Friday, August 6, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
June 13 – July 4, 2010
Last summer I was accepted into The Prague Summer Theater School, a three-week theater program, directed by Alexander Komlosi, and hosted by DAMU and AMU in Prague, Czech Republic. I participated in both sections of the program: Enlivening the Performer and Presenting Performance. Each section was composed of three courses:
Enlivening the Performer : (Inter)acting with the Inner Partner (Instructors: Ivan Vyskocil, Alexander Komlosi and Howard Lotker), Contact Improvisation (Instructor: Monika Rebcova), and Non-Verbal Performance (Instructor: Nina Hlava).
Presenting Perfomance: Puppet and Object Theater (taught by Marek Becka), Solo Authorial Presentations (Instructor: Alexander Komlosi) Outside the Box (Instructor: Howard Lotker)
I chose to participate in the Prague Summer Theater School because of the performative nature of my artwork, and because I am in the process of creating a large-scale theatrical production that would weave my jointed figures, sculptures, installations, and performances into a larger story - one that I envision taking place on a stage. I had been craving the opportunity to further experiment with movement, storytelling, object manipulation, and audience participation and The Prague Summer Theatre School presented the perfect opportunity for me to enter into the world of puppetry and theatre, continue to develop my production, and make connections with others in the field. All in the birthplace of Puppetry and Stop Motion Animation!
The PSTS exceeded all of my expectations. I was one of only about 13 amazing students from all over the world, and we are all still close friends! I loved all of the instructors, each gave us their all. They shared a wealth of knowledge, gave us full access to the facilities and made us all feel very comfortable. I really feel it was essential to take both sections of the program, as putting together an original production requires an understanding of all of these areas.
We studied the body compositionally in space; movement of body in space; how to convey meaning/feelings/emotions with the body & movement; how to build a story and engage the audience; and how to Interact with our Inner Partner. (A class that turned out to be one of the hardest, most fun and possibly my favorite)
When I was not in class, I spent lots of time drinking champagne & cappuccinos, and eating chocolate cake at Café Louvre and pastries at Jan Paukert bakery. And I went to lots of shows! My favorite was “Yesterday” by Jasmin Vardimon Company at the Karlin Theater (across the street from my apartment) as part of “Tanec Praha 2010.” I also really enjoyed performances at The Ponec Theater by Dora Hostova, Tore; Company Decalage, Appel; Jarek Cemerek, Void Amongst Humans; La Macana. And I loved the Mucha Museum.
Please feel free to contact me if you are considering applying to the PSTS, I would be happy to share more information about my experience there.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
The connection between madness/manic depression/obsessive compulsive disorder and art is undeniable and fascinating. But just as much as madness creates art, I believe art creates madness.
Madness can develop as a result of the artistic process. The pattern of art-making can be extremely damaging; It begins with obsessive thinking, rolling an idea around and around in order to solve a problem, followed by moments of sublime manic inspiration and the struggle of creation, and the hours and hours spent alone in the studio. The rush of installation and exhibitions and fanfare and the deep, dark pits of rejection and feelings of hopelessness and despair. This whole cycle of ups and downs repeats with the development of each new body of work and is very similar to the waves of manic-depression and schizophrenia.
When you choose to become an artist you open up your senses in a way that can't be undone. You take in everything seeking inspiration. But this can make very ordinary errands unbearable: a trip to the mall or the supermarket can be sensory overload, movie theaters become a torturous cacophany of coughing and popcorn-crunching. New York City requires lots of mental preparation in order to be able to handle the herds of people, the noise, and the fast pace. I believe that this hyper-sensitivity to surroundings is very similar to milder forms of autism. This occurred to me after reading, and identifying with, Temple Grandin's masterpiece "Thinking In Pictures" (HBO has just made a movie about her which, I've heard, is AMAZING and I look forward to watching it.)
Artists possess an enormous energy that needs to be directed carefully or the intensity of that power can make a person crazy. If not directed towards creation, all of that intensity and energy gets misplaced and an artist can drown in thought, or obsess excessively about other aspects of their life.
You never know what will cause a rush of inspiration; lectures, long car drives, movies cause my brain to speed up with the rhythm of the passing landscape or the lecturers' voice and I thrash around in my purse for a scrap of paper to scribble down my new grand idea or solution to a problem. I've gotten really good at writing in the dark. But God forbid you pull the car over or leave the lecture because the thoughts will vanish.
So as a result of these new findings, I'd like to add to the annals of psychology a new mental illness:
Artism = a type of madness caused by the artistic process. Similar to autism, where one's hyper-sensitive experience of the external world causes overwhelming shifts in one's internal state of being. In some extreme cases, the very demanding and extreme cycle of the artistic process can develop into manic depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and/or schizophrenia. The only way to keep this madness from taking over seems to be the continuation of art-making.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
I'm struck that in both the Gabriel Orozco and Roni Horn Exhibitions I saw last month in NYC, and the 2009 Venice Biennial this summer, it seems the focus of the art has shifted more towards an experience, and process, more so than on a finished piece or a specific statement/concept.
Could we finally be embracing the idea that art, like all other natural processes, is always in flux. And that we are spotlighting the process of creating and the artist's thought process instead of a finished masterpiece.
The world is in an extremely trasitional place right now. Its all unstable and art is helping all of us come to terms with that. We feel lost and confused right now and don't know exactly why. We dont have a big message we need to scream out in our work. We are not rebelling or fighting, we are just trying to survive. Art offers an escape. Art offers an opportunity to connect with something. Art offers us the opportunity to have control over something. The process of making art is enough right now, it is an opportunity to meditate, or to forget, or to get lost in the creation of something that restores the sensation of control.
I'm curious to see if the upcoming Whitney Biennial presents a similar shift in focus...