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AUGUST 3, 8:00pm-AUGUST 4, 8:00amhttp://panoplylab.org/www.varispeedcollective.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/emptywordsbanner.png

Empty Words Written by John Cage, Arranged and performed by Varispeed

8 PM – 10:30 PM: Part I: Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue

11 PM – 4:30 AM: Parts II & III: Exapno, 33 Flatbush Avenue, 5th floor

5 AM – 7:30 AM: Parts IV: Procession from Borough Hall over the Brooklyn Bridge

All parts of the performance are free and open to the public.

This overnight realization on Cage’s centennial is a meditation on the voice’s power to transform language into music. Varispeed’s new arrangement will lead audiences on a 12-hour journey of sound, from an ensemble of electronically manipulated and mutated song in the concert hall of Roulette to the noise of naked voices on the Brooklyn Bridge at dawn.

Written in the early 70s, Empty Words stands as an epic culmination of Cage’s exploration of the “demilitarization” of syntax and the voice’s power to evacuate meaning and create music. Using Thoreau’s journals as his source text, Cage employed chance procedures to remove all syntax from the original, creating four separate movements through which the level of textual abstraction grows.

Part One (utilizing phrases, words, syllables, and letters) begins in the concert space of Roulette, employing multiple performers and theatrics to employ the musical extremes of language. The performance then moves to the new music community space Exapno, where Varispeed transform Part Two’s words, syllables, and letters into new spatial arrangements. Peppered with food (and perhaps a nap), Part Three scatters syllables and letters around the building in a performance that is both a participatory scavenger hunt and a solo lecture. In conclusion, listeners will become performers on a communal sound walk through Downtown Brooklyn across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunrise, vocalizing the letters of Part Four in equal partnership with the surrounding urban “silence.”

Varispeed’s premiere performance of Robert Ashley’s Perfect Lives Manhattan was listed on Time Out New York’s Best of 2011 list and received praise in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. Varispeed has worked to discover new inroads into contemporary vocal music and opera in creating site-specific, sometimes-participatory, oftentimes-durational, forevermore-experimental events. As individuals, they are all multi-faceted performers, composers, songwriters, and thinkers who collaborate in ensembles such as thingNY, Panoply Performance Laboratory, and Cough Button. (text from the Facebook event)

Don’t miss this ephemeral epic. Varispeed is (from left to right in image above) Gelsey Bell, Paul Pinto, Aliza Simons, Dave Ruder, Brian McCorkle, and the ghost of John Cage…

Lately it seems all I’ve been doing is building contact mics for use in performance projects (Spilled Measures Dancing at my Feet, Run Little Girl, NATURE FETISH), along the way I have found that the usual method of using a 1/4″ cable with a small piezo (the much lauded RadioShack part #273-073 or equivalent) is not the ideal solution.

Thanks to the guidance I received from Ian M. Colletti of Vaudeville Park and the electronics collective NewBit (Aliza Simons and Gelsey Bell), I was able to supply 1/4″ contact mics for Zierle & Carter‘s performance of “Spilled Measures Dancing at my Feet” at Vaudeville Park. They had some of their own (thank goodness, there were so many sheets of metal) which had been made with XLR cable.

While testing the difference between the XLR and 1/4″ cables I found the XLRs were much more responsive (hot) and had a lot less noise in their signal.

This was something interesting to note, but has become a necessity since I’ve had the chance to work with Dreary Somebody, building contact mics for their upcoming performance of “Run Little Girl” at Merce Cunningham Studio (the last performance in the space before it is turned over to another company).

We attempted to install the contact mics upon our first arrival at the studio, only to find an extraordinary (to a musician/sound guy) lack of 1/4″ cable, and I didn’t have enough at home to run the mics (attached to paintings by Jillian Rose) to the sound system (we would have needed over 100 feet of cable).

Upon my return home I thought back to the wonderful XLR contact mics and our current predicament, realizing the best way to get good sound out of the paintings and the only feasible way to run them would be to build them with XLRs.

Because of the size of the paintings and the fact that location of the mics within them was important compositionally (the dancers had to be able to speak into them and “play” the paintings with the sound design by Esther Neff), each painting needed at least two microphones.

What follows is a brief overview of how to make two-headed contact mics:

1. Get your tools

As you can see I kept it simple:

  • soldering iron
  • needle-nosed pliers
  • rosin-core solder
  • clamp
  • electrical tape
  • scissors

2. Get your parts

  • piezo elements (only one pictured here)
  • XLR cable
  • XLR connector
  • wire (i used speaker wire I had laying around)

3. Solder the connector to the cable

Make sure to do this correctly, or your mics won’t work (check out this handy tutorial).

4. Solder the cable to the wire

Wind the wires that will be the ground for the mics together and attach to the ground of the XLR cable (the cable’s shielding), then attach the positive wires to the other two XLR leads (the “hot” and “cold” – shown here as the blue and white wires).

5. Solder the wires to the piezo elements

Make sure the ground wires are connected to the black wires of each piezo (they should be soldered to the outer ring of the piezo), and the others to the red.

6. Attach the mics to something and make some art!

I used electrical tape to isolate the exposed wire since if anything went wrong I wanted to be able to fix it fast. If you use heat shrink tubing your mics will look a lot more professional and be a bit more durable, but you’ll have to cut it off to get at any troublesome connection.

There you have it, an easy way to get a decent sound out of any surface. From the photos you’ll notice I didn’t shield the piezos from the elements (usually done with Plasti dip or a similar product). I wanted them to be as sensitive as possible to pick up the gentle scrape of nails or the rubbing of fingers.

Thanks to phase space’s tutorial on this, which lays this method out in more exact electrical terms, along with the trusty furious contact microphone assembly how-to. For the ultimate in contact mics, check out Zach Poff’s re-post of Alex Rice’s in-cable preamp design, brilliant!

Brian

Thanks to Quinn Dukes (stay tuned for documentation of her PERFORMANCY FORUM feat last week as well as those by Gelsey Bell, Nyugen Smith, and Aliza Simons) we are hosting UK-based performance artists Alexandra Zierle and Paul Carter this Monday night, January 30th, at 7pm!

Come out to Vaudeville Park, 26 Bushwick Avenue (at Devoe), for performance (Zierle & Carter are joined by Brian McCorkle and familiar volunteers…) “Spilled Measures Dancing at my Feet“!

The announcement:

Spilled Measures Dancing at my Feet

Alexandra Zierle and Paul Carter’s collaborative work is interdisciplinary, multi-sensory and site and context responsive spanning from live art/performance art, happenings and interventions, to sound, video and installation. Through their practice, Zierle & Carter critically examine different modes of communication and what it means to be human both as individuals and as a collective entity.

http://www.zierlecarterliveart.com/

‘Zierle & Carter’s performance ‘Spilled Measures Dancing at My Feet’ was premiered in Poland at Mozg Festival 2011. It involves a series of actions that are inspired by the artists’ on-going enquiry into what love is and what it is not, exploring what actions people take in order to move from a place of ‘non love’ to a place of love.

At Vaudeville Park, the artists will perform a new adaptation. The piece will unfold in an improvised way, responding to the ‘presence’ of the space and audience contributions. Acting as an anchor point throughout the work, the sound of 10,000 pearls spilling to the ground echoes throughout the space.

Zierle & Carter’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including Grace Exhibition Space (US), Exist-ence (Australia), and MOMA (US) and Plymouth Arts Centre (UK) as part of Marina Abramovics Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art and The Pigs of Today are the Hams of Tomorrow. They are currently in receipt of an Arts Council England grant for their Through the Heart: Works on Love, Life, and Laughter project.

Zierle & Carter will be collaborating with Composer/musician/sound artist Brian McCorkle: http://www.panoplylab.org/brianmccorkle/

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I have been reminding many of you to send performance documentation to Emergency INDEX, here’s another reminder: SUBMIT A DESCRIPTION OF YOUR PERFORMANCE TO EMERGENCY INDEX!!!  http://www.emergencyindex.com/performance.html (by January 3)

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hope to see you at two panels/talks in which PPL co-directors will soon be participating:

Publishing Performance in the 21st Century: Ugly Duckling Presse / Emergency INDEX

Wednesday, November 30, 2011, from 6:30pm -9:30pm at

365 5th Avenue, New York, NY

This evening’s performance-infused forum will address performance criticism, documentation, and the relationship between writing and performance. A panel discussion with performance publishers, critics, and curators will be followed by performances by artists and playwrights based on critical writing about their own work; and open discussion between the panelists, artists, and audience members.

THE PANEL:

Antje Oegel (53rd State Press)
Esther Neff (Panoply Performance Laboratory)
Claudia La Rocco (Brooklyn Rail; New York Times)
Sylvan Oswald (Play A Journal of Plays)
Lana Wilson (Performa)
Moderated by Matvei Yankelevich (UDP)

THE PERFORMERS: Aki Sasamoto, Jim Findlay, Julia Jarcho

ABOUT Ugly Duckling Presse/ Emergency Ugly Duckling Presse, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit run by a volunteer editorial collective, is the home of the “Emergency” series: the former Emergency Gazette; Emergency Playscripts; and Emergency INDEX — a forthcoming annual publication, in which artists reflect on the work they created in the past year. More info at www.emergencyindex.com

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Performers Forum
at Exapno, 33 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11217

Sunday, December 4, from 3:00pm to 6:00pm

On Nov. 6, Performa 11 presented Perfect Lives Manhattan, a day-long, site-specific celebration of Robert Ashley’s seminal opera for television, arranged and performed by the burgeoning art collective, Varispeed. Please join Varispeed at the monthly Performers Forum where members Aliza Simons, Dave Ruder, Paul Pinto, Brian McCorkle and Gelsey Bell will be presenting a performative “live documentary” and public forum on the process, practice and production of Perfect Lives Manhattan. Site-specificity, arrangement, ownership and questions of what contemporary opera is will be discussed through live excerpts, new musical compositions, video and dialogue with attendees.

“Less an act of rescuing a work from oblivion than one of repurposing its materials to unleash latent potential…. That Varispeed’s members could express themselves so readily through Mr. Ashley’s work while remaining faithful to it was impressive.”
-Steve Smith, The New York Times

Varispeed is a newly formed collective of composer-performers from music and theatre groups Panoply Performance Laboratory, thingNY, and Why Lie? that creates site-specific, sometimes-participatory, oftentimes-durational, forevermore-experimental events.

Performers Forum is anything you want it to be.  Curated by Corey Bracken. Suggested donation – Beers for $$$ – Awesome Vibes Gratis. Visit Performers Forum on the web for more details!
http://performersforum.com/upcoming-events/

Facebook event

(Performers Forum is not to be confused with PERFORMANCY FORUM, though the latter welcomes any association with the former…)

Turkeys on Theory: Thursday November 24

THANK YOU TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED IN AND ATTENDED THIS CONFERENCE!!!! IT HAS NOW CONCLUDED BUT WE WILL DO IT AGAIN SOON!

In the meantime, join the PERFORMANCY FORUM Facebook group HERE.

 


Beatriz Albuquerque performance this past Friday night at Grace Exhibition Space (with Sharon Shih)

 

The non-autonomy will continue this weekend!!!

Thank you/chokrane/merci/gracias/xièxie/danke/asante/arigato/etc to all who participated during the first weekend of Conference of Works: Operations and Participations, whether by standing around drinking beer or by sharing performance work as part of the “occupation” of Grace Exhibition Space!   Documentation is to come! Here’s some Dimanche Rouge (which was streamed into GES Saturday)  in the meantime…

Below is an updated schedule for this weekend…hope to see EVERYONE THERE, participating in the roundtables (yes, yes, please come) and experiencing the performances/talks/workshops etc.

Conference of Works: Operations and Participations

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11: VAUDEVILLE PARK
7:00pm:
Welcome! drinks, introductions
.

7:30: Ann Hirsch on her notorious hipster “cewebrity”! Visit Youtube.com/user/scandalishious and scandalishious.com if you’re curious before her talk!

8:00: G Douglas Barrett Ground Music, which will invite audience members to “take to the ground”—as a spatial and metaphorical site for political, philosophical, and sonic reflection.

8:30: Anya Liftig we do not know what Anya will do EXACTLY, but whatever she does, whenever she does it, it is always astounding.

9:00: Alex Young has a notion, and nothing that he does  really falls into ‘music composition, performance art, or internet’ work, though it does tend to address ‘artistic authorship while experimenting with modes of participation and intervention’.

10:00: Jules Rochielle is an artist and the founder of the Social Practices Arts Network (SPAN). Her visit to NYC from LA catalyzed–in part–this conference and the meeting of many like-minded people.

10:30: Gretta Louw:Controlling Connectivity Gretta has been living in a Berlin gallery space in complete isolation except for the internet since November 2nd. We will visit her online via skype and see how she’s handling it…

Five individual artists working in music composition, performance art, and interactive/internet forms describe, perform, and present projects that maintain artistic authorship and vision while experimenting with modes of participation, demonstration, and intervention. Come ready to partake in the bar, bring an instrument, bring a dry erase marker, bring a powerpoint presentation, bring an anecdote or joke, bring mittens, and a donation for Vaudeville Park. (address below)

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SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12: GRACE EXHIBITION SPACE
Opens at 3:30

ONGOING: SPAN site/listening station
listen to an archive of interviews with artists with social arts practices!

ONGOING: Urban Layers INTERACTIVE INSTALLATION
Interactively charting who, what, and where, on the wall of the space itself!

3:00pm and ONGOING: Mari Novotny-Jones in a 9-Hour Performance of INFECTION, COAGULATION, SEDIMENTATION, FILTRATION, DISINFECTION.

4:00pm: Open Discussion: documenting, proposing, and theorizing social practiced, engaged processes, and performance art. COME AND TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU DO and HOW YOU TALK ABOUT IT and WHY YOU TALK ABOUT IT LIKE THAT.

5:00: Gelsey Bell performs First Aid Kit, a participatory and indeterminate composition using that little red or blue box with the cross on it, and what’s inside it.

6:00: Christina de Roos and Thomas Bell (Spread Art) Bushwick duo, individual artists, gallerists, curators, and more  show their current work-in-progress and discuss their practice.

7:30: Aliza Simons leads a workshop/performance/happening with some little boxes, also known as radios, which allow sounds to be broadcast in at least a one-block radius.

8:00: Nate Hill presents Race Warriors: “Answer ten easy questions to uncover your racial prejudices, and play your own personalized race war video game,” a project of Racist Incorporated.  play online game here.

8:30: Angela Washko will explain how her practice evolved from a very traditional studio painting practice to a massively interdisciplinary practice with a distinct focus in community organizing, and her participation in collectives and combines.

9:00: Anna Jane McIntyre all last weekend we had story cards for people to fill out (and boy are there a lot of them! Some quite crude), now Anna will perform them over skype from her studio in Montreal, Canada.  

10:00pm: Hector Canonge Three words: perform/play/game. Hector is a master of participatory performance art, cultural organization, and more.

11:00: Dave Ruder’sWhy Lie? in this incarnation, 100 scores, from the graphic to the classically notated, each has its own internal logic and can stand up to a variety of different interpretations by trained musicians or by…you (whether or not you are, in fact, a trained musician)

Artist-curators, theorist-artists, and inter-disciplinary performers who wear “many hats” and come from many different performance backgrounds come together to share their work. Live participatory performances, talks, open bar, hands-on radio broadcasting from the space, and more!

********

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 13: VAUDEVILLE PARK
4:00pm:
Open Discussion: Politics of Aesthetics meet Practice
! You are invited, you are invited, you are invited!

5:00: Carrie Dashow will discuss her practice and how it’s been performing/operating as Yesiree, the notary, at Zucotti park and throughout Occupy Wall Street.

5:30: Valerie Kuehne, Dream Zoo, an improvisational music ensemble will perform! Valerie may also be queried about her curation, community-building, and more.

6:00: Alison Fleminger from the Performance Project @ University Settlement on her residency program for artists working in and with communities, on arts in education, on devising theatre and dance, and on after-school programs and her Play Tank ensemble.

6:30: Douglas Paulson discusses Parfyme, Action Club and his many other projects  in relation to ideas of participation, performance, collaboration, the role of the “audience”, etc.

7:00:Urban Layers is an experimental collaborative platform for urban writing, mapping and media. Its goal is to foster creative combinations of old and new media techniques for describing and understanding cities including tours, essays, photography, maps and video. See this work in action during the conference, hear the artists discuss past, present, and future Urban Layering!

How do artists work in a public sphere? How do artists become political agents, and how can  creative work, cultural organization, and social sculpture operate socio-politically? What does ‘responsibility of form’ mean to us now? What are the political concerns of “avant-garde” theories and forms? Diverse artistic practices, from notarization of public statements during Occupy Wall Street through co-creative urban mapping, through conceptualized musical improvisation are juxtaposed, discussed, experienced, and documented.

**********

http://www.panoplylab.org/conference.html

Vaudeville Park
26 Bushwick Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211

(Graham stop on the L train – Walk two blocks East on Graham Avenue and turn right onto Bushwick Ave.)

Grace Exhibition Space
840 Broadway
2ND Fl.
Brooklyn, NY 11206

(Flushing Avenue Stop on J-Z Trains – Walk 3 blocks East on Broadway)

For more information, e-mail  Esther Neff at panoplylab@gmail.com

The schedule is online!

CONFERENCE OF WORKS:
OPERATIONS AND PARTICIPATIONS

NOVEMBER 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 2011
Open to the public ALL DAYS.
suggested donation sliding scale $5-$15

Organized/curated by the Panoply Performance Laboratory with:
Social Practices Arts Network (SPAN), Dimanche Rouge, Vaudeville Park, and Grace Exhibition Space

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4TH: GRACE SPACE OCCUPIED!
Ongoing: Urban Layers INTERACTIVE INSTALLATION
7:00pm: Beatriz Albuquerque
7:30: Felix Morelo
8:00: Anna Jane McIntyre
8:30: Maria Hupfield
9:00: Stephen Bracco
9:30: Dara Malina
10:00pm: SK Orchestra

While Grace Exhibition Space curator-owners Jill McDermid and Erik Hokenson are occupying in downtown Manhattan, PPL curates from the streets, from craigslist, from arts social networks, and by word-of-mouth, making a concerted effort to shatter the autonomy of established, medium-specific performance communities. Artists will be provided with lights, sound, running water, a formalized public platform, and the context of “performance art” by one of the world’s best-known dedicated performance art spaces. After the show, artists and attendees go down to Zucotti Park to experiment with what kind of spectrum exists between “art” performance and “political” performance, between street theater, action, demonstration, intervention, performance art, and other forms, and to continue exploration of how performance artists participate in public culture.
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SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5: GRACE EXHIBITION SPACE
Opens at 3:30.
ONGOING:
Social Practices Arts Network (SPAN) site: practice documentation
ONGOING: Fill out storycards for Anna Jane McIntyre
ONGOING: Urban Layers INTERACTIVE INSTALLATION

4:00-7:00pm: Dimanche Rouge Special Edition, Skype Exhibition and Simultaneous Performance: Alexandre Pombo-Mendes, Carmen R. Cruz with Florent Maton and dancer Karl Paquemar, Daniel Gaudard, Manuela Centrone, ETC (Julien Arnaud + Anthony Carcone + Emmanuel Rébus), Savio Debernardis, Vlasta Delimar.
Streamed live from Batofar, 7 port de la gare, 13e, Paris, FR. Exhibition link HERE skype

7:30: Discussion with Jules Rochielle, SPAN organizer, skype
8:00: Lindsey Drury, Love Letter to A Dance Artist you Don’t Know (nor Care to Know)

The private is political, the local is global. Via skype, PPL and Dimanche Rouge join forces to present a simultaneous performance, as well as video, dance, and multi-media work streamed live across the Atlantic from Paris, France to Brooklyn NY, and vice versa. Participants, audiences, and attendees are also invited to fill out hand-drawn storycards for Canadian artist Anna Jane McIntyre, to be performed live via skype one week later, to co-create with Urban Layers, to engage with global practice-documentation project SPAN (Social Practices Arts Network) and create dance work to be performed and filmed by the choreographer/performer.
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Anna Jane McIntyre's Fill It In Yourself story cards

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11: VAUDEVILLE PARK
7:00pm:
Welcome! drinks, introductions
7:30: Ann Hirsch
8:00: G Douglas Barrett
8:30: Anya Liftig
10:30: Gretta Louw’s Controlling Connectivity skype

Five individual artists working in music composition, performance art, and interactive/internet forms describe, perform, and present projects that maintain artistic authorship and vision while experimenting with modes of participation, demonstration, and intervention. Come ready to partake in the bar, bring an instrument, bring a dry erase marker, bring a powerpoint presentation, bring an anecdote or joke, bring mittens.

***********

Angela Washko (depicted) on Being in Residence

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12: GRACE EXHIBITION SPACE
Opens at 3:30
ONGOING: SPAN site/listening station
ONGOING:
Urban Layers
INTERACTIVE INSTALLATION
3:00pm and ONGOING: Mari Novotny-Jones in 9-Hour Performance of INFECTION, COAGULATION, SEDIMENTATION, FILTRATION, DISINFECTION.
4:00pm: Open Discussion: documenting, proposing, and theorizing social practiced, engaged processes, and performance art.

Nate Hill's personalized video game. Launched 2011

5:00: Gelsey Bell
6:00: Christina de Roos and Thomas Bell (Spread Art)
7:30: Aliza Simons (radio transmission)
8:00: Nate Hill  (play online game here)
8:30: Angela Washko
9:00: Anna Jane McIntyre
skype performance of Fill It In Yourself story cards

10:00pm: Hector Canonge
11:00: Dave Ruder’s Why Lie?

Artist-curators, theorist-artists, and inter-disciplinary performers who wear “many hats” and come from many different performance backgrounds come together to share their work. Live participatory performances, talks, open bar, hands-on radio broadcasting from the space, and more!

********

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 13: VAUDEVILLE PARK
4:00pm:
Open Discussion: Politics of Aesthetics meet Practice
5:00: Carrie Dashow
5:30: Valerie Kuehne, Dream Zoo
6:00: Alison Fleminger from the Performance Project @ University Settlement
6:30: Douglas Paulson
7:00: Urban Layers Presentation
Closing and Afterparty (9pm: Organizations and artists planning meeting)

How do artists work in a public sphere? How do artists become political agents, and how can create work, cultural organization, and social sculpture operate in socio-politically? What does ‘responsibility of form’ mean to us now? What are the political concerns of “avant-garde” theories and forms? Diverse artistic practices, from notarization of public statements during Occupy Wallstreet through co-creative urban mapping, through conceptualized musical improvisation are juxtaposed, discussed, experienced, and documented.

**********

These November weekends will bring together performances, workshops, and discussions that deal with the operations (social, political, aesthetic, economic, etc) of participatory, interactive, aleatoric, and other “open source” forms in the practices of artists, curators, and cultural organizers.

http://www.panoplylab.org/conference.html

Vaudeville Park
26 Bushwick Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211

(Graham stop on the L train – Walk two blocks East on Graham Avenue and turn right onto Bushwick Ave.)

Grace Exhibition Space
840 Broadway
2ND Fl.
Brooklyn, NY 11206

(Flushing Avenue Stop on J-Z Trains – Walk 3 blocks East on Broadway)

For more information, e-mail  Esther Neff at panoplylab@gmail.com

If you do not have a day job, go do business on a holiday and check out Gelsey Bell, Brian McCorkle, Paul Pinto, Dave Ruder & Aliza Simons‘ plans for you tomorrow, Tuesday June 7th, 2011 starting at 11AM.

They (and you too, if you like) will be performing/paying homage to PERFECT LIVES at the Bank, the Church, the Bar, the Backyard, and so on, as needed for Robert Ashley’s seven 30-minute made-for-television opera “tapes.”

Times and locations here: Perfect Lives Brooklyn.

This post is written by one Midwesterner who is very very excited about it.

(title quote from Art, performance, media: 31 interviews By Nicholas Zurbrugg)

After the Conference of Works at University of the Streets this past weekend I feel the need to write some kind of “assessment,” so here it is.  During the Conference, Ben Spatz (Urban Research Theater) used this term, “assessment” in his discussion of technique and transmission/education, as did Dave Thrasher in his discussion of his situational, interactive project, and I think it’s a very interesting word/concept in terms of live performance. Yes, much has been made of performance’s “liveness,” its transient, temporary state and the impossibility of concrete or “scientific” assessment.  Having dissipated several days ago now, how can this Conference of Works, which included around 60 participants (most of us played multiple roles of participant/audience/performer/presenter) over the course of the two days and amassed a multiplicity of concepts and concerns, be assessed? How can its effect be charted or analyzed?

Many artists over the course of the weekend (especially those who hope for socio-political operation in some way) said that they can’t assess how their work is operating, how it’s taken by an audience, assess whether or not it’s been “effective,” and if their choices in terms of Mode, Method, and Medium have been the “right” ones.  Carrie Dashow expressed a desire for documentation and review after a participatory process, notarizing material forms as Yesiree The Notary for the Conference attendees that swore to their self-assigned artistic identities.  Towards additional permanence, Amapola Prada makes haunting videos of her staged actions, which allow the works to travel internationally and last beyond the sunny Lima days on which they are shot. Other artists participating in the Conference expressed a rejection of assessing their work and practices at all, choosing to “feel through” audiences and their reactions in order to determine if and how performance modes are effective. Chance and Melanie of The Nerve Tank said they sometimes measure the success of their work by “walk outs,” knowing that it’s literally affective when individuals can’t handle it in some way. The project Nate Hill shared often produces active responses of offense, as his website selling milk gargled by “pretty white girls” rubs salt into more than one exposed cultural wound.

But do reactions to our work control our practical experiments in the “scientific” sense, or assist any direct cause-and-effect assessment? “Science,” they say, relies on an index, something left behind where there was once the thing, while offense, or amusement, or trains of thought, quickly dissolve into life itself and can’t be indexed at all, other than by the individual to which they belong.   How can we follow through on the research aspects of our practices and put performance research towards the development of our modes and methods?  During the course of the Conference, we experienced Martín Lanz Landázuri, William Bilwa Costa, and dancers researching resonance, embodying the concept and examining  how resonance can be used in performance and performed as such.  We also experienced part 2 of Handan Ozbilgin’s 3-part Maids project,  which jumps off from the “research” text of Jean Genet’s Maids, Hyatt Michael’s  Syb’L Vane piece, drawn from The Picture of Dorian Gray, and  Hector Canonge‘s Immigrant 101, a performance-context lecture on immigration, incorporating found research images and statistics. The idea of “scientific” exploration, research, and “problems” (especially in Lindsey Drury’s intense, improvisational and site-specific dance work and Angela Washko‘s performance in which she attempted to disrupt two men building cardboard boxes), and the place where these intersect with participation and collaboration kept coming up, at times fusing into related concerns, and other times breaking apart into concrete statements about reasons for working in a certain way.

Several artists expressed during the conference that they consider the analysis and assessment of our work, and the choices we make during the process of creating work, a completely subjective task, which can’t be performed in a scientific or even articulable manner, as no unified or communicable, objective analysis or set of decision-making criteria can be constructed.  On this note but in a different key, J.J. Lind of Immediate Medium spoke during the Sunday round-table about how his collaborators, coming from varying mediums, backgrounds, and fields, working immediately and in the moment together, can build a stronger aesthetic and conduct powerful experiments. This idea perhaps suggests that collaboration is inherently a form of constant analysis that negates the need for formal assessment. Collaboration across disciplines seems to provide an anodyne in this way to the “problem” of subjective analysis, as multiple artists can walk away from a collaborative with something subjective learned or explored, or they can create a kind of “meme-plexic” index, that pools subjective responses outside of the individual selves involved. Jason Andrew, founder of NORTE MAAR for Collaborative Projects in the Arts has found that co-creation between artists from different disciplines produces new modes of expression and experiment, as have experimental music ensemble thingNY’s Paul Pinto and Gelsey Bell. With collaborative and participatory processes in mind, I believe that the inherent “subjectivity” of an analytic process does not make such a process of assessment or analysis less useful; “subjective” sometimes becomes a buzz-word that means we don’t have to talk about it in public, but perhaps it means that when something is seen as subjective, we simply must perceive it in a different way, through the convergence  of a wide range of subjective perspectives.  Perhaps we need to collaborate on experimenting with analysis itself.  In my mind, this was the task of the Conference, to get a multiplicity of subjectivities out of a private sphere and into an analytic public one.  In the organization of the conference, the attempt to combine a number of subjective perspectives and analyses wasn’t about getting closer to “objectivity” by finding the similarities/common denominators between subjective perceptions, rather it was about gathering and being able to see more than one perception at a time, gathering perceptions outside one’s own, and considering them as a range of assessments.  Perhaps one could also say that this goal (of seeing more than one subjective perspective) is one of the primary operations of performance arts, performance research, and the subsequent experimentation that these modes catalyze.

I can only say for certain that the experience overall with this conference, for me, was consuming, overwhelming, at times confusing, and powerfully moving, and that the plethora of subjective goals, assessments, tasks, and conclusions took me closer to knowing how to research, through my own practice, the multi-dimensional reality that we all experience from such difference angles. I am incredibly grateful to all who participated, for their generosity, articulation, expression, communication, recognition, organization.  Thank you to those I mentioned here, and to the many others who came, participated, performed, perceived, and practiced (esp. Paul Pierog, who was the only person other than Brian and I who attended the entire conference, both days, first to last).  I hope we do it all again soon!

You are cordially invited!

May 21st and 22nd 2011 at University of the Streets.

This conference, MODE, METHOD, MEDIUM brings together artists and cultural organizers who work between disciplines both in terms of medium and in terms economic/field-based distinctions. We hope to take a step towards dialectic and artistic solidarity between the independent and ‘avant-garde’ communities in dance, performance art, theater, and music, and to share our vocabularies and methods.

Presentations will include performances, project presentations, artist talks, papers, and interactive workshops.

Inherently and formally political, often interactive and/or participatory,  always startling and deeply considerate, artists, curators, scholars, and cultural organizers will share their work, discuss their practices, and participate to two open round-tables about what “medium,” as a mode of transmission, means to us now.

Saturday, May 21, 2pm-6pm
Sunday, May 22, 2pm-10pm

Public round-tables at 4pm both days

University of the Streets
130 East 7th Street (between 1st Avenue and Avenue A)
New York, NY 10009-6164

Open to the Public
Free

Participating artists and companies include:

Handan Ozbilgin, showing part three of her MAIDS project, members of experimental music ensemble thingNY, Ben Spatz/Urban Research Theater, JJ Lind and Liz Vacco of Immediate Medium, Peruvian artist Amapola Prada and her Lima New York Project, participatory performance art-ist Carrie Dashow, cultural organizer/icon Jason Andrew, sound and movement researchers William Bilwa Costa and Martin Lanz Landazari, Ashley Kelly-Tata of Enthuse Theater, the pyromaniacs from Aztec Economy, Melanie Armer and Chance Mueleck of Nerve Tank, GoGoVertigoat’s Lindsey Drury, and interdisciplinary practitioners Sarah Maxfield, Angela Washko, Rebecca Patek, Nate Hill, Hyatt Michaels, Gelsey Bell, Dave Thrasher, and many others!

SCHEDULE:

Saturday, May 21

2-3:00
Handan Ozbilgin (MAIDS)
3:15pm-3:25
Dave Thrasher
3:25-4:00
Hyatt Michaels
Carrie Dashow
4:15pm-5pm: round-table 1
medium, mode, method (emphasis on participation)
5-5:30
Amapola Prada
5:30-6pm

thingNY

Sunday, May 22nd

2pm-3:15 pm
Hector Canonge
3:15 -4pm Nate Hill
4pm-5:00pm: round-table 2
medium, mode, method (emphasis on discipline)
5:00 performances
Angela Washko
5:30-7pm: presentations/artist talks

Jason Andrew
Gelsey Bell
Sarah Maxfield
The Nerve Tank
7:00
William Bilwa Costa, Rebecca Patek, Martin Lanz Landazari
8pm
Lindsey Drury
8:45-9pm (clean up and short break)
9:00pm

Ben Spatz/Urban Research Theater
10pm
Aztec Economy
STRIKE
11-end

This conference is organized by Esther Neff of the Panoply Performance Laboratory, with advice from The Nerve Tank! Thanks to all participants, who have created the form of this weekend.

Contact: panoplylab@gmail.com

We don’t have much time (haha) to make new posts here, as we near the opening of TIME: A Complete Explanation in Three Parts but it’s worth noting that tickets to the culmination of this gloriously strange music-theatre collaboration between PPL and thingNY are now available online! Click HERE to purchase them, HERE to download a Press Release and see both preview videos, photos, and HERE to read about the accompanying 300-page Performance Book!

Performances are: Wednesday, May 4th, Thursday, May 5th, Friday, May 6th, Saturday, May 7th, Thursday, May 12th, Friday, May 13th, Saturday, May 14th all at 8pm

 The Brick Theater
575 Metropolitan Avenue
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

(L/G to Metropolitan-Lorimer)

The performers! clock-wise from top left: Matthew Stephen Smith, Erin Rogers, Brian McCorkle, Esther Neff, Jeffrey Young, Gelsey Bell, Dave Ruder, Paul Pinto. (not pictured: Jason Anastasoff)