Andy Warhol at CMU Drama!

After two-plus years in the MFA Directing program at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, I am gearing up to share my thesis production, A/B Machines. I adapted the performance text from writing by Andy Warhol after receiving permission from Warhol’s estate, and the process of researching and preparing this piece has been tremendously fulfilling. I’ve had the opportunity to utilize amazing local resources here in Pittsburgh (Warhol’s home until he graduated college), including the Andy Warhol Museum and local Warhol scholars and family members, and have become truly fascinated and drawn to the work and the man himself. The resulting piece feels both incredibly personal for me, and true to the spirit of Warhol as I’ve come to understand him.

The piece uses several of Warhol’s obsessions, including the body’s vulnerability, interpersonal manipulation, and the everyday performance of self, to examine how the constant pressure to be seen (and be seen in a certain way) affects our relationship to others and to our self. Our performers and designers have given this very challenging piece their all, and have created something unique, surprising, and unapologetically queer. I can’t wait to share this piece.

Tickets are available through the CMU Box Office here. If you’re in Pittsburgh, please come through!

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Dramaturgy for Dance at the Banff Centre

Greetings from Banff National Park!

 observing movement as seen in the currents of the Bow River; photo by Robert Binet

observing movement as seen in the currents of the Bow River; photo by Robert Binet

I am just finishing my second day of a two-week research workshop at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, Canada. The program, Dramaturgy of Living Systems, is led by UK-based dramaturg and writer Ruth Little, and is part of Banff Centre's summer dance programming. I am thrilled to be in this unbelievably beautiful place working and learning and thinking alongside a cohort of seven other international artists with a wide variety of backgrounds, practices, and ways of thinking about movement.

In our time together so far, Ruth has encouraged us to think of dramaturgy as an ecological practice, and performance work (as well as the process of creating it) as a living system that follows the same structures and patterns that underlie other systems of life. We've examined work by artists including Pina Bausch, Akram Khan, Caryl Churchill, and our fellow participant Janine Harrington, as well as ideas and concepts from neuroscience, biology, and early childhood education. We've taken walks in the mountains, enjoyed meals with spectacular views, and shared personal objects that vibrate with meaning. And that's all in two days... I cannot wait to see where we will be at the end of two weeks.

Interdisciplinary Project Grant Awarded: Data and the Queer Archive

As the first piece of news in this brand-new news section, I'm excited to share that visual artist Jamison Edgar and I have been awarded the Carnegie Mellon University School of Art's annual Interdisciplinary Collaboration Grant! This generous grant provides us with funding for travel and materials for a research and performance project we have just begun, which will investigate the relationship between two very different forms of information collection and storage, digital data and the queer archive. 

I began exploring the world of big data last year for the installation Untitled #1, and this project is a new phase of my ongoing attempt to investigate/counteract the increasing abstraction and quantification of our bodies. By placing the physical body in conversation with both the material archive and the incorporeal “data body,” Jamison and I seek to claim a space for queer bodies and queer histories in an age of disembodied information.

Later this year we will travel to several archives to conduct research and collect material: the ONE Archives at USC, the Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria, and the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn. Expect updates from our visits soon!

For more on Jamison's work, visit his website.

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