SLEEPING BABIES / SOCIAL SCULPTURES
SLEEPING BABIES - SOCIAL SCULPTURES WAS A SITE-SPECIFIC MULTI MEDIA PERFORMANCE ADVENTURE THAT TOOK PLACE AT THE OUTSKIRTS OF BURLINGTON IN LATE JULY, 2017.
It was a convergence of dance, paint, skate, sound, and space. A homage to site, to the act showing up, to the trick practiced again and again, and to the small gaps of time when creating is possible in the midst of a life in motion.
Because the site is often hidden in plain sight.
The creative opportunity, also.
Creativity asks to live in the space between now and later.
Just a gesture isn’t enough. It’s about being all the way in.
No applause, no prize money, no approval.
You can’t skate a little bit.
You’re in it.
It’s knowing that falling is the opposite of failing.
Gravity has your back.
Perfect is a construct.
That the reward is the constant flow.
Balance and off balance.
All the way in.
Inspired by how Clark Derbes first painted an abandoned stretch of asphalt that served as an unofficial skate park for the locals while his baby napped in the stroller, the performance explored how the creative process thrives whenever you make time.
The performance took its cues from skaters: They make what they need, lean into the landscape, and shape it to the reckless beauty of play. They show up whenever they can, work on their trick, then leave when the world pushes back in; the baby wakes up, the police come.
Playing off the act of painting and the motion of the skaters riding across Clark’s concrete canvas, the dancers in this piece became a moving canvas--ultimately lifting his art off the surface, to be experienced in motion and dimension. The choreography echoed the the decision to pick a line or a curve; the dancers moving in geometric lines, and sculptural shapes in space, and ultimately becoming living skate features.
AT SOLIDARITY OF UNBRIDLED LABOUR design studio
at maven skateshop
Director of Skate
Music Composition & Instrument Building
Erika Senft Miller
Bicycle & Food
Vermont Paint Company
South End Surfset
Erika Senft Miller
Site Paintings & Costumes
Dancers & Movement Collaborators
Martha Ming Whitfield
Elizabeth M. Seyler
Ruby LaBrusciano-Carris Sarah Alexander
WHITE NOISE NOW | SALT
This site-specific performance happened in one of the Vermont Railway salt sheds, hidden in plain sight behind theKarma Birdhouse Gallery in Burlington Vermont. Developed in collaboration with Experiential Designer, Craig Winslow and Sound Designer, Miles Dean the performance took place in phases, moving through a series of experiences that fully immersed the audience.
The invite-only audience came, blindly trusting.
They were taken on an adventure
Truly improv, walking in anticipation
Open to the unknown.
The performance was about listening to what the environment had to ask.
It was an exploration of duality:
Seeing and perceiving.
Crystalline structure and fluid motion.
Clear lines and blurred edges.
Strong and vulnerable.
Interior and exterior.
Analog and digital.
Value and worthlessness.
It was about blurring the boundaries between audience and dancer; between music and light, salt, and body. In both planning for the performance, and in the actual performance, it was about balancing preparation, with an openness for the unexpected. It was a truly intimate, transformative experience for both the performers and the audience, that pushed each participant to encounter the familiar in the unfamiliar, and discover new ways to perceive themselves in a truly multi-sensory way.
This performance was selected as one of Seven Days Top 10 Art Exhibitions of 2016
Elizabeth Marie Seyler
Michelle Winchell Struckholz
Photo & Video
Maxine Senft Miller
Micah Dudash, Driven Studio
Vermont Rail System
Giovanna and Michael Jager
Giovanna Jager, Karma Bird House Gallery
Adobe Creative Residency
Barbara Heath, live saxophone
Peter Fried, visual artist
Katy Hellman, Gallery Event Organization
Jane Frank Jewelry
Maria Gould, honeybloombeauty.com
Lake Champlain Chocolates
BETWEEN LAND AND WATER
Between Land & Water was an exploration of the experience of liminality. My intent was to highlight and share the beauty and movement vocabulary of the site and the activity of sailing and other human powered water sports: The sudden, abrupt, intentional movements of sailors, the directed and efficiently balanced movements of paddle boarders and the sustaining movements of waves and wind.
Directed in collaboration with choreographers Roxanne Scully, (SUP), Sara McMahon, Marly Spieser-Schneider, and Lida Winfield, Between Land & Waterwas performed by local dancers and paddle boarders. Composer Matt LaRocca and local musicians performed an improvised piece in response to and in collaboration with the site and the dancers. Video artist Hilary Hess filmed the event while swimming, along with Evan Deutsch and Jon Portman who used a drone to capture footage from the air. Doreen Kraft and Martin De Geus captured the performance from land.
The performance and installation are a continuation of my work exploring liminality. Both were an invitation to discover and respond to the dynamic experience of the site, that connects land and water. More than 300 people attended the performance.
You can listen to an interview on VPR about the performance here.
Of LAND AND LOCAL EXHIBIT
AT SHELBURNE FARMS
The footage from the event, shot from the air, land and water was displayed as part of BCA's Land & Local exhibit at Shelburne Farms in October, 2016. The intent of this work was to invite viewers to explore Lake Champlain in new ways through footage shot from multiple vantage points during the site-specific performance at the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center.
The Coach Barn and the Sailing Center have completely different histories, and offer different experiences. One, urban and industrial, the other serene and bucolic. Yet both are connected by the lake, and exist within a shared watershed. The exhibit was an exploration of this bigger context. My intent was to ground the rich sensory experience of the Sailing Center in the land-based, earthy environment of the Coach barn. To create the installation I worked with Ashley Jimenez, from BCA and Mark Naud, Director of the Community Sailing Center, who helped to install a sail as a projection surface, as well as pieces from the dock and boat stands that held up the video monitors. Both the site-based performance, and the installation literally and figuratively brought the community together in an experiential way.
Dancers on Pier
Choreography by Christine Holt
Dancers on Wall
Dancers on Boat Ramp
Dancers Moving with Audience
Erika Senft Miller
Marly Spieser - Schneider
Secchi Disk - Water Research
Moving On and With Rocks
On SUP Boards
Choreography by Roxanne Scully
John H Miller
Members of the South Burlington Community Choir, directed by Matt LaRocca:
Posters and Postcards
Ellen Voorheis, Solidarity of Unbridled Labour
Dancers on the Breakwater
Elizabeth Marie Seyler
Dancers on Dock
Choreography and performance by students in Clare Byrne's UVM Composition Class, directed by Ryan Kabilian & Mollie Morgan
Dancer with Rocking Chair
Dancers on Land
Dancers from Burlington Movement for Parkinson's class, Directed by Sara McMahon
Tracy - assisting
Directed by Matt LaRocca
Jeremy Frederick - guitar
Shannon Hawley – guitar
Matt LaRocca- piano, guitar and viola
Adam Wood – keyboard
Ula Klein – guitar, voice
In Water: Hilary Hess, assisted by Anna Senft Miller
On Land: Martin De Geus, Doreen Kraft
In Air: Oxbow
Maxine Senft Miller
Jasmine Parsia, Iskra Print Collective
Special Thanks to the fabulous Community Sailing Center Team for creating endless opportunities for learning, exploring and playing on and off the water.
POWERED BY MORAN
Invited by New Moran to be one of a select group of artists to create site-specific installations at the Moran Plant in 2015, I imagined a multi-sensory performance that would completely engage the community in an exploration of the space. The history of the building, the building itself as structuring elements for the performance, and the space’s future potential inspired my work.
The space, a former power plant, is vast. The memory of intense heat from the generation of power is everywhere, yet the space itself is now cold and abandoned. Gritty, dark and industrial, it’s filled with catwalks above and water-filled ducts below. Being in it is incredibly energizing.
I wanted the piece to be a true multi-sensory performance, including movement artists, sound, light and film designers. Everyone I asked enthusiastically wanted to participate in the exploration.
At the ground level, at the heart of the plant (where the ashes once fell from the burning of the material), Paul Besaw, Associate Professor in the Dance Dept. at UVM, and dancer Marly Schneider, worked with me in a structured improvisation--exploring the future and the past and the building itself. On the main level, a large group of dancers, led by dancer and choreographer Sara McMahon, performed a choreographed movement sequence representing the original workers in the building, with everyday movements that the workers would have used.
Internationally recognized synth based music producer Principal Dean designed sound for the piece, working live in response to both to the building dimensions and acoustics, and to the movements of the performers. John B. Forbes, a lighting designer from the UVM Theater Department, brought light dimension to the movement and the space, and videographer, Hilary Hess, captured the entire performance--movement, light and sound, in real time.
Each of us pushed our creative boundaries, and the audience’s boundaries were pushed as well. Invited to view the performance in fixed places on the lower level, with the dancers moving around them, the audience was immersed in a truly interactive experience of the space. Both performers and audience were required to wear hard hats and needed to sign a waiver before entering the building.
As a kinetic strategist and movement artist, I’m inspired by the creative process, the power of play, and the potential of non-hierarchical complex systems. In this piece, synchronicity and tension occur through the creation of many different dimensions of experience. The building is intriguing. I wasn’t interested in using the building as a stage. I was interested in working with the building - and letting the audience discover and experience it in new and unexpected ways.
SO WHAT? GALLERY INSTALLATION
At THE KARMA BIRD HOUSE
After the single-day performance I designed an installation for the group show about the Moran Plant at Burlington's Karma Birdhouse Gallery. The installation extended the Powered By Moran experience in a tangible and conceptual way. Using elements from the actual building--concrete, switch plates, metal pipes - I curated an art installation that invited the audience to explore and experience the movements and sensory information of the site in a new context as well as contemplating questions of community engagement.
Encountering the unexpected--in this case the material from the Moran-- out of context is like missing the last step of stairs, or a floorboard in the wood floor. We get stopped in our tracks, our habitual patterns. It’s an opportunity to react differently, to pause, and to see new. This pause opens up space - the space for non-doing, the space where we have the freedom of choice, the space we call mindfulness. The space where we are fully human.