We can start over any damned time we want to. This seems as good a time as any to declare this world “new,” a slow-motion big bust passed and a new magnetism pulling matter together in ways that would have previously seemed absurd, or even impossible. There is a new odor in the air, be it the roasting of our skin cells as the sun rips through the ozone or the oozing perfume of carnivorous blooms as the foliage rapidly mutates, we keep sniffing it up like 6th graders in the craft supply closet.
PPL certainly has a new sense of itself, with a new space (Panoply Performance Laboratory, 104 Meserole Street) in which to host projects like Matthew Silver‘s monthly “Performance Art Open Mic,” (first Sunday of every month), PERFORMANCY FORUM, and the work of artists we find particularly rigorous, revelatory, and rich in substance, such as Chloë Bass‘ One-on-One Consultations for her The Bureau of Self Recognition (August 2012), a one-night exhibition with visiting artists from London’s ]performance s p a c e [, Valerie Kuehne‘s curation and cognition of “performance music,” Miles Pflanz‘ book burning video-making, rehearsals for a piece by Yelena Gluzman, etc, etc, etc.
The space, however, has only been one aspect of condensing and strengthening of an identifiable community, individuals diverse in practice yet singularly dedicated to mutualism, collaboration, non-homegenizing collectivity, shifting points of leadership, and methodological rigor in the curation, conceptualization, and creation of live, situational, social, and performance art. It doesn’t need to be controlled, it’s impossible to frame with any kind of “art historical movement” kind of insufferable pretense, it simply occurs, dare we say “naturally,” though a fetish for “naturalness” is quite certainly a false faith.
As organically as shifts in tectonic plates however, IV Soldiers Gallery, directed and curated by Ivy Castellanos became a site for PPL’s core exploits this past year, during the iCan Exhibition and Social Project, and during the several month-long exhibitions that have radically reformed the way we work by allowing us to consistently perform short-form pieces in stimulating contexts.
Our practices have similarly been forcibly evolved by collaboration with Valerie Kuehne as PPL went on a tour across the Midwestern US, collaborating improvisationally with Kuehne and those present in bars, a bowling alley, a public library, at the MDW Art Fair, etc, developing modes for combining sonic art/music and object/body-based performance, improvising, and disseminating performance art using musician/band touring models. This national tour built on our experiences with Kuehne and Anya Liftig in May 2012, when we traveled to Berlin to participate in MPA-B, working reactively within dolanbay’s action installation at Grüntaler 9, participating in Performer Stammtisch, collaborating with Liftig, and doing workshops with Lioba Reckfort and the Intergalaktische Kulturverein. All of these cretaceous experiments multiply and mutate, appearing as (as a culmination of the US tour) a 12-hour “diner/opera” called You’re a Big Boy Now OR Rauschenberg ist Todlich
performed with Kuehne at Fitness Center for Arts and Tactics (the new gallery opened by Pflanz and cohort that pulled 14 artists/groups into an epic 14-day exhibition of “marathon” durational and relational performances), conceptions of performance as involving the acts of curation and organization that surround the public presentations themselves, and the initiating of The Compendium, a temporary collaboration between organizer-artists who produced Technics, a two-night exhibition dealing with technology/technique at Center for Performance Research in June 2012, and now a new unnamed but much larger group that is instigating the online and networked participatory, mass performance/festival Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival (BIPAF), which will culminate July 4-28, 2013.
Other events have seemed to effect PPL as shifts in weather, for example the projects involving PPL co-directors Brian McCorkle and Esther Neff outside of PPL, such as Brian’s work as part of Varispeed, the collective, which produced John Cage’s Empty Words as a sprawling opus spanning Roulette, Exapno, the Brooklyn Bridge, and 12 hours of sound, text, and music. More recently, Esther has become part of the No Wave Performance Task Force, instigated by Lindsey Drury (for whom Esther created a text/sound score for the dance Run Little Girl at Merce Cunningham Studios in February 2012 and with whom PPL are collaborating to create Any Size Mirror is a Dictator, our 2013 opera) and made concrete via collaborative, feminist-form durational performances (Transformation and Embody Explosion organized by Ivy Castellanos), and other events and meetings.
The more chaotic the environment/situation, the more performance thrives as a way of experiencing existence; states of becoming, recognizing, cognizing, relating, and communicating compose the now, and there is no ideal or eventual position of stability expected or even desired…ideas, spaces, organizations and other collectives, books, all the individuals with whom we’ve collaborated this past year, been curated by, curated/hosted, organized alongside, met with, all combine to construct a relational ecosystem too complex and fragile to parse, too specific to identify as any version of the world we’ve seen before…
PPL YEAR IN REVIEW THROUGH PICTURES…