommon. The thread of life, the essence of reason, the richness of wisdom and the spectacle of nature are being metamorphosed into a vacuum of glutinous addictions which mould the cycle of mankind. This vacuum is an aquarium of opportunities which may fulfil lists, accounts and numbers that allow us to take multiple paths, protect ones deepest secrets with passwords and have power. I am writing about the pool of choices which we face and the dangers it introduces to our life, our goals and our art. You can become a master of yoga studies whilst eating spaghetti from a Heinz can, then go for a body wrap treatment. Serve your vanity with your new SLR, the camera that gives you high resolution images for your newly published blog which als...

First Person: Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen, 343 Perspectives at Peckham Space (London, UK)First Person: Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen, 343 Perspectives at Peckham Space (London, UK)

First Person: Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen, 343 Perspectives at Peckham Space (London, UK)

  Using residents of areas in London that are only served by one mode of transport, the 343 bus Larsen’s film shows different perspectives on the people who live within these communities. The film tells the stories of a number of residents living on the estates in Camberwell and Peckham, focusing mainly upon notions of community, loneliness and Isolation. The film loops a number of different clips the order of these clips is never repeated. Meaning that you can feel as though you have seen the full loop of the film when, in fact it is the same clip being replayed. It is unclear to me why the director made this decision; perhaps it has something to do with the order in which the bus travels. The film allows us the chance to see the way in which people who are on this bus route live; th...

First Person: Prelude 2012 Manifestos // The Potential Space (NYC) #prelude12First Person: Prelude 2012 Manifestos // The Potential Space (NYC) #prelude12

First Person: Prelude 2012 Manifestos // The Potential Space (NYC) #prelude12

This past Wednesday – Friday October 3-5, 2012 Contemporary Performance Network was a critical partners for the annual PRELUDE 12. NYC Regional Editors engaged with PRELUDE and are now following up with their first person responses. These Regional Editors are Kathleen Amshoff, Esther Neff, Raul Zbengheci, and Emily Bercir Zimmerman. In the next few days we will post each of their responses and continuing the conversation in the comments section. Below is Raul Zbengheci’s response to the opening night manifestos.   Some quotes lifted directly from my notebook: Richard Foreman: taking no position as a conscious choice Leah Nanako Winkler: crash the new car and make it explode Mac Wellman: theater of the future derives from the anti-theater impulses of the present David Levin...

First Person: Crawling with Monsters at Houston Fringe Festival (Houston, TX, USA)First Person: Crawling with Monsters at Houston Fringe Festival (Houston, TX, USA)

First Person: Crawling with Monsters at Houston Fringe Festival (Houston, TX, USA)

As a part of the Houston Fringe Festival, Crawling with Monsters performed on Sunday, September 9. This group is comprised of students and recent alumni from the University of Texas—Pan American near the Mexico-Texas border. The show is based on interviews and interactions with young children living in the border town of Reynosa. Video elements of the children nonchalantly demonstrating how they quickly dodge under their desks to avoid gunfire and live monologues by adults reading some of the children’s stories comprise the performance. The earnestness of the performers is what made this show compelling. These brave performers desire to share with audiences the about the often ignored violence and strife at the Mexico-Texas border. As an added bonus, they brought the award winning UTPA Mar...