Monday, October 24, 2011

Able Movement: Sasha Nelson

[Editors Note: The following videos and text were sent to me from one of the PAO dancers, Sasha Nelson, as she felt they represented her personal connection to the project. What follows is her articulation of how movement highlights differences in bodies.]

I love these videos and think they relate to the PAO project in terms of moving with/without limbs or a fully functioning body. This video blew me away; I think anyone who watches will gain an entirely new respect for those who can move without the fortune of having all of our limbs (much like the survivors of AO):

This video brings up the same feeling of gratitude towards my able-bodied self in a different way; the movement is so beautiful, and I love how the two bodies connect as one fluid movement throughout the entire piece. Makes me appreciate and adore the ability to move and the unlimited possibilities in which we can do so:

Monday, October 17, 2011

the creators project: connection mediated by technology

I spent the afternoon in DUMBO today at the creators project
plowing my way through crowds drawn by the next generation of art making--
installations and projects from around the world, that had traveled the physical world,
to arrive in New York.

I described it to my Dad as "kinda like Macworld except more artsy, or rather more aesthetically oriented and less utilitarian." In particular, I was thinking of the iPhone app that recorded the duration of the fall using an internal accelerometer. Ok Free Fall High Score, I get the antagonism. That's fine.

Mostly, I walked away with the idea that we are moving into yet another level of interactive art. Relational Art of the '90s doesn't cut it anymore, sorry Rirkrit. In a world where you can tweet, text, and blog your vote in a matter of seconds (for the President or the Idol), art installations are engaging viewers to an extreme they never have before. It's not about the artist interacting with just the art piece, and it's not even about the artist interacting with the audience anymore. Now, art requires that the audience members interact with one another--all mediated through the medium of technology. Dialogue in 0s and 1s much as we do outside the walls of the gallery.

The majority of the pieces entice the viewer's direct action: SuperUber's SuperPong game that was a digital amalgamation of Pong and Foosball; Meditation by Minha Yang, which featured three speakers and red light beams that responded to viewers intentional salutes; and Six-Forty by Four-Eighty by Zigelbaum + Coelho, which was like a sophisticated version of those light up peg games. There was even a meta-articulation of the breakdown of communication as mediated by technology! Diskinect by Team Diskinect examined the failure of a Kinect console to accurately recreate a human's actions on a rigged marionette.

Most effective, however, was Jonathan Glazer and J. Spaceman's A physical manifestation of Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space. A dark winding corridor gives way to a hall with four diagonal skylights leading to overly iridescent lightbulbs sending shafts of light into the space. Hipsters and designers alike were sprawled out on the floor staring into thousands of watts of eye damage and I was thinking... kitsch. And then I lied down.


Glazer and Spaceman succeed in recreating the equivalent of stained glass windows to a peasant with bubonic plague. From the reverberations of sound waves through the floor, to the sunny glow of isolated wells of light, this small warehouse in Brooklyn had me looking for St. Peter's key. It was transcendent, ethereal, and perhaps even a bit extraterrestrial. And the reason why it succeeded was that in that moment, there was a transference of awe that was shared in and through the bodies of the witnesses. Organized religion and transubstantiation aside, the experience was wholly somatic, and thus, did not require translation.

This is what I strive for in my choreography.

To make work that is in and on the body, that is felt in and on the body.
Aesthetic appreciation and visual literacy aside, I want to make work that transfers from one body to another, so that there is no need for intermediaries.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


After a brief hiatus from this blog, Project Agent Orange has found an increased online presence in other forms. As we embark on a new stage in our process, we are excited to be featured on the Make Agent Orange History website!

We are also planning an evening length performance for Spring 2012 in New York City so stay tuned for details about the location and exact dates of the performance.

As such, we will be launching a Kickstarter online crowd funding campaign on November 1, 2011. We are looking forward to sharing our work with you and would appreciate any support you can offer.

As I (Natalia) have been taking on a more administrative role as of late, the dancers and I have not had as much working time in the studio. However, there are many artistic developments on the horizon. The dancers and I will continue to stay abreast of the research and development that is occurring regarding the clean up of Agent Orange in Vietnam as well as the other efforts nonprofit and governmental organizations are taking on. In addition, the blog will begin to reflect the cooperative nature of our work.

So stay tuned, because this is the calm before the storm and there is still much ahead of us!