(in)Visible, a new evening-length work by Jess Curtis/Gravity, dislocates vision from the center of your experience. Developed in collaboration with—and particularly focusing on access to culture for—blind and visually impaired audiences, (in)Visible is created and performed by an international cast of six blind, visually impaired and sighted body-based dancer/performers who dance, sing, whisper and feel their way into your consciousness, bringing experimental dance/performance and sensory accessibility practices into a rich and moving interaction.
U.S. Premiere @ CounterPulse
Tickets $10-$30: counterpulse.org/event/invisible
• Live Audio Description will be provided every night of the performances. A pre-show haptic access tour will take place before each performance one hour before the show starts. Please register: access [at] jesscurtisgravity [dot] org or telephone: 415-483-5996
• CounterPulse is a wheelchair friendly and accessible venue. It is level rolling access from the front door to the theater, the bathrooms are one floor down with an elevator and grab bars in the wheelchair accessible bathroom.
• ASL interpretation provided one night each weekend, dates TBA soon.
Conceived and Directed by Jess Curtis
Created and Performed by Sherwood Chen, Gabriel Christian, Rachael Dichter, Sophia Neises, Xenia Taniko, and Tiffany Taylor
Composer: Samuel Hertz
Costume and Scenic Design by Michiel Keupers
Lighting Design and Technical Direction by Gretchen Blegen
Extra-visual Access Consultants: Georgina Kleege, Gerald Pirner, and Alva Noë
Producer: Alley Wilde
Producer (DE): Julia Danila
Assistant Producer (DE): Alina Saggerer
Administrative Associate (US): Chibueze Crouch
Photos: Robbie Sweeny
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Gretchen Blegen is an interdisciplinary artist navigating ways of seeing and hearing space, light, sound and image. These boundaries are explored through an ongoing book practice as well as in the real and broader realm of (project–)spaces and theater. parallel to her own work and of equal importance is her involvement in collective structures supporting artistic thought and alternative forms of learning. In the last three years, these practices have found themselves intermingling. Working with visuals, installation, light and sound, her work is putting an emphasis on the creation and intention behind transforming,occupying, hosting and sharing a space with all collaborators and with an audience.
Sherwood Chen has worked as a performer with artists including Grisha Coleman, Yuko Kaseki, Amara Tabor-Smith, Anna Halprin, Min Tanaka, Xavier Le Roy, inkBoat / Ko Murobushi, Christine Bonansea and Sara Shelton Mann. He leads workshops for performers in studio and in natural and urban landscapes worldwide. For over twenty years he has served as a cultural worker in public, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors focusing on community arts programming, arts education, arts grantmaking, and as an artist advocate in the United States, with a focus on supporting tradition-based, Native Californian and immigrant artists. www.sherwoodchen.com
Gabriel Christian is a multidisciplinary artist bred in New York City and baking in Oakland, California. Their work metabolizes the vernaculars within BlaQ diaspora –– futurity, afrovivalism, faggotry –– through body-based live performance and poetics; moreover, they feel the bio to be an unfortunate by-product of capitalistic modes like chattel slavery.
Jess Curtis is an award-winning choreographer and performer committed to an art-making practice informed by experimentation, innovation, critical discourse and social relevance. He has created and performed multidisciplinary works throughout the U.S and Europe with the radical SF performance groups Contraband and CORE and the experimental French Circus company Cahin-Caha. In 2000, he founded his trans-continental performance company, Jess Curtis/Gravity. Curtis is active as a researcher, writer, teacher, advocate and community organizer in the fields of contemporary dance and performance. He holds an MFA in Choreography and a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of California at Davis.
Rachael Dichter is a San Francisco based dancer, performer, choreographer and curator. She works often with others and sometimes alone. She makes work about closeness. About the shortest distance and shortening the distance between things - between people. Having studied dance and art history at Mills College and was a 2015 Danceweb Scholar, a 2019 Artist in Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts, and 2017 Artist in Residence at Caldera and a recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Residency. Her work has shown locally and in Berlin, St Erme France, Cork, Portland, Seattle and she had been lucky to collaborate with a number of fierce and talented folks and for four years she co-curated the San Francisco based live arts festival THIS IS WHAT I WANT.
Samuel Hertz is a Berlin-based sound artist and researcher working at intersections of Earth-based sound, sonic sensualities, and climate change. Having studied composition with experimental music pioneers Pauline Oliveros, Fred Frith, Maggi Payne, and Zeena Parkins at the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College, Hertz works fluidly between the worlds of composed music for ensembles, electronic music and installation, performance, and film. Alongside his performances exists a strong research component based in Anthropocene studies and encompassing relationships between sound, geography, climate, and social ecologies. www.samhertzsound.com
Michiel Keuper is a Visual Composer. He juxtaposes forms, shapes, images, colors, and applies his vision on multi-disciplinary projects of various scale. He treasures the moment when single components add up, and create something new, something unexpected. Informed by his longtime background in fashion design, his work currently reaches from design to visual art and performance. Michiel graduated in fashion design from ArtEZ University of the Arts in Arnhem, the Netherlands. Around 2013, he picked up collaborating with choreographers and performers, as he had done early in his career. This time he extended his research to set designs and spatial concepts. Also, by designing costumes, he came back to working with the body, though now not merely from a fashion angle, but with additional emphasis on movement and improvisation. www.michielkeuper.com
Georgina Kleege teaches creative writing and disability studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Her recent books include: Sight Unseen (1999) and Blind Rage: Letters to Helen Keller (2006). Kleege’s latest book, More than Meets the Eye: What Blindness Brings to Art, (forthcoming in 2017) is concerned with blindness and visual art: how blindness is represented in art, how blindness affects the lives of visual artists, how museums can make visual art accessible to people who are blind and visually impaired. She has lectured and served as consultant to art institutions around the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Tate Modern in London.
Sophia Neises is a Berlin-based performer and teaching artist. In her artistic practice, she works with both “non-professional” performers and internationally acclaimed performance companies such as Zwoisy Mears Clarke and Jess Curtis/Gravity. She currently works as a teaching artist at Sophiensaele and as a project leader for Making a Difference, a program advancing cultural equity for disabled artists in Berlin’s dance scene. Neises is a visually impaired artist who is pushing the field of performing arts to recognize the necessity and value of diverse bodies in dance and theatre.
Alva Noë is a writer and a philosopher living in Berkeley and New York. He works on the nature of mind and human experience. He is the author of Action in Perception (MIT Press, 2004); Out of Our Heads (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2009); and Varieties of Presence (Harvard University Press, 2012); and Strange Tools (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2015). The central idea of these books is that consciousness is not something that happens inside us, or to us. He has been philosopher-in-residence with The Forsythe Company and has also collaborated with dance artists Deborah Hay, Nicole Peisl, Jess Curtis, Claire Cunningham, Katye Coe, and Charlie Morrissey. Alva is a 2012 recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and a former fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.
Gerald Pirner is a blind art critic, essayist, artist, photographer. He studied theater studies and philosophy. Since 1980 he was writing for newspapers about factory work and social fights. 1989 he went blind through retinitis pigmentosa. 1992 he did an apprenticeship as media documentalist and worked as lector. Since 2006 he was writing for Kultura extra, since 2014 “Gerald Pirner Texte zu Kunst” and websites with essays from the perspective of a blind on fine arts, theater, music and film. Since 2015 he is doing photographical work, portraits with the light painting technique.
Martin Sieweke aims to work with objects or materials by detaching them from their intentional usage working in a sculptural way rather than following a certain form or method. The material’s basic features such as texture, weight or color have a strong impact on his artistic research. He is involved in set and costume design of performance productions and currently based in Berlin.
Xenia Taniko is a Performer and Choreographer based in Berlin. Their artistic practice draws from cultures of collaboration and invests in building alternate communities that last. In their work they use physical intensity, props and other aesthetic means to speculate about human embodiment and its limitations. Since 2013 they regularly work with and for various international artists as Performer, Collaborator and Assistant. Their solo and collaborative works have been presented in Theaters and Galleries in Berlin, Leipzig, Amsterdam, Prague, Brussels, Luxembourg and New York, among others. Xenia studied Politics and Philosophy in Leipzig and Paris and is a 2016 graduate of HZT Berlin (BA Dance, Context, Choreography).
Tiffany Taylor is a performer, dancer and singer whose practice is informed by her blindness. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Adrian college and has studied at the University of Oxford. Tiffany is currently a member of the Berkeley Broadway Singers and has performed at Carnegie Hall. She is a Visual Access consultant for Gravity Access Services where she provides accessibility consultations for performers and venues wanting to make their materials accessible for people with Visual impairments. She is a graduate of the Hatlen Center for the Blind where she now teaches Braille to adults with vision loss to help them live independent lives. Tiffany is passionate about the intersectionality of disability and LGBT issues. She sits on the Youth Advisory Council for Youth Organizing Disabled and Proud that organizes and educates disabled youth to advocate for themselves in their community through community organizing campaigns and political activism.
Post-Show Discussion: Friday 19 July
Location: Studio 14 @ TanzFabrik Wedding
In the frame of Open Spaces/Sommer Tanz 2019
• Live Audio Description will be provided every night of the performances. A pre-show haptic access tour will take place before each performance one hour before the show starts. Please register: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 200 592 70
• TanzFabrik is a wheelchair accessible venue and there is a wheelchair accessible bathroom with grab bars
• DGS interpreted performance Fri 19 July with interpretation by Julia Cramer (www.juliacramer.com) watch our DGS video announcement here: https://vimeo.com/346964199
Funded by Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa des Landes Berlin, Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, San Francisco Arts Commission, The Fleishhacker Foundation, The Zellerbach Family Foundation, Grants for the Arts, and The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.