"... because why would anyone want to ride a horse to California? Especially a woman. Especially an Italian woman who can’t ride very well. Especially an Italian woman who doesn’t have a gun.”
A Ride West - live is the new iteration of an interdisciplinary project which began in 2012 when Valentina Vella became strangely obsessed with the idea of riding a horse across America. The ride was attempted in the summer 2013 and it culminated in a long video piece which was first presented as a video installation at the 2014 Interdisciplinary Arts MFA show at Columbia College Chicago. The video is available here: vimeo.com/93747729
While exploring the same themes - the American West as a repository of dreams and projections, the Hero’s Journey as a storytelling device, Jungian theories about the psyche, the heroic stance as an antidote to erotic longing, the encounter with non-human animals as a gateway to the unconscious - the work presented at Links Hall created a different experience for the audience by inserting new material, by rearranging the hierarchy of its components and by articulating the distance between the past tense of narration (and of photographic documents) and the present tense of performance. The video installation was a structurally circular visual and aural experience guided by the voice of a disembodied narrator, the same narrator whose body was finally present (but not always visible) in front of the Links Hall audience.
The show featured a live band (Nathan Paulus, Sharon Hoyer and Josh Miller from the I Ching Quartet and Daniel Schneider from The Singleman Affair) and live video editing and processing by Michael LaHood. Sound design by Alex Drosen. Lighting by Chelsey Shilling.
Presented with the support of the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago.
Documentation: footage by Patrick Bobilin, video editing by Valentina Vella.
Many many many thanks to Sherry Antonini for her nurturing support when this project was but a seed.
Special thanks to Bryan Saner, Clifton Meador Jenny Magnus, Tiffany Funk, Matthew Savoca, Dan Estabrook, Tony, Debbie, Jerry, Chad, Cheri, Joe, Matt Miller, Seth Kugel, Penelope Hearne, Grayson Bagwell, the Santa Fe dude, Michael Tamney, Jayita Bhattacharya, Stefano Vella, Daniela Zefferi, Ezio Zefferi, Maurizio Vella, Megan Pitcher, Alex Borgen, Daniel Scott Parker, BJ Allen, Greg Browe, Lilli Kayes, Don Washington, Nathan Paulus, Sharon Hoyer, Josh Miller, Daniel Schneider, Michael LaHood, Alex Drosen, Chelsey Shilling, Daniel West Ponder, the CAA Board of Directors and Roell Schmidt.