Returning Choreographic Fellow | November 25 - December 3, 2018 // June 2018 TBD
Distances Smaller Than This Are Not Confirmed
Inspired by his participation as the first performing artist-in-residence at the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), David Neumann returns for his second of three MANCC residencies to develop a multi-disciplinary dance/theater piece, Distances Smaller Than This Are Not Confirmed (working title). As SETI Institute astronomer Dr. Jill Tarter explains: “The probability of success is difficult to estimate, but if we never search, the chance for success is zero.” “Difficult to estimate” is quite an understatement considering the scales SETI scientists are working in. Neumann's curiosity about the universe from a scientist’s point of view begins here.
The central questions of Distances Smaller... are found along the boundary between the explainable and the mysterious. Neumann aims to unmoor himself from his own comfort zones by placing privilege, masculinity, and race in the context of the cosmic scale while relating the challenges of art-making to scientific endeavors. The work aims to allow a complex view of the human experience to unfold, full of all its hubris, messups, and wonder. Neumann will bring these unfathomable scales of time and space into the theater and onto bodies, and within his mix of dance, science, and theater-making methodologies, create a work where the borders between language and movement become indistinguishable, and the empirical and poetic become sympathetic agents.
Neumann will explore and stage multiple, concurrent points of view. As his research into both the cosmological and quantum scales have shown him, the more one knows, the less one can be certain of. The same could be said of our culture. Neumann finds this paradoxical state difficult, inspiring, and truthful, and it is connected to his own process of emerging awareness within a systemically racist system. It starts with unpacking one’s assumptions and dancing within the mess.
While at MANCC, Neumann will bring an intergenerational cast of dancers including an intergenerational cast of dancer-performers, Sara Rudner, Jodi Melnick, and Victoria Roberts-Wierzbowski, together in the studio. Neumann will also continue his conversation with Dr. Jeremiah Murphy, Assistant Professor in FSU’s Department of Physics, which began in his 2016 residency on the intersections between dance and astrophysics.
This residency is supported by a multi-year, multi-residency initiative from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.