Archive

Panoply Performance Laboratory

theater Theory posterTheorems, Proofs, Rebuttals, and Propositions: A Conference of Theoretical Theater

PART I: September 6, 7, 8
PART II: September 12, 13

Theorems, Proofs, Rebuttals, and Propositions: A Conference of Theoretical Theater is being held to communally research how theorizing is performed. We use the word “the-ater” to frame performance modes that propose a way of seeing, or “the-ory.” We seek to enable serious consideration of the ways that performance constructs ways of knowing, but also ask how dramaturgy and other “theatrical” ways of knowing inform and sometimes restrict discursive and dialogic processes at large.

Therefore, at the core of this conference is performance. The conference begins with four plenary presentations, all in the form of performances, by Amapola Prada, Reality Research Center, Kikuko Tanaka, and Mike Taylor. Each of these will be followed by a moderated discussion. The responses by conference participants will discuss, derail, and embody theater-as-theory.

CONFERENCE REGISTRATION is $50 for full access* to the two public weekends of the conference. Register here: http://theaterastheoryconference.bpt.me/. Entrance to any of the public events individually is $10 strongly suggested donation (or DNA in the form of hair or fingernails at Glasshouse).

*August 31st-September 4th is Acts I, II, and III of the Reality Research Center’s “Symposium.” The piece is a workshop-format performance for 12 individuals during the day. Participation is first come, first served and will occur at Momenta Art. Please note in your registration if you are able and desirous to participate in this aspect of the conference.

Friday Sept 6
5-8pm Amapola Prada / Plenary Performance
(Glasshouse Projects)
“REVOLUTION”
http://amapolaprada.tumblr.com/

8pm Amapola Prada / Moderated Discussion
(Glasshouse Projects)

< dinner break >

10:00-11pm Kikuko Tanaka / Plenary Performance (Panoply Performance Laboratory)
“Poultry Paradise and Its Discontents: Nightshifts”
http://www.kikoworld.net/kikukotanaka-poultry-padise-and-its-discontents.html

Saturday Sept 7
4:00-5:00pm Kikuko Tanaka / Moderated Discussion (Panoply Performance Laboratory)

7:00pm-12:00am Reality Research Center / Plenary Performance Act IV*
Dinner will be provided.
(Glasshouse Projects)

[Note: Only the 12 audience members from Acts I-III can participate in this final, inner sanctum Act IV of “The Symposium”]
http://www.todellisuus.fi/en/periaatteet/

Sunday Sept 8
1:00-4:00pm Mike Taylor / Plenary Performance Part I (Glasshouse Projects)
“IDEA MACHINE”
http://www.mixedmsg.com/

4:30-5:30pm Reality Research Center / Epilogue and Moderated Discussion (Glasshouse Projects)
Public

6:00-7:00pm Mike Taylor / Plenary Performance Part II and Moderated Discussion (Glasshouse Projects)
Moderated by Gavin Kroeber
“IDEA MACHINE”
http://www.mixedmsg.com/

7:30 Casual drinks & wrap-up discussion

In this intervening week, invited conference participants (scholars, artists, writers, and others) construct responses to the four plenary works in the form of performances, dialogues or writing. These works are performed or read on the following two days:

Thursday Sept 12th
7-10pm Participant response panels and performances (Glasshouse Projects)

Friday Sept 13th
7-11pm Participant response panels and performances (Glasshouse Projects)
— In conjunction with a closing party/Glasshouse residency opening —

Glasshouse Projects
246 Union Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
http://glasshouseproject.org/

Panoply Performance Laboratory
104 Meserole Street
Brooklyn, NY
http://www.panoplylab.org/space

BIOS

Amapola Prada lives and works in Lima, Peru. Her practice navigates the intimate spaces within human beings unprocessed by consciousness and expressed by non- rational impulses to create symbolic works resonating the social conflicts of everyday life. Her performance work has been presented by the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, Belo Horizonte, Brasil; Performa 11; the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca, Mexico; and the II Bienal Internacional de Performance in Santiago de Chile, Chile. In 2011, as a Franklin Furnace Fund Fellow, her solo exhibition Modelo Para Armar: Rehearsing The City was on view at the AC Institute in New York City. She received a BA in Social Psychology from Pontifica Universidad Católica del Perú.

Reality Research Center is a well-known performing arts collective based in Helsinki, Finland. Their works stem from critical perspectives that observe, question and renew the surrounding reality through performative means. During 2012-13 RRC is creating Utopian Reality, which uses the everyday as an artistic medium and invites everyone to reconfigure it with utopian practices.

Mike Taylor is a writer, director, installation artist, and performer across disciplines. Her projects have been performed, read, and shown at The Kitchen, The Invisible Dog, CUCHIFRITOS art gallery, Dixon Place, La Mama, TONIC, and elsewhere. She has recently collaborated with Ralph Lemon, Lance Gries, and, her primary collaborator in this experiment, Iki Nakagawa; and has worked extensively with Meredith Monk, Yvonne Meier, Sibyl Kempson, John Jesurun, Urban Bush Women, Richard Foreman, Dar-A-Luz, Conway & Pratt Projects, The Wooster Group, The Ridiculous Theatrical Co, and many others.

Born and raised in Japan, Kikuko Tanaka is a frantic artist based in New York. She has performed and exhibited in various venues, including Smack Mellon, Momenta Art, NARS Foundation, Center for Performance Research, Amelie A.Wallace gallery at SUNY Old Westbury, Glasshouse, Vox Populi, Arario Gallery and Panoply Performance Laboratory among others. Her work has been reviewed in Art in America, Art Info, and Hyperallergic. She was a nominatee for a Rema Hort Mann Foundation Visual Art Grant in 2010. Her open-ended multi-media tragicomic epic, A Tragic Bambi, is fiscally-sponsored by New York Foundation for the Arts. She has a cross-disciplinary background in her education. She holds a BA in Landscape Design from Chiba University, and has studied fine art at School of Visual Arts, and interdisciplinary study at Hunter College and Graduate Center, New York. She is also a co-founder/ co-director of a not-for profit organization, Agape Enterprise, Brooklyn, New York.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Theorems, Proofs, Rebuttals, and Propositions: A Conference of Theoretical Theater was established by Esther Neff (Panoply Performance Lab) and Yelena Gluzman (Science Project / UCSD / Ugly Duckling Presse). It is sponsored by an Honorary Fellowship for Utopian Practice from Culture Push.

To contact the organizers, please email theatertheoryconference@gmail.com.

We (Esther Neff and Brian McCorkle) are recently returned to US soil after a harrowing durational airport performance in which we waited in line for 3 days and complained with the other people also waiting. This performance happened in addition to more specifically framed-as-art and scheduled performances in Berlin, Copenhagen, and Dortmund.

First, Teena Lange had us at Grüntaler9‎ for 4 days as part of her durational series “The Image or the Act?”  as part of MPA-B. Esther, Brian, Valerie Kuehne, and Ivy Castellanos performed 9am-9pm, operating a diner called You’re a Big Boy Now *OR* Rauschenberg Ist Tödlich, during which participants could order food (including cast chocolate body parts made by Ivy, burgers, eggs over easy, and various specials of the day), and actions/interactions involving psychoanalysis, plaster heads containing ketchup, more ketchup and mustard, food coloring, paper plates, and instruments of torture and noise including cello, meat grinders, electronic sound, keyboard, and piano horn. Video to come…

Ivy Castellanos, Hector Canonge, and Guru Rugu (Adam Overton) performed solos on three of the evenings as curated by PPL:

We also performed at the MPA-B Open, Loophole, and had some meetings about BIPAF…PPL then took a ferry ride across the Baltic Sea to be a part of Hitparaden at the Pumpehuset, where we met some fascinating folks and threw kroner into the river.  HERE IS A VIDEO OF THAT PEFORMANCE: https://vimeo.com/67509267.

Back in Berlin, we participated in (CON)TEMPORARY SPACE-TIME  at AquaBit, performing solos…

We also talked to Verb Frau (a.k.a Margaret Dragu) on camera: https://vimeo.com/66716181…Then we took the bus to Dortmund to perform at the Shauspeilhaus as part of SMALL BEAST:

Then we went back to Berlin for more (CON)TEMPORARY SPACE-TIME at Leibig12:

Thank you to Sindy Butz, Ivy Castellanos, Amber Lee, and Hilary Sand for four remarkable durational performances yesterday, Saturday February 16.

Here is some photo documentation:

++++

Craft is a process-object, a powerful alternative trajectory of being in time, it is act and image, its own index and its own result. Inside craft, time stops and function splits conceptually into multiple potentials: material use, catalysis of transcendental states, nonlinear cause and effect relationships with ephemeral existence, literal and metaphorical creation of new forms. These four artists use crafts, the craft, craftiness, and crafting to deal with history, technology/technique, forms of knowledge, the body and womanhood, human agency, and power:

Sindy Butz and Ivy Castellanos have know-how. Their practices include wearable sculptures made with porcelain, molded Styrofoam, and layers of paint (respectively) and more. They apply techniques they’ve tested and developed over time, skilled use of materials, teachable, repeatable techniques and new techniques they’ve invented. As their know-how, the technical, blends with performative task, their bodies become both consciously crafting agents and remain objects themselves. As predominantly constructive sets of skills, “crafts” used in performance emphasizes the problematics of human agency in its most literal forms by demonstrating the complexities of cause and effect relationships between an individual and the material world as well as grey areas between animacy and. inanimacy. The craft, or witchcraft, takes agency a step further into the immaterial, into projection of energies and molding of time and space. Amber Lee frames spellcasting as performance, practicing re-designed forms of rituals meant to operate effectively beyond the immediate situation. She harnesses the repetition of certain performances throughout time, drawing from traditions and beliefs that have been practiced for centuries. In this case, spells themselves are crafts, patterns of symbols, instructions for the body, words imbued with meaning and power. The power of know-how, craftiness, is a form of social and spiritual intelligence. For Hilary Sand (see her text on the next page), craftiness is a practically political situation, a state of self-recognition and confidence that deals with dominant power paradigms and negotiates social evolution. Hilary’s ongoing use of textiles allows her to allude to crafts that have been gradually excised from daily life, crafts that once clothed the body, crafts that once defined womanhood. In that her wrapping, tangling, and weaving is “nonfunctional” it asks us to evaluate which know-hows (aesthetic? critical?) we choose to practice and how.

-curator

Value of Variety

Hilary Sand

How did my grandmother know that salt immediately applied can lift red wine stains? Or that vinegar is a perfectly efficient cleaning material: safe to eat, safe to breathe, safe to touch, and chemical-free? How did my grandfather know to make a fishing pole out of reeds and not branches, so it would be bendy enough to give when the fish pulls? Or that perch especially love corn? Why didn’t my grandparents need self-help books to stay slender, or understand their children, or figure out their interpersonal relationships? What did they know about the world, their minds, their bodies, which I do not?

We have become so specialized that we do not trust ourselves to fix a hole in the wall without calling a professional. Many times, we are not wrong. But someone will always be able to do something better than you when you do not even once make the attempt. We often do not feel compelled even to attempt things any more. In “Art and Work,” an essay published in 1965, Harold Rosenberg said “The ideal vista for the future is clear: it is that self-development shall be the motive of all work. If that ideal prevails, the distinction between the arts and other human enterprises will become meaningless.”[1] Forty-eight years later, while the rest of the populace never seems to have gotten Rosenberg’s memo, I think this is becoming more than an ideal for artists, it is a goal. Interdisciplinarity and community-based art practice are its heralds: we are beginning to not only share what we know, and to expand the fields of our knowledge, but to strive for cohesion and synthesis among these spaces.

Today, we can look things up, to verify with the voices of millions online that my grandparents’ tricks will work, that they do work. But I don’t like corn, I buy my fish in pieces from the grocery store where it does not look back at me with a forlorn expression, and I most definitely trust Windex over vinegar to keep my windows shiny and Shout over salt to keep my fabrics pristine. I buy bags of cookies and boxes of crunchy cheese crackers and make myself sick with snacks (mostly metaphorically). I have read many words about how to live in today’s world. I do not think that I am happier than my grandparents were. But, I do have a bonus: I have them.

I am carrying around a host of historical knowledge, though it is small knowledge by many standards. It is unused knowledge; it is even perhaps redundant knowledge—in light of the unlikelihood of a sudden change in our socio-economic cultural structures or of the absolute death of my ambitions. But, like non-coding genes in our DNA and vestigial structures that are no longer actualized in the systems of the body,  this knowledge will sit in my bones and live in my mind until it becomes evolutionarily beneficial once again.

I recently spilled red wine on a white dress at an art opening, and the gallery didn’t have any stain-removers, but they did have salt. It works just fine.


[1] Harold Rosenberg, “Art and Work” in Discovering the Present, (Chicago and London:The University of Chicago Press, 1973), 68.

IV Soldiers in 2011

IV Soldiers in 2011

While the commercial art world struggles to fit the performance practices of artists today into existing market models and performance artists struggle to fit their practices into existing market models and/or to resist existing market models, Ivy Castellanos, director and curator of IV Soldiers Gallery has come a long way in the past two years her storefront gallery has been open on Noll Street towards developing new modes for the presentation of Performance Art.

Slash and Burn is characteristic of Castellanos’ curatorial methodology, involving artists in a sequence of Thursday night performances and inviting them to create new performances following an action-based directive. In this case, artists have been encouraged to “resist resistance, succumb to violent impulse, insist, enforce, make space,” a directive that Castellanos identifies as a “representative aesthetic” of the gallery, drawing on her own military background and interest in the conflux between performance art and social justice. The action-based directive, the opportunity to work on a performance with a public audience over the course of three nights, and the presentation of the work in a visual arts context all provide a concrete platform for realizing performance art

IV Soldiers in 2012, 'Transformation' performance in progress

IV Soldiers in 2012, ‘Transformation’ performance in progress

blog3as a discipline. Past exhibitions at IV Soldiers have similarly provided a conceptual directive, from ‘to campaign, to advocate” for Campaign, the gallery’s inaugural exhibition, through public can collecting and social projects during iCan in October 2012, through ‘to collaboratively and improvisationally build a conceptual treehouse, to use a site, to perform using each other’ for Transformations in November, 2012.

For SLASH AND BURN: Performance Art, each night will present the performance work of Lindsey Drury, Hiroshi Shafer, Valerie Kuehne, and PPL (Esther Neff and Brian McCorkle). Performance exhibition nights are free and open to the public.

slashandburn

SLASH AND BURN: Performance Art

Thursdays, January 17, 24, and 31
 8pm-10pm 

IV Soldiers Gallery
184 Noll Street
Bushwick, Brooklyn

valerie

Valerie Kuehne

Ivy Castellanos at MANA Contemporary in Chicago, on tour with PPL and Valerie Kuehne

Ivy Castellanos

lindsey

Lindsey Drury

hiroshi

Hiroshi Shafer at IV Soldiers

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.

Miao Jiaxin performs at PPL, 2012

Miao Jiaxin performs at PPL, 2012

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.

PPL bookshelf

spacespacespacespace

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.

Screen shot 2012-08-03 at 1.09.20 PM

PPL’s ‘NATURE FETISH: A public opera’ in Art Review

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.

participants play analog can instruments during one of PPL's  iCan exhibition performances at IV Soldiers

participants play analog can instruments during one of PPL’s iCan exhibition performances at IV Soldiers

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 

You're A Big Boy Now OR Rauschenberg ist Todlich (photo by Sissie Strutt)

You’re A Big Boy Now OR Rauschenberg ist Todlich (photo by Sissie Strutt)

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.

'PPL Help the Water' at the Gowanus Ballroom during 'To the Stars on the Wings of an Eel'

‘PPL Help the Water’ at the Gowanus Ballroom during ‘To the Stars on the Wings of an Eel’

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…

tumblr_md4ltxqVFV1ref40po1_1280photo of Brian McCorkle by Eyal Perry

PPL Homage to Allan Kaprow: Any Size Mirror is a Dictator #4

Glasshouse Projects
homage series

panoplylab.org/kaprow.html

an audience of performers
only simple instructions and signs on the walls suggest action
wine, chalk/chalkboard, envelopes, flannel shirts are given
we understand ourselves to be performing
the wine helps
certain instructions are interpreted, also text
we perform together, ecstatically
purely on impulse yet in fabricated situ
soup is eaten
a short opera is memorized by all and sung in public
gas station, baseball diamond, street, etc
more people join us
we all keep performing

DEAR COMMUNITY: we are most grateful to even be able to begin a note like this, addressing a body of individuals whose work and ideas are our daily bread.

THANK YOU to our collaborators and colleagues for having conversations with us, hosting us in your studios, spaces, and galleries, for planning and scheming with us,  for driving, for bringing coffee, for always sharing the beer, for helping haul things, for breaking various walls (literally and figuratively), for organizing talks, for attending our shows. THANK YOU for making your work, it’s impossible to quantify the influence and encouragement your practices engender THANK YOU for pursuing your obsessions to the point of madness, for working long hours, for keeping on keeping on, for spending your own money on equipment, props, travel, etc, for re-arranging your schedule, for sharing your skills and resources, for working that awful day job so you can write/compose/paint/build/practice/plan at night, for following through on your ideas, for writing down what you think, for sharing what you feel, thank you for performing even when you’re sick or exhausted or when there are only a few people in attendance, thank you for the long long long long rehearsals and dedication to your craft, thank you for not becoming a banker, a car wash attendant, a graphic designer, or a software developer. THANK YOU for for listening/watching/participating, and for giving us an opportunity to do the same: we are your rapt audience. THANK YOU. Thank You.

Finally, after that little bit of sentiment on a plate, fresh as shit out of the oven as if we are contestants on top chef canada, we will now update the pudding out of you:

PPL is an umbrella for when the snow turns to sleet. As such, Valerie Kuehne, Esther Neff, and Brian McCorkle have been performing together across the midwest, enjoying the improvisational frameworks provided by situations at a public library, warehouse, bar, house, gallery, bowling alley, etc. Thanks to Anya Liftig and Ivy Castellanos for joining us in Chicago for MDW and at the glorious Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery. Now we’re back in Brooklyn at PPL on Meserole Street. Valerie’s about to release a new album and hit the road with Joey Molinaro (stay tuned) while Brian and Esther prepare for various upcoming NYC performances.

This Sunday, November 25, join us at Muchmore’s for Performance Heart, curated by Matthew Silver: an eclectic line-up of “handbags” including Mr. Silver, Sylva Dean and Me, Lorene Bouboushian, Geraldo Mercado, Elinor Thompson, Katie Donut and Jacquelyn Gallo.

In December Brian and Esther join forces again with Valerie Kuehne to perform at the brand-new Fitness Center for Arts and Tactics as part of their “marathon performances” series. The list of dates and artists comprising this series at Fitness is:

Dec. 10th – Panoply Performance Laboratory (PPL)
Dec. 11th – BabySkinGlove
Dec. 12th – Elinor Thompson
Dec. 13th – Ivy Castellanos
Dec. 14th – Reece Cox
Dec. 15th – Hilary Sand
Dec. 16th – Sindy Butz
Dec. 17th – Whitney Hunter
Dec. 18th – Alaina Stamatis
Dec. 19th – Adjua Greaves
Dec. 20th – Matthew Silver
Dec. 21st – Amber Lee
Dec. 22nd – Sasha Desree
Dec. 23rd – Frank Ludovico

Now that’s curation. Best bet for more information about these artists and projects is to google them or find them on some social network, or just show up sometime between 1pm and 1am on any of these days to see what’s going on, just so you have something to tell your grandkids about. As you can see above, we perform Monday the 10th. We will be doing a 12 hour aleatoric opera called You’re a Big Boy Now or Rauschenberg is Tödlich. Open to the public from 1pm-1am. Click here to visit the Facebook event and see the menu, click on the title above to read more about the project.

Fitness Center for Arts and Tactics is at 1196 Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn, New York 11221, right across from Little Skips and Microscope Gallery.

 

“Practice” is a term generally used to describe an artist’s way of doing things; their ever-evolving art-making processes as structured by ideology, theoretical concerns, practical considerations, techniques, methodology, disciplinary influences, and the daily functions of the individual(s) “maintaining” or “pursuing” this practice.  The idea of “practice” may be used as an umbrella term for interrelated parts of art-making, referencing disciplinary rehearsal towards mastery of technical components (as in, the violinist practices the violin), but also involving modes of production (how art is made, how its making operates in conjunction with social, economic, and political structures), and how the artist makes the work itself (as in, the painter gessoes aluminum sheets), with an emphasis on the relationships between these and an artist’s deliberately constructed conceptual framework for each and all.

In the past 40 or so years, ideas of “artistic practice” have been formalized by educational theory and psychology to describe frameworks for learning art-making. New ways of thinking about how an individual becomes an artist were necessary as institutions took over the education of artists from systems of private apprenticeship and amateur emergence. In addition to providing a conceptual argument for institutional artist education, theories using the term “artistic practice” are now often geared towards helping young artists make their aesthetic and formal choices consistently, and to help them develop cohesive “voices” or “visions” beyond their technical training, i.e. to develop a factory a la Andy Warhol inside which consistently viable and valuable artistic products are produced.

Towards this end, conception of this practical framework called “practice” has encouraged educational curriculums to assist students in designing individual practices, with design largely involving the translation of institutionally-imparted “information” into a productive synthesis of existing components. Likewise, these conceptions are applied to educating “the public” about art, and “knowledge of art” at large. John Falk and Lynn Dierking in Learning From Museums write that “As our society is increasingly inundated with information each individual needs to learn qualitatively and quantitatively better strategies for dealing with information.” For them, as for many educators at museums, universities, and conservatories, “information” describes the documented processes and contexts of well-known artists throughout history, theoretical positions and statements from art criticism, history, and theory, and existing artwork or its documentation and criticism. “Better strategies for dealing with information” then becomes the application of this autonomous, institutional “art sphere” information to individual art-making processes. This schema allows educational institutions to offer these “existing informations” as tools or applicable considerations to be purchased by students. It also helps professional artists to market their art as a product of legitimized and communicable processes, as “information” is consistently set into institutional vocabulary (dialectic, or rhetoric), and mimetically distributed (every art-world individual maintains the same set of facts, amounting to an education).

Problematics embedded in these institutional conceptions variously include reinforcement of strictly capitalist modes of production, discouragement of art that can’t be “explained” or otherwise given value based on past value of similar canonical products, discouragement from generative theorization and theory stemming from non-art-historical/non-canonical sources, the misconception of learning as a “filling of an empty vessel,” etc. These schemas of homogenization, autonomization, education, and hierarchization ultimately discourage artists from synthesizing and controlling their own culturally responsive practices. Moreover, we could certainly argue (similarly yet totally differently than Claire Bishop does in her recent Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship,) that institutional conceptions of practice prevent artists from effectively functioning as agents in the co-construction of human culture.

Moreover, reactions to these institutionally-formalized conceptions of “practice” have caused many artists to reject intellectual considerations in their own practices and to cease exploration of art history and theory across contexts, fields, and sources. Thus, we may find ourselves denying our constantstate of learning in the world and through our art-making processes. We must remember that not all learning theories advocate the development of a single, set-in-stone, marketable, “A Practice” based on a “dealing with” information; the extent to which “A Practice” can be/should be sustained throughout time by an individual, can be/should be borrowed as a framework by another individual, or can be/should be analyzed as such, are debates that

still from Chelsea Knight’s video work ‘Frame’

emerge from conception of “A Practice” as an artistic product in and of itself, something an artist or artist group “has” rather than something that he/she/they practice(s) as a course of action. We must remember that we are responsible for our own practices. Even constructivist epistemologist Lev Vygotsky, who is often credited with the conception of “framework” as a way of seeing/perceiving concepts, argues that learning happens through social interaction and that “information” is only viable during the active processes/practice of its synthesis. For Vygotsky, and perhaps for many actual working artists, practice is the action of framing, not a set of rules constructing a frame.

There is nothing to master, there is only performance.

My thinking about these “frames” for “practice” has been recently stimulated by the work of Lital Dotan and Eyal Perry, and their Glasshouse Project. Currently central to their project’s work is been a series of “homage” performances, with artists invited to create work in response to, and influenced by the performances, theories, and practices of artists like Ana Mendieta (September), Allan Kaprow (October), and next, Rirkrit Tiravanija (November).  

Ivy Castellanos performing during HOMAGE TO ANA MENDIETA, September 2012

These exhibitions are not meant to educate a public or to educate individual artists through re-performance of the works of well-known performance artists. Re-performance is part of a debate that continues to frame artistic practice as a set of something, a product, or a factory for producing products (see Istvan Meszaros). As such, “re-performance” is currently being masticated by arguments over context, liveness, and location of the author. These arguments maintain some confusion, as they are additionally framed by “performance art,” a discipline so “practice-based” in the Vygotsky sense that its products are nearly impossible to define as such (and we like it that way.)

What Dotan and Perry invite artists to do is 1.) Consider frameworks of practice and education themselves, i.e. the very modes of learning that artists practice, 2.) identify “practical” decisions in the work of others and in their own work and 3.) engage in artistic research as part of personal practice outside of institutional learning.

PPL include Esther Neff, Jessica Bathurst, Michael Newton, Brian McCorkle (seen above in documentation of PPL Help the Water, photo by Geraldo Mercado)

This month, PPL are working at Glasshouse in homage to Allan Kaprow. As we develop this night of performance (which has already been framed as such, ruling out practice of many of Kaprow’s modes) I am attempting to follow my own neural and practical pathways towards synthesis of information (which is unlimited and un-framed) and translation (via subjective association) of it into artistic practice. More than any other “influence,” Kaprow encouraged his students and fellow artists to practice in practice, to perform by performing, to learn by learning. It’s not easy; my own mind tries to frame decisions about what we will actually do in the space through a Lacanian lens (Imaginary, the Symbolic and the Real = Fraud, Absence and Impossibility), for example, just as Kaprow’s quote “The point is to do something that doesn’t even remotely remind you of culture” glares at me from the top of the piano (see right). Ultimately, my core focus as an artist working in this situation (in homage to Kaprow, as ourselves, in that space, etc) is to practice framing as an act.  I want to research the timing of artistic decisions throughout situations, to experience different relationships between spectators, artists, and participants, and to work against representation, sure. However, those interests must function as frameworks for collective practicing of practices. After October 26th is over, PPL may decide to transfer similar frameworks into our ongoing opera project Any Size Mirror is a Dictator, but ultimately we do not intend to permanently learn how to do something, not how it should be done based on Kaprow’s views, nor how ‘an artist’ should ‘deal with’ the ‘information’ of his past practices.

Our practical research will be free and open to the public, taking place over the course of 4 hours:

HOMAGE TO ALLAN KAPROW
Friday, October 26, 2012
7pm-11pm

Glasshouse Projects
246 Union Avenue
Brooklyn, NY

Eyal Perry (left) and Lital Dotan (right)

Glasshouse Project is an artistic home-laboratory of artists Lital Dotan & Eyal Perry. It’s aim is to promote artistic experiments that are based on performance and installation art in the domestic space. The space is constantly transforming from a home into a stage, a playground, a classroom and so on, making the domestic environment a platform of constant physical and mental exploration.

Since 2007, the project and the home it utilizes have evolved, moving between residential and commercial venues in Tel-Aviv, Israel, San-Francisco, USA and elsewhere in Europe. Now, Glasshouse Projects has moved into a two-floor apartment in Brooklyn. With a large storefront gallery and all rooms, including kitchen, bedrooms, and outdoor patio open to artists, Glasshouse hosts performance evenings and an international residency program, where artists from around the world are invited to create performance art projects.

Additionally, Glasshouse TUESDAYS will occur next week:

On the Blurring of Art and Life/ Lecture & Discussion
Tuesday, October 23, 8pm

Eyal Perry will discuss Allan Kaprow’s Happenings.

–Esther Neff

IV Soldiers
184 Noll St
Bushwick

iCan website

Conceived and lead by Ivy Castellanos, collectively curated and organized by the involved artists: Chloe BassIvy CastellanosQuinn DukesMiao JiaxinAnya LiftigGeraldo MercadoPanoply Performance Laboratory (Brian McCorkle and Esther Neff), Itzy Ramirez,Hiroshi Shafer, and Matthew Silver.

Enacted in 1982, the New York State Returnable Container Law hoped to encourage recycling by giving back a rebate of 5c per aluminum beer or soda can. Performance artists have long been adept at recycling trash to make work, relying on the “readymades,” furniture, lumber, clothing, and even food that others discard. Similarly, many political theorists relegate art as a whole into a “sphere of excess,” lumping art-making in with leisure-time activities such as getting drunk, shopping for pleasure, and going to nightclubs. Can art be a part of daily life? Can it be a profession? Is it worth anything? Are artists useless members of society? The iCan exhibition roots through the garbage for practical responses to these questions.

The act of collecting cans becomes a collaborative social performance and an attempt at survival as 11 artists, lead by curator-project organizer Ivy Castellanos, use the returnable container laws to raise artist fees, gallery space and studio rental, transportation costs, and more. As cans accumulate in the gallery space IV Soldiers, filling up the front window, artists will make performances in and with the cans each Thursday night in September.

For the months of July, August and September, the artists will also collect cans on the street and through several performance spaces, in conjunction with public project participants. The rebate from the cans will fund the exhibition as it is going on, creating a sustainable cycle of performance, product, and purpose. The exhibition is part of an overarching self-sustainability initiative, during which the artists will work together to make their practices economically self-sustainable.

Anyone can bring 12oz. aluminum cans to IV Soldiers Gallery Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 7-9pm through August or by appointment (ivsoldiers@gmail.com). Performances will take place in and using the cans on the Thursday nights in September at IV Soldiers. Cans will also be collected at Panoply Performance Laboratory (104 Meserole St. Brooklyn) throughout August and at Grace Exhibition Space in July.

iCan offers an aluminum structure for self-sustainability. 

Aug. 1 – can collecting at IV Soldiers Gallery and Panoply Performance Laboratory,

Aug.  30–Opening ofiCan exhibition at IV Soldiers Gallery, Exhibition Performances 8pm-11pm

Thursdays, Sept.  6, 13, 20– Exhibition Performances, 8pm-11pm

Sept.  27 – Closing at IV Soldiers and can bagging, 8pm-9pm


PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE:


Aug 30:
Opening reception and performances at IV Soldiers – Matthew Silver, Panoply Performance Laboratory (Brian McCorkle and Esther Neff), Geraldo Mercado, and Ivy Castellanos

Sept 6:
Performances at IV Soldiers – Hiroshi Shafer, Itzy Ramirez, and Anya Liftig

Sept 13:
A traveling performance between 3 spaces. The performance will begin at 8pm at IV Soldiers with Panoply Lab, Miao Jiaxin and Matthew Silver.
Sept 20:Durational Performances at IV Soldiers – Quinn Dukes, and Chloe Bass.
*********

Panoply Performance Laboratory (PPL) and Grace Exhibition Space Present:

NATURE FETISH

A Public Opera and Performance Exhibition

Thursday July 12, Friday July 13, Thursday July 19, and Friday July 20

8pm: NATURE FETISH: A Public Opera
9:30-11pm: NATURE FETISH Exhibition performances

Saturday July 14 and Saturday, July 21
4pm and 8pm:
 NATURE FETISH: A Public Opera
9:30-11pm: NATURE FETISH Exhibition performances

Grace Exhibition Space
840 Broadway, Floor 2
Brooklyn, NY, 11206
J/M/Z to Flushing Avenue
Tickets for the July shows including the performances as part of the exhibition after the opera are a suggested donation of $10-$20 at the door only.
http://grace-exhibition-space.com/

Press Photos, Trailers:
http://www.panoplylab.org/nature.html andhttp://www.naturefetish.wordpress.com

NATURE FETISH is a project conceived across social and disciplinary spheres. In its final state, it is a Public Opera, a hybrid, documentary, participatory, musical, situational performance of approximately 70 minutes.
The opera will be presented by New York City’s first and only dedicated site for conceptual, body-based and fluxist performance art, Grace Exhibition Space. As part of each performance, PPL-curated artists working in time-based performance across disciplines will deal directly with the “nature” of performance, operation of “nature” in performance, and conceptions of “nature” as such.

Thursday July 12:
The Call of Nature: bodily functions and fluids, embodiment, waste, want, meat, and human impact on natural environments. FEATURING: Elinor Thompson, Miles PflanzDave RuderMatthew Silver, and Lorene Bouboushian.

Friday July 13:
NATURE FETISH opera project collaborating artists, poets, composers, and performers show solo works dealing with their own projections of “the nature of nature.” FEATURING: Jessica BathurstCory BrackenBrian McCorkleEllen O’MearaEsther NeffMichael NewtonNatasha MissickKatie JohnstonArla BermanMatthew Gantt and others

Saturday July 14:

SIMULTANEOUS: Nature Fetish Edition: Ivy Castellanos of IV Soldiers Galleryworks with 4 performance artists simultaneously as an ecosystem or food chain or other emergent system. FEATURING: Felix Morelo, Ryan Hawk, Matthew Silver, and Miles Pflanz.

Thursday July 19:
The Natural Spirit: field recordings, indeterminacy, fluxus, improvisation and the influence of performance art’s “nature” on music and dance. FEATURING:Jason AnastasoffLindsey Drury, and Kyli Klevan.

Friday July 20:
Rituals and Totems: cultural semiology, feminism, naturalism, post-humanism, and the problematics of performance and anthropology. FEATURING: Lillie D’ArmonAnya Liftig, Kikuko Tanaka, and Quinn Dukes.

Saturday, July 21:
Video, Voice and the Nature of the Self: FEATURING: Alessandra Eramo (w/ David Grollman), Heather Warren Crow, Valerie Kuehne/Tuba?No Tuba and Joseph Keckler.