Dean Moss

I’m an artist. I make aesthetic experiences to share with creatively engaged audiences. Working in both dance and video, I use my body’s internal logic to articulate the intimate, cultural, and socioeconomic forces shared in our perception of self and environment. Physically demanding, dense and visual, these performances reflect not only a desire to participate in the discourse of ideas, but also an interest in bringing an immersive visceral understanding to the exchange.

In recent years I have developed a practice of conceiving multidisciplinary, and often transcultural collaborative projects. These works include: figures on a field (2005, with painter, Laylah Ali), States & Resemblance (2007, with actor/photographer, Ryutaro Mishima and Indonesian traditional dance artist Restu Kusumaningrum), Kisaeng becomes you (2008-09, with traditional Korean dance choreographer Yoon Jin Kim) and Nameless forest (2011, with sculptor, Sungmyung Chun). This collaborative process also extends into teaching. In 2002, I conceived a choreographers composition workshop focused on separating the dance artist from the dance work, now called Performance Praxis, it has been co-directed and is co-facilitated with choreographer and Critical Correspondence editor, Levi Gonzalez.

Another central element of my practice is to examine the role and experience of the audience. In figures on a field, this was manifested through a docent lead group tour of the work during the performance, which allowed it to shift subtly between its’ personal, political and aesthetic meanings; in Kisaeng becomes you, audience members were invited to embody and speak the poems of the Kisaeng - artist/courtesans of Korea’s Joseon Dynasty - making visceral the experience of the “other”, and in the current work, Nameless forest, the community's role (and risk) in the individual nature of art making will be investigated. The pattern of my practice seems to run parallel to my life as a curator, a traveller, and as an artist now looking to deepen both the articulation and impact of his work.

I have enjoyed a ten-year relationship with The Kitchen, serving as the Curator of Dance and Performance from 1999-2004, then as a Curatorial Advisor through 2009. During that time I conceived and organized programs such as Talking Dance hosted by Dancenoise and featuring performances by Bill T. Jones, Ann Carlson, Foofwa d’Imobilité and works by Yvonne Rainer, David Gordon and Elevator Repair Service. Additionally I had the honor of showcasing rigorously innovative artists very early in their careers including: Miranda July, Sarah Michelson, Xavier LeRoy, Miguel Gutierrez, Yasmeen Godder, and Akram Khan. I spent a year as Guest Professor at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music from 2003-2004. From 2007 to 2009 I was a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University, which was acknowledged with a Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. In 2011, I lectured in the Theater Studies department of Yale University.

Visiting Artist | November 9-20, 2010

Nameless forest

A multidisciplinary performance work conceived by Dean Moss, developed in collaboration with contemporary Korean sculptor, installation artist and poet, Sungmyung Chun. Nameless forest explores subjectivity and the nature of perception by both translating Chun’s installations into live action, and questioning the act of translation itself. Structured in three parts, Nameless forest features diary fragments and war zone imagery by photojournalist Mike Kamber, neon sculpture from artist Gandalf Gavan, an original score by environmental and found sound composer Stephen Vitiello, lighting and technical design by Vincent Vigilante, and costumes by Roxana Ramseur. The work is embodied by a cast of six individual performers, each representing a unique combination of cultural traditions and contemporary, dance, music, and theater practices. Nameless forest continues Moss' formal investigations of both the dialogue between self and other, and the role of the audience in the performance experience. Up to 12 audience members join the cast onstage for each performance, reflecting, through their undirected response, the community's role (and risk) in the perceptually individual and existential nature of art making.
At MANCC, Moss and the cast worked specifically on developing individual performances and the uniquely immersive audience participation sequences of Nameless forest: directly engaging the FSU students in several physical explorations and lively discussions.

Nameless Forest premiered at The Kitchen May 19th-28th, 2011.

A full version of Nameless forest is available on Vimeo.

  • <i>Nameless forest</i> Rehearsal.
  • <i>Nameless forest</i> Rehearsal.
  • <i>Nameless forest</i> Rehearsal.
  • <i>Nameless forest</i> Rehearsal.
  • <i>Nameless forest</i> Rehearsal.
  • <i>Nameless forest</i> Rehearsal.
  • <i>Nameless forest</i> Rehearsal.
  • <i>Nameless forest</i> Rehearsal.
  • <i>Nameless forest</i> Rehearsal.

Collaborators in Residence: Kacie Chang, Eric Conroe, Aaron Hodges, Pedro Jimenez, DJ McDonald, Sari Nordman [performers] Additional Collaborators: Sungmyung Chun [visual artist], Michael Kamber [photo journalist], Gandalaf Gavan [visual environment], Stephen Vitiello. Slideshow photos by Al Hall.

DTW Partnership Project | June 13 – June 30, 2008

Kisaeng becomes you

A multimedia performance collaboration conceived by Dean Moss with acclaimed Korean modern and traditional dance choreographer Yoon Jin Kim. The work is based on a chance encounter with 500 year old “love” poetry written by kisaeng: artist/courtesans of Korea’s Joseon Dynasty [1400-1900]. It lead to a recognition of the enduring relevance of traditional expressions of emotion and how, given the appropriate translation, cultural otherness, and distance, both geographic and chronologic, disappear. The project incorporates music by experimental composer and Korean ex-patriot, Okkyung Lee. 

Yoon Jin Kim and a cast of five traditional and modern dancers from Korea joined Moss and composer Okkyung Lee at  MANCC.  The residency was used to develop the work's musical compositions and explore the ending sequence where an audience participant is left alone on stage to become kisaeng.

Kisaeng becomes you premiered at the 2008 Seoul International Dance Festival and had its U.S. premiere in 2009 at Dance Theater Workshop.

A full version of Kisaeng becomes you is available on  Vimeo. 

Collaborators in Residence: Okkyung Lee [composer], Yoon Jim Kim [choreographer], Yu Ri Bae, Jeong Eun Yang, Ji Sun Kwen, So Yeoun Lim, Mi Huyn Lee [dancers]

Featured Artist

Faye Driscoll

February 22 - 24
Carolina Performing
Arts, UNC Chapel Hill


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