Can big data be queered? Can the queer archive be data mined?
What happens to a body, to a piece of information, as it crosses and re-crosses the permeable boundaries between mediums, temporalities, and modes of storage and expression?
In a post-Cambridge-Analytica culture, it is no secret that our bodies are digitally abstracted en masse by commercial and state interests. Driven by a specifically queer investment in the body, this project reappropriates these strategies in order to question if data mining can be used to reinvigorate or reevaluate queer bodies and histories.
In collaboration with visual artist Jamison Edgar, I am creating a performance in which queer performers will physically embody the tactics of data collection and data mining – using these tactics to investigate the histories stored within prominent queer archives around the United States and Canada.
The ONE Archives at USC, which I visited in August 2018; photo by Dietmar Quistorf.
adapted from the work of Andy Warhol created and directed by Philip Gates
Carnegie Mellon University 2018
"Sometimes I’d like to pull your wig off but somehow I can’t ever do it. I know how it would hurt you."
Using Andy Warhol’s body of work as inspiration and source material, A/B Machines explores Warhol’s preoccupations with our performance of self, our need to be seen by others, and our underlying fear of death. Three performers trade barbs and wigs, jockeying for status in a shiny, cozy purgatory where the commercial is domestic, the domestic is public, and the public might want you dead. In a world obsessed with the perfect image, can we learn to live with our imperfections— with our mortality — and make a genuine connection?
Scenic Design: Katy Fetrow Costume Design: Lindsay Tejan Lighting Design: Ying Huo Sound Design: William Lowe Media Design: Giada Sun Dramaturg: Ryan Dumas
Performed by Patrick Davis, Henri Fitzmaurice & Hagan Oliveras
[Photos: Louis Stein]
by Kate Dakota Kremer directed by Philip Gates
SFX Festival/Wild Project, 2018 Dixon Place, 2017
Part of an ongoing cycle of performance structures that uses performance practices of listening, attention, and collaboration as a method of inquiry into the shifting dynamics that structure citizenship and social intimacy. Intimatics (i-iii) raises questions about how borders, walls, prisons, schools, and other governmental structures of containment shape the practice of intimacy between individuals and among communities—and how the practice of intimacy might reshape those structures.
Lighting Design: Marika Kent Sound Design: Eben Hoffer
Performed by Alexa Andreas, Quilan "Cue" Arnold, Claire Fort, Bryce Payne, Laurel Atwell (Dixon Place) & Jenna Zafiropoulos (SFX).
[Photos: Jonathan Crimmins]
by Euripides translated by Anne Carson directed by Philip Gates
Carnegie Mellon University, 2018
Audience volunteers take on various roles (including the Chorus) in this participatory production that deploys comedic possibility, communal festivity, and a queer understanding of grace to joyfully rupture the structure and expectations of tragedy.
Scenic Design: Sasha Schwartz Costume Design: Natalia Kian Lighting Design: Zara Bucci Sound Design: Scott MacDonald Video Design: Adam J. Thompson
Performed by Clayton Barry, Carson McCalley, Sarah Pidgeon & Timiki Salinas
[Photos: CMU Drama]
created by Philip Gates in collaboration with Adam J. Thompson and Aaron Landgraf
MIT Hacking Arts Festival, 2017
A performance installation for one audience member at a time. In the midst of an audiovisual landscape derived from an EEG scan of their brainwaves, the participant completes a program of personal questions and choreographic tasks. How does the information we give away online come back to us in unexpected ways, and what effect does it have on our future decisions?
Video & Interactive Media: Adam J. Thompson Sound: Aaron Landgraf Performer: Philip Gates
[Photos: Adam J. Thompson, Aaron Landgraf, participant-created scores]
CMU New Works Festival
directed by Philip Gates
Carnegie Mellon University, 2016-17
ROGUISH MACHINE by Daniel Hirsch
Featuring ensemble-devised choreography, live foley, and new vocal arrangements of English folk songs, Roguish Machine uses the history of the Luddite uprisings to pose contemporary questions surrounding technology, gender, and the changing nature of work.
Lighting Design by Alex Gibson
Performed by Orlando Davis, Carson McCalley, Kyle Pitts, Timiki Salinas & Aleyse Shannon
WAYFINDING by Whitney Rowland
Moments of visual poetry and magical realism burst unexpectedly into this exploration of grief and guilt, about strangers whose lives are inextricably linked together by a tragic event.
Lighting Design by Nicholas Coauette
Performed by Chase Del Rey, Christopher Essex, Megan Forster, Aubyn Heglie & Kevin Paul
[Photos: Louis Stein]
Lulu is Hungry
by Claire Kiechel co-created and directed by Philip Gates music by Avi Amon
Ars Nova ANT Fest, 2016 Cloud City, 2015
Frank Wedekind presents to you tonight his most dangerous, most beguiling creation: Lulu. See Lulu sing! See Lulu dance! See Lulu banter with her murderer/soulmate Jack the Ripper! An über-German cabaret; a journey down the rabbit hole of identity; an exorcism of the trauma of being onstage.
Paper Scenic & Costume Elements by Emily Raw Lighting by John Eckert
Performed by Emma Meltzer, Ryan Feyk, Chinaza Uche, Julia Frey, Sam Gonzalez, Jeremy O. Harris, Emily Marro & Krystal Seli
[Photos: Emily Raw]
by Adam Scott Mazer co-created and directed by Philip Gates
HERE Arts Center, 2015 Standard Toy Kraft, 2014
Environmental staging welcomes the audience into this tale of cannibalism, capitalism, and other American institutions. A psychedelic journey into the history and mythology of the Donner Party, snowbound pioneers who notoriously resorted to cannibalism to survive a brutal winter. Part loft party, part guided tour, The Tower employs historical fact and hallucinatory speculation in search of the terrible heart of the Donner legend. A vision of adolescent America: frostbitten, bloodstained, ravenous.
"An ambitious, sensational and consistently surprising piece of immersive theater... the tension and theatricality of the piece pretty much continue at the same relentlessly breathtaking pace." -NY Theater Now
“Moving back and forth in time, and employing projections, inventive staging, contemporary music, and a hearty helping of wit, this fully fleshed out production is thoroughly captivating.” -Flavorpill, Editor’s Pick
Scenic Design: Peiyi Wong Costume Design: Summer Lee Jack Lighting Design: Alana Jacoby Sound & Projection Design: Sam Kusnetz Special Effects: Stephanie Cox-WIlliams
Performed by Elizabeth Bays, Courtney Fenwick, Rebecca Hirota, Marlowe Holden, Craig Mungavin, Karsten Otto, Joe Petersen, Rudi Utter, Leah Walsh & Curry Whitmire
[Photos: Eileen Meny]
Elegy for a Midshipman
by Brian Bauman directed by Philip Gates
Dixon Place, 2014
“This is the work you have to do. Ursula’s asshole. Under the sea. Butch woman. Head under. Sea weed makes you look more lady like. Choke. On this. Piece of tuna.”
A reappropriation of Genet/Fassbinder’s Querelle, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and the Andrea Yates murder trial, Elegy for a Midshipman is an exploration of repression and alienation within the nuclear family as well as a psychedelic riff on the sea.
Lighting Design: John Eckert Video Design: Ethan Weinstock
Performed by Jess Barbagallo, David Commander, Heather Litteer, Mariana Newhard, Joe Petersen, Everett Quinton, Alex Rodabaugh & Chris Tyler