Powderburn, titled after a racial slur, is a performance piece that follows one man from his sun-burnt, war-torn homeland to an unnamed country in which cultures clash in cracked basements, men become brothers become enemies, and a class system assigns him the forever role of exoticized, eroticized, animal-like performer. As the performance (and performer) descends towards a construct that is intentionally volatile and unraveled, a persistent video camera becomes increasingly representative of the “audience;” it is through the constant gaze of this audience that each dance and demo becomes less sport and more spectacle. An actual audience is invited to view the Powderburn residency’s final performance of the week, the last stop on a downward spiral of dance and fight and charged dynamic between this small group of men that, over eight days, will have grown into beaten yet emboldened brothers. This video shows clips of their work through out Watermill and the grounds and was compiled by the artist.
In a residency taking place September 22–October 4 2009, the German-born, Rotterdam-based performance and video artist Katharina D. Martin took advantage of the Watermill Center’s unique locale and resources for interdisciplinary work. Entitled Forest Time, her project entails her living, glamorously dressed, in the woods surrounding The Watermill Center—and filming herself over the course of several days. She was fully attired like a Marilyn Monroe-esque female icon, with a fresh manicure, makeup, evening wear, and high heels. She carried out traditionally feminine activities, in addition to acts of survival and play, while living outdoors at Watermill. As she inhabited this striking incongruity—dressed up in artifice in a natural environment—Martin revealed the absurdity of classic signifiers of glamorous femininity. This video is an opportunity to see Martin's work-in-progress, captured via video.
Revolutionary Spaces is an exploration of the art of theatrical set design. From challenging gravity to creating a language through non-realistic imagery, Revolutionary Spaces explores the interaction of the audience and the stage. This project questions how and where the viewer experiences recognition and intuitive understanding of the content of a performance as it relates to the environment of the action on the stage. The intent is to channel this exploration into writing a book on the effects of abstract imagery as they apply to set design.
Birgitte Moos is a Danish artist, based in Copenhagen and Los Angeles. Both a conceptual painter and set designer, she holds an MFA from the National Design School of Denmark, where she was often called “the most analytical Danish set designer.” Her work has been shown in various venues and exhibited internationally at numerous galleries. Recently, she designed the set and costumes for Theatre Cantabile2 in Copenhagen and had a solo exhibition at Edgar Varela Fine Arts in Los Angeles.
GIRLMACHINE is a free theatrical investigation of Futurism's ambiguous vitality and its complex relationship to the modern body, exploring notions of masculine identity and mechanized erotics. This inaugural performance unfolds an associative journey through various texts ranging from Futurist poetry and manifestos to contemporary sources, through the neo-Renaissance-style Teatro. Taking as its main focus certain conceits of Futurist masculinity as hyperbole, the performance presents an adaptation of Una Parentesi Luminosa by Marella Caracciolo Chia. Fragments, vibrant tableaux, still and moving images, silence and orchestrated words, repeated and sudden actions, bodies, voices, decor, lights, and texts all create layers that could erect or destroy in an antagonistic escalation.
This collective of highly accomplished and eclectic artists includes Luisa Gui (producer), Charles Chemin (director), Carlos Soto (director), and Christian Wassman (architect). They have come together to create this theatrical performance that was held at the Teatro of the Italian Academy on November 11, 2009. The piece inaugurated the symposium Beyond Futurism: F.T. Marinetti, Writer organized by Paolo Valesio and the Department of Italian at Columbia University, and will be featured in PERFORMA09, the biennial for new visual performance art. The work was developed as part of the Fall/Spring Residency program at The Watermill Center from October 15 - November 1, 2009.
Steven Vega’s film Harbor combines costume design, dance, video, and music to create echoes of a surreal world. Set within a seamless black space, Harbor focuses on various combinations of light and texture. It presents a dialogue between characters through dance. It highlights the subtle fluctuations of a conductor along with a musical score. Sheep's wool is used to cover the body, face, and hands of the players, and braids link bodies to each other. Ultimately, Harbor explores Vega’s underlying belief that film allows a moment of extreme intimacy for the viewer. The screening on November 21 was also accompanied by a live musical performance. This footage was filmed and edited by the artist.