Visiting Artist | October 16 - 26th, 2016
The Rehearsal Artist
The Rehearsal Artist expands the tradition of generative art to live performance by treating the rehearsal as an experimental site where bodies are encoded with a set of instructions and then given space for that DNA to manifest. Behind a one-way glass surveillance window, Ellsworth’s hands collide with the heads of a rotating cast of artists. An 8 foot diameter wheel holds both Ellsworth and her subjects (see slides), while the performers respond to choreographic prompts derived (in part) from the canon of social science experiments (e.g. Harlow’s Dependency of Monkeys on Mothers and Asch’s Conformity Experiments).The surveillance window functions as both a rehearsal mirror and dividing mechanism, placing the performers as objects of study in a rehearsal-turned-laboratory experiment.
Working with School of Dance students while in residence, Ellsworth experimented with a performance apparatus, audience autonomy and improvisational scores. She engineered the audience experience by inviting only a small audience at a time to observe the work with its shifting meanings. Initially, a group of audience members voyeuristically watched the “rehearsal” from the front of the wheel; soundproofing and the surveillance mirror prevent the performers from knowing when they are being watched. During the second half of the work, the audience moved to the exposed backside of the wheel while a new group of audience members entered the front area.
In addition to experimenting with a newly constructed performance apparatus and audiences whose perceptions shift, Ellsworth met with FSU Political Science faculty Dr. Jens Grosser to discuss game theory, group dynamics and social science experiments.
Ellsworth also invited writer and critic Jennifer Krasinsky to be in residence for three days towards the end of the residency. This opportunity, part of a pilot program funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, enables selected MANCC artists to invite a writer of their choice to be embedded in their residency. The goal is to support more nuanced analysis and context around choreographers’ research and creative process. Krasinsky’s critical writing is widely published, including in Artforum.com, Art In America, Spike Art Quarterly, Bidoun, N+1 Film Review, DIS Magazine, The Paris Review Blog and The Village Voice.
The Rehearsal Artist premiered April 29 - 30, 2017 at Bard College, Live Arts BARD in Hudson, NY.
Collaborators in Residence: Max Bernstein [Video/Sound], Ryan Seelig [Lighting Designer], Bruce Miller [Set Designer], Jadd Tank, Lauren Beale [Dancers], Jennifer Krasinski [Writer]