The BodyCartography Project | Performance Space New York

Super Nature

Super Nature
The BodyCartography Project & Zeena Parkins (USA)

Born out of the restless imaginations of Olive Bieringa & Otto Ramstad, this radical ecological melodrama is replete with artifice and animal appetites. The dance/performance/installation duo engages the wild and civilized aspects of human nature with idiosyncratic movement drawn from bodily impulses and social interactions. Bessie Award–winning composer Zeena Parkins performs a live score within a scenic installation by visual artist Emmett Ramstad.
“Sneaky-smart…demands patience but it yields many rewards”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
75 minutes

Commissioned by PS122, co-presented with tbspMGMT as part of the 4th edition of American Realness

Abrons Arts Center: 466 Grand St., Manhattan

Jan 14-17 8:30pm

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As co-directors of the BodyCartography Project Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad have created numerous performance works, short films and installations which have been presented in theaters and site specific locations across the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Europe, Russia and South America. Presenters include Performance Space 122, Dance Theater Workshop, Movement Research, Dance on Camera Festival, NYC; Philadelphia Dance Project; Anti-Festival, Finland; Stromereien Festival, Zurich; Lyon Opera Ballet, Les Subsistances, Lyon; South East Dance, Cheshire Dance, UK; NZ International Film Festival; Cinedans, Amsterdam; Polish Public Television; Bryant Lake Bowl, Walker Art Center, Southern Theater, Minneapolis International Film Festival, and Minnesota Public Television. Their work has been supported by residencies at the Walker Art Center, Bell Museum of Natural History, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Headlands Center for the Arts, K3 in Hamburg and Les Subsistances, amongst others.

Award winning composer/performer Zeena Parkins inspired multi-instrumentalist/composer/improviser, pioneer of contemporary harp practice and performance, reimagines the instrument as a “sound machine of limitless capacity.” Parkins has built three versions of her one-of-a-kind electric harp and has extended the language of the acoustic harp with the inventive use of unusual playing techniques, preparations, and layers of electronic processing. Parkins is releasing a new Tzadik CD with renowned laptop artist, Ikue Mori and Phantom Orchard Orchestra, Trouble in Paradise, to be released in November 2012.
The BodyCartography Project has appeared at PS122 with Symptom as a part of COIL 2011, ½ Life in 2010, and Holiday House as a part of COIL 2009.


The Abrons Arts Center is the performing and visual arts program of Henry Street Settlement. The Abrons supports the presentation of innovative, multi-disciplinary work; cultivates artists in all stages of their creative development through educational programs, commissions, and residencies; and serves as an intersection of cultural engagement for local, national, and international audiences and arts-workers.
Each year the Abrons offers over 250 performances, 12 gallery exhibitions, 20 residencies for performing and studio artists, and 100 different classes in dance, music, theater, and visual art. The Abrons also provides New York City public schools with teaching artists, introducing more than 3,000 students to the arts.
Some of the most adventurous artists of the past century have trained, taught, or performed at Henry Street, including John Cage, Aaron Copland, Dizzy Gillespie, Martha Graham, Alicia Keyes, Alwin Nikolais, Jackson Pollock, Denzel Washington, and Orson Welles.
Recent artists to appear on the Abrons’ stages include Laurie Anderson, Joey Arias, Justin Vivian Bond, Philippe Petit, Rufus Wainwright, and John Zorn.
Henry Street Settlement, founded in 1893, serves 50,000 New Yorkers each year with social service, arts and health care programs from 17 program sites on Manhattanís Lower East Side.

Abrons Art Center is located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and is accessible by the F, J, M, B, and D subways. This well-known region is home to the Tenement Museum and the New Museum of Contemporary Art. Abrons Art Center sits four blocks from Essex Street, just south of the Williamsburg Bridge. The Clinton Street restaurant row is only three blocks northeast of the theater and is complete with pizzerias, tapas restaurants, and local bars.
“The community keeps reinventing itself,” said Susan Fleminger, director of visual arts and arts education at the Henry Street Settlement, whose main house is at 265 Henry Street, near Montgomery Street. ”Just when you think it’s over, it revives itself.” Henry Street is one of six century- old settlement houses that continue to help new immigrants, providing day care and programs for the young and old, as well as cultural activities in Henry Street’s Abrons Arts Center. The New York Times

Community Class taught by Olive Bieringa on January 17th from noon – 2pm at Abrons Art Center on the Playhouse stage.
Tickets are $10
Super Nature Workshop Description
This workshop will investigate movement states that are raw, intuitive, transparent and primal. These qualities will be generated from the contents and sensations of the body, the amplification of body impulses and material elicited from social interactions. Humans are animals and like most higher primates, humans are social animals. We want to explore the animal underbelly of how social groups operate, with their capacity to embrace and exclude. With all of these elements we will create a very distinctive choreographic language with movement invention that is behavioural, reflexive and personal and apply that to performance.
Note: COIL passes do not apply to this event.

Conceived and directed by Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad
Composer Zeena Parkins
Set Design Emmett Ramstad and Olive Bieringa
Costume Design Emmett Ramstad
Light Design Heidi Eckwall
Performers Emily Johnson, Justin Jones, Francesca Mattavelli, Otto Ramstad, Eneka Bordato Riano, Anna Marie Shogren, Timmy Wagner and special guests.

Super Nature is a co-commission of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Performance Space 122, NYC; and PadlWest, San Diego through the National Performance Network Creation Fund. Additional support comes from the MAP Fund, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, American Dancers Abroad, CEC Arts Link, Impulstanz Festival, Lily Springs, Studio 206,the McKnight Foundation and is underwritten by the American Composers Forum’s Live Music for Dance Minnesota program in partnership with New Music USA, with funds provided by the McKnight Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with the New England Foundation for the Arts through the National Dance Project. Major support for NDP is provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation. Support from the NEA provides funding for choreographers in the early stages of their careers. Additional presentation support from Merz Gilmore Foundation, Harkness Foundation for Dance and Jerome Robbins Foundation.



“A stirring piece, viscerally, and you’ll be thinking about it afterwards, as I am now.” – TC Daily Planet

Join twins, dancer Otto Ramstad and visual artist Emmett Ramstad, as they examine the human body, investigate notions of social bodies versus biological bodies, and explore the gaps between seeing, knowing and empathy. Symptom inspects the slippage between subjective and objective understandings of the human body, where a symptom acts as an indicator, trait, feature, mark or sign that is open for interpretation. Sound composed by electro-acoustic instrumentalist Andrea Parkins.

Co-created by Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad, Composer Andrea Parkins, Researcher and theorist Aren Aizura , Performed by Otto Ramstad and Emmett Ramstad

Since 1998 The BodyCartography Project’s co-directors Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad have created numerous dance, film and installation works. Their work extends from intimate solos for the street or stage, to large community dance works in train stations, dance films in national parks, to highly complex works for site or stage amidst installations, video and sound. Their work has been produced across the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Europe, Russia and South America. Recent highlights include a commission for the Lyon Opera Ballet and the premiere of their work 1/2 Life with a physicist, composer Zeena Parkins and visual artist Emmett Ramstad at Performance Space 122, NYC, the Southern Theater and Art of This Gallery in Minneapolis. They are featured artists in the first book about site dance in the USA published by University of Florida Press titled Site Dance: Choreographers and the Lure of Alternative Spaces and 2010 McKnight Fellows.

Fri, Jan 7 4:30PM / Sat, Jan 8 9:30PM / Sun, Jan 9 4:30PM / Mon, Jan 10 6:30PM

Help PS122 Go Green by viewing your Symptom program online!

Half Life


Artist of the Year 2007, Minneapolis-St.Paul City Pages

“The pleasure of viewing is so intense here, so fun as to be nearly guilty.” – Lightsey Darst, MSP magazine 2008

“We are treated to unobstructed views of a cast of extraordinary movers.” – Mary Hodges, Brooklyn Rail, 2009

“Visually stunning, intricately choreographed…scenes of tense calm and silent impact.” – Justin Schell,, 2008

“A concentrated sense of emotional truth.” – Roslyn Suclas, New York Times 2009

1/2 Life investigates the survival of the body amidst a world of scientific research, data, and control. The performance hovers geographically at the edges of the Pacific Ocean – connecting nuclear super power USA, atomic survivor Japan and nuclear free New Zealand. A contemporary ritual to address our dormant nuclear nightmares. Dance and video artists Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad bring together an extraordinary collaborative team including composer and harpist Zeena Parkins, visual artist Emmett Ramstad, physicist Bryce Beverlin II, performer Takemi Kitamura and a critical mass of twelve including Sinan Goknur, Becky Olson, Taja Will, Jennifer Arave, Kimberly Lesik, Emma Rainwater, Melissa Birch, Laressa Dickey, Melissa Guerrero, Sharon Mansur, Laura Grant and Nick LeMere.

1/2 Life was made possible with support from the Rockefeller MAP Fund, the Jerome Foundation, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, the Archibald Bush Foundation, Arts International, Minnesota State Arts Board, and the Moore Family Fund

More about 1/2 Life can be found at

February 10 – 14, 2009

Wed – Sat at 8PM, Sun 6PM
Thursday Night Social Feb 11
Talkback with Clarinda Mac Low
Friday February 12

70 minutes

$20, $15 (students/seniors)

Help PS122 Go Green by viewing your 1/2 Life Program online!

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