Attendees’ Companion, Part I: Learning Twelve Languages
Photo installation, ODC Theater SF
Twelve duets for the same two dancers.
Twelve personalities, twelve languages.
Drawing on RAWdance co-founders Ryan Smith’s and Wendy Rein’s 17-year history as dance partners, Double Exposure is an evening-length work comprised of twelve duets created by some of the field’s most intriguing and esteemed choreographers working in contemporary dance along the West Coast.
As I documented RAWdance learning twelve choreographic vocabularies at once, each time I joined a different choreographer at work in the studio, there was a tangibly distinct hum in the room. I photographed six duets in progress this way, finding truly unique processes and exchanges between the choreographer, Wendy and Ryan.
For the remaining duets, I shadowed Wendy and Ryan as they rehearsed on their own. Reviewing the syntax, debating the nuances. These photographs are about the two dancers reviving choreographic conversation without filters or external input.
For those attending the performance of Double Exposure, much of this creative process is invisible or masked. Documentation of the project’s choreographic thinking is meant to accompany and sustain the making of dance, alongside its final form. We look to foreground the ways in which dance is perpetually becoming, with performance as just one way of engaging in a multifaceted process.
Attendees’ Companion, Part II: Rehearsing with Onlookers
Photo installation, 836M Gallery, SF
From March 15 through June 3, Wendy Rein and Ryan T. Smith, founders of RAWdance, were in residency at 836M Gallery, transitioning the space from a static gallery into a living laboratory of artistic incubation. The piece was titled Without Lonesome George and the Last Martha.
The gallery itself became an immersive space and stage for an evolving collaboration with celebrated scenic designer/engineer Sean Riley. Joining them was a company of six dancers in a project that advances a set of physical and visual responses to questions of extinction and de-extinction, loss and legacy.
As an extension of RAWdance's residency, the photographs here echo the activity in the gallery at given times during the 13 weeks of experimentation. Remnants of the set resonate with their representations in the images–an opportunity to virtually recompose choreographic moments and generate new personal experiences.
The images also perform on their own. The documentation highlights that performance is just one mode of engagement. Without Lonesome George and the Last Martha can be viewed here one evolution at a time, as part of a long and multiple experiment in choreographic thought.
8,225,281. To date, that is the wild number of people who have seen the youtube video of my dear friend Deborah Cohan. Quintessential Deb, she staged a flash mob in the OR to gear up for her double mastectomy. An improvised recording and upload later, images of Deb’s “joy trumps fear” experience took off. Thousands of strangers, meme-like, sent their own dancing images in return.
Serendipitously, I moved to town a week before Deb’s breast cancer diagnosis. “Could you take a few pictures of me before surgery?” We danced up a storm and made visual testimonies of Deb’s body and movement. That series was the first in a steady stream, still in progress as Deb finishes rounds of chemotherapy. Photography found a fine place in the healing process alongside Tibetan herbs and a polar cap, as my best way of listening.
New neighbors moved into our courtyard
but oddly nobody threw a welcome party.
Two six-image sets.
Bunker in the Garden
Mois de la Photo Off 2008
Jardin Anne Frank
Bunker in the Garden is an urban installation of photographs documenting a dance intervention performed atop the Bunker de la Demeure du Chaos by Mathieu Briand, a monumental sculpture erected at the Grand Palais, Paris for La Force de l’Art.
The installation extended the performance to another public space at the Jardin Anne Frank in Paris.
Images spring from the ground, hide among plants, grow on walls, play with visitors’ sense of scale.
Bunker in the Garden travels to San Francisco.
Photographic objects installed in Yerba Buena Gardens and Bernal Heights.
Sight Unseen catches people in the act of observing. Some are witnessing a car accident, others are watching a kid on a skateboard or in liminal space at the bus stop.
The actual events remain invisible—maybe even interchangeable. An attempt to distill the act of observing.