This video is inspired by a Yann Tiersen song and by an artistic exchange with Sahar Bardaie. This video was shown in an IRUS exhibit at CoProsperity Sphere in Chicago. (IRUS is an exchange between Iranian and American artists curated by Morehshin Allahyari). I presented this video in a custom made video/music box beside prints by Sahar Bardaie.
Please keep in mind that this video is intended to be viewed as a multiple channel video installation. Compressing it in one channel and for the web degrades the quality, but I hope it will still provide a glimpse of the concept.
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Music: Bryce Merrill
Video: Brigid McAuliffe
Remixed Portraits: Frank Pease
I shot this footage in northern Indiana between 2009-2011. Bryce wrote this song during the same time. The portraits of 1950's-60's Laportians are by Frank Pease, the town photographer. Pease saved 18,000 images which are now stored in the back of B and J's, a small diner in the center of town. Found Magazine's Jason Bitner recently discovered them. Bitner compiled, arranged, reprinted and bound them in a beautiful book entitled Laporte, Indiana. I lived near LaPorte for two years and always wanted to stop at the diner to see the original photos... I only got as close as the interstate. Here's our homage to a man that beautifully recorded the everyday people in his small town along the rust belt, and to another man who stopped long enough to notice.
Embody is an mixed media installation which uses percussive dance as a vehicle to explore cultural identity, history, and empowerment in generations of women. The work, a dynamic mix of projected images and sound, features a multi-channel video/audio installation to showcase and integrate each woman’s dance and dialogue. Audio fluctuates between the sounds of dance and the dancer’s voices, to create a resonating pulse in the gallery. McAuliffe: “Embodiment is usually understood as providing the ephemeral – a spirit, feeling, vision, or otherwise – with a tangible or visual form. Embody explores the complex meanings of this term to generations of female dancers who experience embodiment of a certain spirit or feeling while dancing. They articulate this feeling as being unique to dance: it is one that arises when they are wholly immersed, mentally and physically in the flow of movement, performance or practice.”
During the process, McAuliffe interviewed female dancers who practice Spanish Flamenco, Mexican Folklorico, West African, American Jazz Tap and Native American dances (Northern Traditional, Jingle Dress, and Fancy Shawl). Although very distinct from one another, these dances have some major elements in common. They utilize the feet as a percussive element, share certain gender dimensions, and speak to cultural identity and empowerment, history, tradition, and change. Using these interviews as a starting point, McAuliffe created a series of interwoven physical and time-based pieces that engulf the viewer’s senses and place them inside the flow.
McAuliffe worked with eight girls from Clear Lake Middle School in a series of Learning Labs at PlatteForum. Students interviewed the dancers about the cultural, personal and social significance of their practice and created flip-books and animated films about their experience. These works are displayed in the gallery.