We at PS122 are are looking forward to a new documentary called Bronx Gothic, based on a piece we commissioned in 2014. Okwui Okpokwasili’s Bronx Gothic was part of our COIL Festival and was presented at Danspace Project to sold out houses. The documentary, by Andrew Rossi, who Made “The First Monday in May,” focuses on Okpokwasili’s artistic process, and follows her as she completes a final tour of the piece. The documentary itself has been on the festival circuit and will premiere at Film Forum on July 12 and then run for two weeks. We hope to see you there!
PERFORMANCE SPACE 122: ANNOUNCES RAMP RESIDENCY PROGRAM
Ramp 2017 Artists Include Justin Hicks and Tess Dworman
Performance Space 122’s Ramp residency program is designed to foster the creation of ambitious, new work from New York City-based emerging artists working across genres, perspectives and cultures. With this residency, PS122 not only provides the space needed to work but also technical assistance, commissioning fees, marketing support as well as the confidence to make bold moves in new directions.
PS122’s Ramp 2017 will feature composer and performer Justin Hicks and choreographer Tess Dworman.
For over 35 years, PS122 has invited audiences to engage in live experiences that can have profound and unpredictable effects in order to foster the spirit of inquiry and openness necessary in a generative society. We produce these experiences by providing contemporary artists who represent diverse genres, cultures, and perspectives with the resources and platforms to develop and present new works.
Each residency will culminate with a free, public showing. Additional information, including artist statements and bios, can be found at ps122.org/ramp.
We’re very excited to announce the appointment of Performance Space 122’s new Executive Artistic Director, Jenny Schlenzka! Below is a letter from Enrico Ciotti, PS122 Board President, with the good news:
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It gives me great pleasure to announce that Performance Space 122 has appointed Jenny Schlenzka, a respected curator of performance at MoMA PS1, as our next Executive Artistic Director.
At Performance Space 122, we celebrate courage – to challenge preconceived notions, to break barriers, both in substance and form, to take visible actions towards a freer, more expressive, diverse and equitable society. Jenny is a bold risk-taker whose programmatic choices combine a thorough curatorial approach with such great instincts on what it is that makes the heart of our extended community pulse. I am confident she will be a great leader at a very exciting time of growth for the organization.
Jenny will become PS122’s first female artistic leader and will build upon the legacy of both Vallejo Gantner (2005–2016) and Mark Russell (1985–2005). She brings over a decade of curatorial experience, primarily in live performance and media art, to PS122 as we prepare to return to our beloved East Village home. You can read more about Jenny Schlenzka and PS122 in the announcement recently published in The New York Times.
Many of you have stood by us through this transitional period of our history and, for this, we cannot thank you enough. Your dedication to the organization and the audiences and artists we support has sustained us mentally and fiscally. We look forward to the work that lies ahead.
I hope to see you all in January at the Coil Festival.
President, Performance Space 122 Board of Directors
For more information about PS122’s Coil Festival or to contribute a year-end donation, please visit: ps122.org
For a more enhanced experience, PS122 has committed to commissioning program notes for each major production. We’re hoping that through these writings we can provide a deeper connection to the ideas that are prevalent throughout the work or the artist’s body of work and how these ideas relate to contemporary issues permeating throughout society. Our goal is to foster dialogue so if you feel compelled to share your thoughts, leave a comment.
Program Notes for COIL 2016: Yesterday Tomorrow by Annie Dorsen
Written by Miriam Felton-Dansky
When an actor steps onstage, who tells her what to do—where to stand, what to say, how to say it? A director? Her own emotional impulses? What about a software program, sending artistic choices to her from behind the scenes?
Sound surprising? That’s exactly what you’ll see in Yesterday Tomorrow, Annie Dorsen’s algorithmic concert piece. This piece, and the others in Dorsen’s algorithmic theater trilogy, challenges many ideas so deeply embedded in our assumptions about live performance that we rarely question them: the presumption that theater includes actors, for instance, and that live actors must be human. The idea that when technology appears onstage, human artists control it and not the other way around. Yesterday Tomorrow tests and rearranges these fundamental theatrical concepts, using computer algorithms, procedures for solving problems and making decisions, now frequently performed by software. Dorsen creates a new kind of concert, organized according to new musical principles: you’ll see her singers transform the Beatles’ “Yesterday” into “Tomorrow,” from the musical Annie, under the live, moment-to-moment direction of algorithms. As pitch and key and melody shift, these two songs become many songs, each a little different from the next, each evening’s performance different—subtly or wildly, as the algorithm decides—from the performance the night before.
Algorithms—the decision-makers in this performance piece—are more than abstract software programs: they increasingly, but often invisibly, matter in our lives. When Amazon.com suggests a book you might enjoy, or Netflix a film you should watch, those web sites’ uncanny knowledge emerges from algorithmic systems busily recording and responding to your every click and purchase. When you post an update on Facebook, algorithms decide which of your friends will see it. Worldwide, algorithms buy and sell stocks and predict environmental change. Dorsen’s algorithmic theater invokes the larger ways in which computer algorithms have already become decision-makers in our culture, putting these computer-generated choices onstage, the computer’s next move unknown to actors and audiences alike.
Yesterday Tomorrow is the third in Dorsen’s trilogy of algorithmic theater pieces, all of which place human and machine performance side by side. In Hello Hi There (2010), a pair of MacBooks running chatbot software held a debate about—among other topics—whether language is something humans learn or something we are born with, inspired by a famous philosophical debate between Noam Chomsky and Michel Foucault on the same topic. In A Piece of Work (2013), computer algorithms adapted Hamlet—a foundational text about the nature of being human—in performative dialogue with physical stagecraft and human actors.
In Yesterday Tomorrow, algorithmic programs create a concert that progresses according to digital rules, not human ones. You won’t see the computer making decisions—changing notes, altering light cues, leading the singers from one harmony or dissonance to the next—just as, in the wider world, we often can’t see, touch, or feel algorithms guiding the economy or tracking our daily online activities. But you will see the human results of the choices the algorithm makes, as the music gradually, inexorably evolves from the past to the future, in the unfolding theatrical present.
© Photo by Maria Baranova
This month is the spiritual dawning of Royal Osiris Karaoke ensemble’s LUV Pavilion. Thats right, our upcoming RAMP artists have created a ‘a non-denominational polytechnical spiritual explorational hub and event center’ in Ridgewood, Queens. Here at PS, we are definitely in need of some spiritual healing.
Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble (ROKE) is a musical priesthood that explores the metaphysics and mythologies of love, desire and courtship at the end of the 20th century.
All through May, this LUV-ed up team have created a feast of unworldly delights! This includes an array of multimedia performances, defence speed dating and kaleidoscopic visions.
For more info check out the facebook!
Sending out love and good chi to our ROKE bros on their month long endeavour.