Institute_Institut is the last piece in the Transformational Grammar of the Institutional Glorybowl trilogy, three works exploring relationships between institutions and embodied selves.
In December of 2008, PPL co-directors Esther Neff and Brian McCorkle began a process along “documentary” lines, using texts, ideas, and opinions explicitly written/stated by a de-hierarchized body of other humans as scores for attempts to directly perform/act out/embody epistemic currents. We began the trilogy with Schooled and Unschooled (Dixon Place and The West End Theater, 2008), followed in 2009 by Workforce/Forced Work (LMCC 14 Wall Street and chashama’s 42nd St. space, 2009).
By 2010, the research had swallowed us and the work became “operatic” in attempts to reconcile “sensible” institutional schemas with the all-consuming chaos and intersubjectivity of human engagement, participation, and construction, in and of institutions. Beginning to both formalize and destroy our own perspectives and methods (we currently maintain that these are simultaneous and inseparable intentions), for Institute_Institut we conducted a series of “Focus Workshops,” happening-type performances that were open to the public and used theater and movement therapy exercises to reenact emotional and psychological relationships between individuals and institutions. Interviews, in different forms, were also conducted with participants (off the street, invited, and as part of institutional and non-institutional gatherings).
Primary Focus Workshops were held at Surreal Estate in Bushwick, Judson Church in Greenwich Village (during the Anarchist Book Fair), Studio Maya in Prospect Heights, during FIGMENT on Governer’s Island, at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, and Force and Flow Studio in Crown Heights (and elsewhere). Moving through institutional constructs like “the theater industry” and organizations including schools, workplaces, hospitals, churches, government offices and stations (police), and of course our own “nation-state,” debating social institutions like marriage, kinship, religion, language, media, and pursuing “information about” many other areas of semantically tricky institutionality, we began to break down a matrix of considerations and communications which eventually resulted in the opera libretto and music. We then cast and rehearsed the opera over the course of 8 months. Public rehearsals and performances at BOB the Pavilion at Columbia University, during Superfront’s Public Summer at Industry City, LPAC, and incubation and a run of the opera (fully staged) at the cell concluded the project. PPL collaborators on this project included: Megan Cooper, Natasha Missick, Katie Johnston, Matthew Stephen Smith, Brian Rady, Hyatt Michaels, Michael Newton, Kristin Elliot, Ellen O’Meara, Adrian Owen, Andrew Whipple, Dave Ruder, Greg Loewer Jr. and Marie Weigl. Here is a video clip from documentation of that production:
Here is a video:
Last year, Dave Ruder approached us about making a recording of this opera (operetta really). Thus began a process of individually recording each vocal and instrumental part. This took a few months. And then mixing took a few months. Finally, the recording is completed. You can listen to it by clicking:
SALLY: Jessica Jelliffe
MOMMY 1: Gelsey Bell
MOMMY 2: Lisa Clair
MOMMY 3: Brian McCorkle
GEORGE 1: Paul Pinto
GEORGE 2: Matthew Stephen Smith
GEORGE 3: Brian Rady
ANIMALS: Baxton Alexander, Jason Craig (documentary voiceover), Kristin Elliot, Ellen O’Meara, Esther Neff, Dave Ruder
GODBRAIN: Adrian Owen
CLARINET + GUITAR: Dave Ruder
VIOLIN: Daniella Fischetti
DRUMS: Cory Bracken
SYNTHESIZER/KEYBOARD: Brian McCorkle
We are also participating in the launch party for this batch of Gold Bolus recordings! Join us next Saturday night, July 26 @ JACK.
Celebrating the second batch of sonic realities being dispatched by the wee Brooklyn label Gold Bolus Recordings (www.goldbolus.com). Featuring sets from four acts who’ve just put out new albums and one with an album on the way, as well as booze, and of course, tin foil. Admission $10 at the door. Performances by:
Backed up by her horn section, Ellen O’Meara plays tunes from her just released synth pop instant classic, Sparrows and Doves
Aliza Simons & Dave Ruder + some guests playing a wide range of songs from their freshly unveiled album Osoitos
Panoply Performance Laboratory
Two acts from Esther Neff & Brian McCorkle’s 2011 opera Institute_Institut, performed by a stable of the finest singers around
Premiering a live interpretation of his ambitious sonic and visual mapping of each state in the USA
Dave Kadden delivers heavy synth, voice, & oboe tunes from his record, coming this Fall
Thank you for reading, and for listening!!!!!