This project has been made possible by a grant from the Creative Arts Council of Brown University.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Reflections: Family Portrait

Since the performances I have been having conversations about the piece that continue to deepen my reflections on it.

In a conversation with dancers Natasha and Kelli about three weeks after the performances, the "family portrait" section came up as one of the most interesting/provocative moments of the piece for them. This is the part when Natasha, Kelli, Tim and Nadia sit on the Westminster steps for an extended period of time (Amy is making her way around from the Weybosset side) staring straight ahead, almost sitting to attention, in a way reminiscent of a posed portrait.

N: It was "the most banal movement-wise, but it lasts for long enough that it stands out as odd in the context of people walking by."
K: "It was more startling, which I find to be odd, than the parts when we were moving more."
A recording of 'Family Portrait' from Saturday's performance, filmed by Sam Holland, can be seen in the clip below. This photo from an earlier post is also of 'Family Portrait'.

It is one of the moments that I find the most satisfying and delightful because of its 'oddness'. It lasts a little longer than is comfortable (just over a full minute); there is an expectation that something that should happen, but it doesn't. Yet I find that it remains interesting because of the ambiguous relationship set up between the four performers.

Friday, December 23, 2011

An Arcade Project in the Inventory

This is a piece that I was asked to write for the Inventory, the newsletter of the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University. The full newsletter can be found here.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Reflections from an audience member

These are some reflections from Mimi, an audience member who was generous enough to share her thoughts on the piece with me:
Going past the Arcade is a different experience for me now since seeing your piece; I have a connection to it. It has made me think about the theme of common property.  Experiencing your piece made me feel some sort of ownership of the environment I live in which I didn't have before. Perhaps a lot of people feel disconnected to buildings and urban spaces because they do not 'own' them, but your piece brings to mind how abstract the concept of property is. That is why I couldn't help think about your piece in the context of Occupy Providence. Here is a movement that is making people feel empowered enough to have more 'ownership' then they do. Occupying a public space allows people to become more engaged with those around them.
Back to your piece: although the Arcade is not 'public,' I felt that your piece made it so. I also liked how I, as an audience member, could interact within the piece. By interacting, I mean that when I had to follow the dancers around to each side, I felt that I had become part of the dance essentially. It felt initially strange, like I wasn't supposed to, but then I understood the importance of doing so.
I saw some skateboarders doing some tricks on the steps of the Arcade the other day. They had made a unique connection to the space in the same way your piece did. It's a connection that perhaps more the people who go in and out of Downtown PVD would never experience. What a gift I think!
The connection with the Occupy movement is an interesting one that had not crossed my mind at all- a pertinent example of the way in which audiences can find significances and associations that were not intended by the creator. It also speaks to the way in which context is crucial. Seeing this piece while the Occupy movement is constantly in the media allows for different connections than if the piece had occurred this time last year before the movement, or even if it had occurred in a location more geographically removed from the site of Occupy Providence (Burnside park is just on the other side of Wesminster Street, across Kennedy Plaza); like any work it does not exist in a vacuum but constantly informs, and is informed by, both its temporal and spatial context.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


"An Arcade Project" is featured on the photoblog of shellfishmeme with this photo taken during the performance on Saturday 19th Novemeber:

Photo by Mimi Roterman

Dancer response #1

Because we had not rehearsed the piece as a whole (that is through its 3 repetitions) until the day of the performance it gave an interesting liveness to intention in my own movement. I had never created a model to work towards but just fell in with what was there. The tension in my torso, the pace of my breath, the force in my legs changed every time (through the 6 repetitions of each day). Allowing for such un-predetermined shifts equally allowed my mind to wander: I could just be sitting on the steps looking over those people (the audience) staring at me instead of trying to look past them; think of the work i had to do the next day and miss my cue. I had a wonderful experience of straddling the edge of a rehearsed work and the very nowness of a performed one; which I believe is most suitable for sitting on a portico between an unused and inaccessible past (the arcade) and a trafficked and passing present (the street).

Photo by Seung Chan Lim

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Coverage in the Indy

As part of a larger piece on modern dance in Providence, Lizzie Feidelson covered "An Arcade Project" in the latest issue of The College Hill Independent. The article can be read in an online, digital format below: