Although we had a plethora of rain this summer, we are grateful for all the support we received in the Public Summer performance series this summer. Along with Gia Wolff and Ethan Eunson-Conn’s project, the Panoply Performance Laboratory presented us with Performancy Forum XV. I had the opportunity to ask the performers a few questions about the performance they shared at SUPERFRONT’s Public Summer events.
How did the artist involved with the Performancy Forum exhibition come together?
PERFORMANCY FORUM [http://www.panoplylab.org/performancy.html] is a semi-monthly exhibition of interdisciplinary, experimental performance work curated by The Panoply Performance Laboratory (PPL)’s [http://www.panoplylab.org] co-directors (Brian McCorkle and I). It’s an open, public platform, anyone is welcome to make a proposal, we form each exhibition around who and what work comes to our attention. We are open to a multiplicity of concerns, but primarily focus on theoretically rigorous work; the PF is about showing the work itself but it’s also about why it’s being made. The PF for SUPERFRONT brought together a piece called Starched Spiral by Lindsey Drury and Lorene Baboushian [http://www.drearysomebody.com], solo work by bassist and composer Jason Anastasoff, and an excerpt of a collaborative work organized by PPL (including Natasha Missick, Michael Newton, Adrian Owen, and Andrew Whipple).
What inspired the idea for the Performancy Forum exhibition?
For a couple of years Brian and I were in residence at Surreal Estate exchanging live/work space for programming the performance space there (this space has since been shut down). While we had access to that former coffin-factory space, we wanted to bring artists together from the fringes of music, contemporary dance, avant-garde theatre, performance and video art –especially those artists whose practices defy such medium-based categorization– and share work and discuss our aesthetic, political, and practical concerns outside of capitalist/free market economic structures. We are not a gallery, venue, or organization, so the work can be entirely post-product, free to audiences/participants, etc. Over the summer, we’ve been inspired by spaces like Industry City and BOB the Pavilion to organize PFs outdoors in collaboration with architectural and public art projects. This winter, we’ll be entering a residency at University Settlement [http://www.universitysettlement.org/programs/view/6] so we have great hopes for the project’s evolution and potential meshing with their fantastic Salon Series.
What is the creative process for your performance work?
Ah ha, well this takes us in a different interview direction entirely…I am a performance artist/librettist/organizer of projects and work in a lot of different disciplines. Primarily I work through a process of public engagement to develop texts around an ideological conflict, or paradox. I then collaborate with composer Brian McCorkle and a gathered team of artists and other individuals create operas, videos, interactive episodes, conferences/symposiums, installations, and other types of projects. The PERFORMANCY FORUM is a big part of my practice, I am always extremely influenced by the work and ideas of participating artists, and the line between organizing one of “my own” projects and organizing an exhibition can be blurry. I also often get to choose the subject, space, and so on for the PFs, which end up delicately rinsed in my subjective interests no matter how hard I try to keep them “organic” (by using that word I guess I’m saying that my subjective interests are herbicides, selecting certain ideas/plants and killing others…)
Did the artists involved work collectively to come up with the idea for Performancy Forum?
The very first PF was part of Arts in Bushwick’s [http://artsinbushwick.org] SITE Fest. Each one has been different in terms of how involved artists are in organizing the event, contributing factors to this include whether it’s an examination of a particular idea or if it’s work responding to a particular space, whether it’s a highly publicized event with a large number of participating artists or a casual gathering, etc.
Why did you choose this exhibition to share in the Superfront Public Summer artist series?
The site is amazing, we wanted to use the acoustics of the buildings on either side of the loading dock alley and we asked artists who would appreciate and be able to really use the sites spatial and aural elements. We really appreciate the opportunity to participate in the Public Summer series, despite the rain, it was a great time!
I just want to once again thank everyone who came out to support Public Summer 2011! [http://newyork.superfront.org/2011/08/public-summer-wrap-up/]