Live Dancing Archive at The Kitchen

This post comes to you from Cultura21

From February 14 – 23, The Kitchen and iLAND, Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance, present the New York premiere of dancer and choreographer Jennifer Monson’s Live Dancing Archive, a visceral exploration of the dancing body as physical archive of experience and place.

The piece, which marks Monson’s return to The Kitchen after 15 years, comprises Monson’s first-ever evening-length solo performance, a video installation by Robin Vachal and an online archive. Performances will take place Thursdays through Saturdays, February 14 – 23 at 8:00 pm while the full video installation will be on view in the theatre Tuesday through Friday, 12–6pm and Saturday, 11am–6pm from February 15–23.

The video installation plays as repeating 4-hour loop with viewers invited to view to drop-in at any time for any length of time. Although the video can be viewed on it’s own, it was made in conversation with the performance and on-line archive. A daily viewing schedule for the video will be available at the Kitchen and online starting February 14th.

Monson’s new work proposes that the body has the possibility of archiving and revisiting multiple scales of experience. Specifically, Monson looks at how experiences of environment and ecological dependencies are registered through physical movement. Live Dancing Archive negotiates and explores what a queer ecology might offer for dancing bodies and rapidly shifting conceptions of place. Furthermore, the piece looks at how Monson’s navigation of her own queer, feminist and animal-like body has shaped relationships to cultural and social phenomena.

For more information, visit

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

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Green Choreographers-in-Residence

ecocityIn December, Dance Exchange hosted Amara Tabor-Smith, our first Green Choreographer-in-Residence. Amara and her collaborator Sherwood Chen spent a week with Dance Exchange artists exploring sustainable food practices and food justice. Amara’s residency, which took place in our studios, as well as at sites like Eco City Farms in Edmonston, MD, culminated in a Thursday night HOME event featuring a potluck dinner and reflections on food and family. Visit Dance Exchange’s Facebook page to view more pictures from the residency.

Jill Sigman, of New York City, is our second Green Choreographer-in-Residence and will be in residence from January 28-February 1, 2013. Sigman will explore principles of permaculture and engage in hands-on work with small living systems, and this research will inform the development of movement scores and improvisational systems for use in her work The Hut Project, a series of site-specific structures built from trash. Sigman will share her methods and research in her HOME event on Thursday, January 30th from 7:00-9:00pm, and teach FRIDAY CLASS on Friday, February 1st from 9:30-11:15am.

Trailer Trash Kicks Off Arts Conference

Late night set-up in preparation for Arts In The One World Conference, Jan. 27-29

Last night, Sam and fellow students towed the Spartan trailer to the entrance of Cal Arts where it was used as a performance space during the  Arts In the One World Conference, January 27-29. Sam kicked off the conference with a presentation of the Trailer Trash Project tomorrow morning.  Over the course of the event, participating artists will also perform inside and around the trailer. A stage is being constructed around the trailer today.  The stage was designed and construction under the direction of Ben Womick, MFA student at Cal Arts in technical direction.

Participating artists include: Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle, choreographer Lindsey Lollie, dancer Andrew Wojtal and playwright Isabel Salazar (No Comas Tomates antes de Dormir porque Tendrás Pesadillas).

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

ashdenizen: from no plays about climate change to three in a month

It was only a couple of years ago that this blog was writing about why theatres don’t touch climate change. It seemed, at the time, as if there was something about theatre, or the way people conceived of mainstream theatre, that made the subject almost impossible to treat. This was part of a more general avoidance of the environment as a subject for the performing arts. The Ashden Directory had been launched, back in 2000, as a way of following and encouraging those works which did engage with this subject.

But now things are changing. Eighteen months ago there was finally, a good play about climate change.  It was also possible to see in the works, for instance, of Wallace Shawn and Andrew Bovell the green shoots of climate change theatre.

Fast forward to January 2011, and this month alone three climate change plays will open in London - Greenland at the National, The Heretic at the Royal Court, and Water at the Tricycle.

Why is this important? Because climate change alters the way we think about our lives. The news contained within the various IPCC reports will be as influential, as paradigm-shifting, on the way we see ourselves as Darwin’s Origin of Species. It is, ultimately, a question of values and relationships. As such, it is a natural subject for theatre.

But new plays don’t open in a vacuum. For them to succeed, there needs to be a lively engaged audience that has some sense of what is at stake. That’s why we have also been involved with the Open University in producing a new series of podcasts that puts cultural work around climate change in perspective.

The podcasts bring together 17 artists, activists, writers, film-makers, scientists, entrepreneurs and academics, including comedian Marcus Brigstocke, choreographer Siobhan Davies, BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin, architect Carolyn Steele and Mike Hulme, author ofWhy We Disagree About Climate Change.

Radio 4’s Quentin Cooper chairs these four ‘Mediating Change’ discussions which cover the history, publics, anatomy and futures of cultural responses to climate change. The podcasts are now available to download from iTunesU.

via ashdenizen: from no plays about climate change to three in a month.

ashdenizen: four podcasts on culture and climate change now online

A new series of four podcasts on Culture and Climate Change is now online at iTunes U. The discussions bring together artists, writers, film-makers, scientists, academics and journalists with a comedian, a choreographer, a campaigner, and an entrepreneur.

The Mediating Change series is hosted by Quentin Cooper and contributors include Tim Smit, Marcus Brigstocke, Siobhan Davies (see pic), Roger Harrabin, Joe Smith and two of the Ashden Directory’s editors, Wallace Heim and Robert Butler. More details here.

The producer, Vicky Long, says:

Cultural activity in this area is gathering real momentum, with ‘Greenland’ opening at the National Theatre and ‘The Heretic’ opening at the Royal Court early next year. We feel it’s vital a critical framework is developed alongside this emerging work.

This series represents a first sustained exploration of culture and climate change in a publicly-available broadcast-quality format.

See also: Tipping Point launches first of four discussions
Tim Smit and Marcus Brigstocke join debate on popular culture and climate change

via ashdenizen: four podcasts on culture and climate change now online.

APInews: Mary Miss to Keynote 2nd iLand Symposium, N.Y.

Landscape artist Mary Miss is keynote speaker at the second annual symposium by iLand (interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance) in New York City. The March 26-27, 2010, symposium is titled “Connecting to the Urban Environment: Creating embodied and relational approaches to environmental awareness.” Mary Miss developed “City as Living Lab,” a framework for making issues of sustainability tangible through collaboration and the arts. Miss has collaborated with architects, planners, engineers, ecologists and public administrators on projects like creating a temporary memorial around the perimeter of Ground Zero, revealing the history of New York's Union Square Subway station and turning a sewage treatment plant into a public space. The event also features iLand Founder Jennifer Monson, choreographer, who will present her recent work on aquifers and waterways in relation to urban development.

via APInews: Mary Miss to Keynote 2nd iLand Symposium, N.Y..

APInews: Artists, Scientists Meet in Monson Project

Artists and scientists will explore “Moving Perspectives – approaches to understanding water through geology, environment, art and society” at the Urbana Free Library in Illinois, October 13, 2009. The panel discussion includes George Roadcap, Illinois Water Survey; Cecily Smith, Prairie Rivers Network; Brett Bloom, artist and activist; Brigit Kelly, poet; choreographer Jennifer Monson; and moderator Michael Scoville, an environmental philosopher. The talk is part of Monsons Mahomet Aquifer Project, a series of public dance performances, workshops and a mobile gallery, October 10-18, to inform and engage the communities in East Central Illinois dependent on the aquifer and draw the audience into their own understanding of their relationship to water. Monson intends the iLAND project to “draw connections between our scientific and political relationships to natural resources and the cultural frameworks that shape our perception and relationship to these resources.”

via APInews: Artists, Scientists Meet in Monson Project .

Dance Partners for CPR

Reprinted from New York Press:
“The Space Age” by Andy Seccombe, February 11, 2009

Daniel S. Burnstein

It’s hard to imagine New York bereft of artists.

Few absences would dull the city’s reputation more convincingly. And yet a bleak economic climate, ever-escalating rents and living expenses make the likelihood far from intangible.

From crisis comes camaraderie however, as demonstrated by a new nonprofit performance space in Williamsburg, the Center for Performance Research (CPR) which opened its doors this week.

The facility has a variety of selling points: It’s the first environmentally conscious space of its kind in Brooklyn; it aims to promote community engagement and education; and it’s co-founded by two of the city’s most respected names in dance, Jonah Bokaer and choreographer John Jasperse.

The three-year collaborative project opened for operations Feb. 2 and welcomed its first renter, the Trisha Brown Dance Company. And for Jasperse, the facility has arrived at a critical time.

“I truly feel that this is a last stand in terms of artists really being able to work affordably in New York City,” he says, having observed the displacement of artists since his arrival in the 1980s. He explains that it’s no longer a just a question of artists moving from Manhattan to Brooklyn to avoid rent increases—the situation is more urgent. “It’s really gotten to a density where there’s a question about whether artistic process can really remain local,” he says.

Bokaer echoes such concerns, outlining how CPR’s name itself embodies the much needed resuscitation of the city’s arts centers. “Part of the reason why we called it CPR is the acronym can be read as a response to crisis,” he says. The gentrification of areas like Williamsburg has displaced artists and longtime residents and Bokaer describes how the “condo craze” has made the area a treacherous one for local creatives. Even since his involvement establishing CPR began in 2006, many local arts spaces have had to close due to soaring rents. In fact, the facility’s location is surrounded by the new generation of real estate. “You look around this one block radius, there’s nine condo developments,” he says.

Amidst the hyper-evolution of New York real estate, the aim of the facility is to provide “a new model for sustainable arts infrastructure in dance and performance” and the green-friendly nature of the 4,000-square-foot space is a key element of that. Located on the ground floor of Greenbelt, a building designed with specific environmental initiatives in place, CPR is zoned as a community facility. The building’s upper four floors are residential, the sale of which subsidize CPR’s nonprofit space.

Greenbelt is in fact Brooklyn’s first private green development to qualify as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold project, LEED being a certification program that ensures the creation of high performance green buildings. Bokaer outlines how it has been developed according to strict guidelines, with longevity, minimal emissions and low energy costs in mind.

“A theater or performance space usually uses light, sound and video, which all consume an enormous amount of energy,” Bokaer says. “We’re going to be saving probably about an eighth of the power of a normal theatrical facility.”

Engaging with CPR’s philosophy of providing an affordable, sustainable facility, a variety of ensembles has expressed interest in the venue. Artist Robert Wilson will be developing a work there for the Guggenheim in April, CPR is currently in discussions with the new media enthusiasts at Bitforms Gallery and Israeli artist Iri Batzri may also use the space. So too, Jasperse will prepare projects at the facility and Bokaer plans to develop “a duet studying memory” there, a commission for the National Academy of Sciences.

“I think our appetite for what performance research will look like is pretty vast,” Bokaer says, explaining that the $6-$15 hourly rental fees at CPR are an obvious draw. “It’s a public program so we’ll probably have a great diversity of renters.”

The financial structure behind CPR is also an anomaly. Bokaer’s Chez Bushwick Inc. and Jasperse’s Thin Man Dance Inc. are the parent companies of CPR and have made the facility economically viable (along with funding from the Department of Cultural Affairs).

“It’s very rare for dance organizations to partner in general but also in terms of real estate,” says Bokaer. CPR is unique in this manner as it’s unusual for dance and performance organizations to own their facilities. Indeed, the Trisha Brown Company recently closed its studio and the Paul Taylor Dance Company will lose its Soho facility (and home for 20 years) in April to an expanding Banana Republic store.

“There you have historical legends of American modern dance who do not have adequate work space,” says Bokaer. “That’s another reason this is a dynamic project because [CPR] puts that issue in the foreground and it says ‘Dance needs space. And it needs permanent space in New York.’”

Undoubtedly CPR represents a new model for performance centers and how dance companies operate, deterring from traditional American models which tend to be characterized by a single choreographer with a singular vision. “I think that a dance company can be a different thing now,” says Bokaer. “It can be a cultural organization, or a space, or it can have a larger generative power.”

Jasperse, who’s been a friend of Bokaer for almost a decade, affirms the importance of the partnership, explaining that neither of their organizations could have established CPR individually. “I firmly believe we’re going to demonstrate the power of this kind of model,” he says. “We’re taking a risk. But hopefully we will serve as an example that defies certain ideas of where real estate and arts organizations are necessarily headed in the city.”


Go to the Green Theater Initiative

APInews: iLAND Announces 2009 iLAB Residencies

iLAND Announces 2009 iLAB Residencies

BIG CAAKe and the League of Imaginary Scientists + E.K.K.O have been awarded the 2009 iLAB residencies by iLAND, the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance. BIG CAAKe, a collaborative team including an artist/engineer/educator, a choreographer/cook, an artist/designer, an architect and a mycologist, will conduct “StrataSpore,” a project using mushrooms to develop dialogue about local New York City ecosystems and urban sustainability. The League of Imaginary Scientists and E.K.K.O., a collaborative team including an artist, a composer, an architect, an environmental researcher and a choreography collective, will develop “Waterways: fluid movements in a liquid city,” a project that examines water through environmental and sociological study and “transforms that information into choreographic actions that engage New Yorkers.” Get connected through the ongoing discussion on the iLAND Symposium blog.

via APInews: iLAND Announces 2009 iLAB Residencies .