It was another busy weekend here at Culturebot. We kicked things off Friday afternoon by moderating a panel on “Writing about Site Specific Performance” at The Segal Center. It was a good panel – John Rockwell, Elise Bernhardt, Alexis Soloski and Helen Shaw all had insights and practical experience to share. Of course it was a real privilege to hear the experiences of Rockwell and Bernhardt who have either written about, produced or seen some of the most important site-specific work in NYC -and elsewhere – for the past thirty years. We discussed in some detail the history of site specific performance in NYC, the looseness of the term “site specific”, when its relevant and when its not. From a writing perspective everyone pretty much agreed that site-specific or not, the press is challenged to write about work that doesn’t fit neatly into any category. We’ve known this for a while, obviously, and that is one of the reasons why Culturebot exists, to fill that space. But it was good to hear both the ramifications of this lack of coverage and also some of the commercial and political exigencies of the journalism biz that lead to these rigid “content silos”. I’ll put up the audio of the panel as soon as it is available.
Saturday afternoon we went to the Park Avenue Armory to check out Ernesto Neto’s installation anthropodino, which was just fantastic, literally. It is this huge, whimsical structure that is both a sculpture and a kind of imaginary indoor park. Completely with ball pool and puzzle rugs, there were countless little kids engaging with the sculpture and playing around. At the same time it spoke to the scale of the space brought it to life in a really dynamic, inviting, engaging way. The armory can feel overwhelming, but anthropodino made it feel welcoming, like an inviting surreal playscape. Go see it!
We’re excited to find out more about what is happening at the Armory. We’ve heard a rumor that Kristy Edmonds (formerly of TBA and Melbourne Festival) may be taking over performance programming, but we have not been able to get substantiation of this rumor. One way or another we’re looking forward to Shen Wei Dance Arts’ site-specific response to anthropodino on June 2nd and Mnouchkine’s Les Ephemeres which will be presented by the Lincoln Center Festival in assocation with the Armory from July 7-19.
Saturday night we headed down to Bubble Lounge in TriBeCa for a little site-specific cocktail party and then back up to the Ontological for Paper Industry’s Sine Wave Goodbye which has previously been shown at PRELUDE. They’re definitely a young company – the “story” of the piece is a little angst-y and existential in a twentysomething way. At the same time, it was wonderfully staged and superfun, a lot of the writing is clever, insightful and engaging and there are plenty of “moments” that alternate between humorous and poignant. Each of the performers gets a few star turns. Ilan Bacharach is frequently hilarious with throwaway lines, non sequiturs and comic timing. But most powerful is the closing sequence, a two-voiced monologue by the girls in the cast, Megan Tusing and Stephanie Austin Green. Without giving anything away, let’s just say it is a surprisingly accurate tour through the subconscious during a moment of physical intimacy. When the finished speaking, the audience was so entranced that they didn’t want to applaud for fear of breaking the moment. Good job!
Sunday we spent tweaking the site and getting under the hood – hope you like what we’ve done!! This week is the Obies, the Kitchen Benefit, a party for PICA/TBA and a couple of shows. Phew!!