Photo Essays

Images from the First Week of the Brooklyn Int’l Performance Art Festival

by Hrag Vartanian on July 9, 2013

A detail of La Pocha Nostra's "Corpo Insurrecto: Psycho-Magic Actions for A World Gone Wrong” (2013) performance on Friday, July 5 at Grace Exhibition Space. (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

A detail of La Pocha Nostra’s “Corpo Insurrecto: Psycho-Magic Actions for A World Gone Wrong” (2013) performance on Friday, July 5 at Grace Exhibition Space. (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

The Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival (BIPAF) has begun and I will be blogging weekly photo essays of all the performances — a small fraction of the complete schedule — I attend each week. Here is a taste of the talent that has arrived from around the world to perform in Brooklyn this week.

Untitled performance by Martha Wilson (NYC)

JACK (Thursday, July 4) — Martha Wilson’s kicked off the opening night of BIPAF with her First Lady Barbara Bush character discussing her newly “artistic” son, President George W. Bush. This monologue was one of the rare times I wished I had video recorded the whole thing. Wilson’s Mrs. Bush was obviously uncomfortable with having an artist in the family. This was the closest I had seen Wilson bring this character into the realm of stand up comedy.

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Untitled performance by Ryan Eggensperger (NYC)

JACK (Thursday, July 4) — This peculiar performance also took place during the opening night event of BIPAF, and it started with some peculiar verbal stylings and musical interludes that lead to some sausage making. The performance ended (or did it?) when the duo walked outside with the plate of sausages to grill them on the communal grill.

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“Evaporation Study #1” by Collectif Experiencia (San Francisco/Brooklyn)

CAVE (Friday, July 5) — Accompanying and taking place inside the “MACHINE” installation at the Williamsburg space, “Evaporation Study #1″ by Collectif Experiencia explored the notion of the individual performer and the digital cloud as the sound performance and visual projections responded to the people in the theater.

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Corpo Insurrecto: Psycho-Magic Actions for A World Gone Wrong” by La Pocha Nostra (Chicago/elsewhere)

Grace Exhibition Space (Friday, July 5) — Yesterday, I blogged about La Pocha Nostra’s “Corpo Insurrecto: Psycho-Magic Actions for A World Gone Wrong” (2013) performance, which combined jarring images from the headlines, art history, pop culture, and our communal subconscious. Here are some additional images but you can also read the whole review here.

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Untitled performance by Myk Henry (NYC/Ireland)

Goodbye Blue Mondays (Saturday, July 6) — I walked into the venue just as this veteran of the Brooklyn performance art scene was in the midst of his work. A woman stood blind-folded in white on stage while he wandered the audience in a confrontation stance and another man read a text aloud. Henry eventually returned to the stage to remove the blind fold from the woman’s eyes, undress her, and finally cloak her in a black fabric.

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Untitled durational performance by Wild Torus (DC)

Goodbye Blue Mondays (Saturday, July 6) — This was a very techy performance that abruptly stopped when the performers blew a fuse and plunged the backyard area in darkness. They were forced to jettison their extensive digital set up and go acoustic.

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Untitled durational performance by Sneaky Mister (Brooklyn)

Goodbye Blue Mondays (Saturday, July 6) — A poetically simple work, Sneaky Mister divided her work into three ten-minute vignettes. The most successful featured the artist hidden inside the can and singing a soulful song.

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Untitled performance by The Georges (NYC)

Goodbye Blue Mondays (Saturday, July 6) —Part performance, part band, The Georges is an offshoot of OBIE-winning theater company Hoi Polloi. The group describes what they do as “avant garde improv,” and they count Alec Duffy, composer Steven Leffue, and actors Jason Quarles and Julian Rozzell, Jr. among their membership. This evening’s performance was a loud reading that slid downhill until it fell apart into a screaming mess, which is what I believe it was intended to do.

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“Exonym/endonym” by Zen-go (Japan)

Grace Exhibition Space (Sunday, July 7) — A conceptual work by dancer/choreographer Megumi Kamimura and artist Shinichi Takashima, the performance focused on the confusion of language and the ability to realize abstract concepts through the body. “Zen-go,” as described by the group, is a “peculiar Japanese word that means both ‘front and back’ (spatial segment) and ‘before and after’ (temporal segment).” The minimal aesthetic highlighted the tension between the two performers and how the ability for language (verbal or otherwise) can break down on stage.

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“Before I Decide” by Kathinka Walter (Germany)

Grace Exhibition Space (Sunday, July 7) — A two-hour non-narrative durational work, German choreographer Kathinka Walter directed the performers who were forced to act both as individuals and as a group. The work focuses on the dynamics of the group as they are quickly make decisions on the spot whether they understand the direction of the piece or not.

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The Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival continues until July 28, 2013.

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