PERFORMANCE RESEARCH EXPERIMENT #2.2
PERFORMANCE RESEARCH EXPERIMENT #2.2
Performance Research Experiment #2.2 is a full-evening, interactive performance/experiment mixing contemporary dance, circus, performance art, live music and science. Creator/performers Jess Curtis and Jörg Müller along with French media artist Yoann Trellu, examine the relationships of live art and science to the body and culture. The evening is constructed of 17 performance actions that are presented while measuring and projecting data from specific physical reactions (heart rates and skin conductivity) of selected audience members into the performance.
What does performance provoke in an audience?
At times witty, intense, surreal, and beautiful, audiences witness a rigorous yet personal examination of the impact of performance—as well as the sometimes confounding paradoxes that only the human heart seems capable of producing—all as they experience the collection and on-stage streaming of quantifiable data in real time that measures the physiological responses of volunteer ‘test subject’ audience members. Thus without setting a foot onstage the audience itself, either by being measured, or comparing themselves to those who are, become part of the machinery that moves the performance. On the science side, PRE #2 was developed in collaboration with neuroscientist Dr. Ida Mommenejad (Princeton) as “scienturge, ”Berlin dramaturge Mira Moschallski. and a host of consultants including Dr. Joe Dumit, (Science and Technology Studies, UC Davis), and Evan Buswell (Data/Cultural Studies, UC Davis)
PRE #2.2 furthers the work that Curtis and Müller began in 2006 in Performance Research Experiment #1. In that critically and popularly acclaimed work, audience members self-reported on their own levels of engagement with a variety of virtuosic performance events, thereby determining the length of each section of the piece. While the team’s use of a simple self-reporting survey was admittedly rudimentary (and also quite openly performed with a large dose of irony), the central fact remains that involving a direct feedback from the audience had a dynamic, consequential impact in the shaping of each performance of the work. At heart, PRE #1 was a simple but scientifically sound experiment.
In PRE #2.2, Curtis and Müller further the dialog between scientific and artistic ways of knowing, intensifying their explorations in both modes, and forcing the collaboration/collision between them.
After having been developed in residencies in San Francisco and UC Davis in California, in Berlin and Stolzenhagen,Germany, the work was premiered in January of 2014 in San Francisco and is now available for touring in 2015.
Jess Curtis has created a body of work ranging from the underground extremes of Mission District Warehouses with Contraband and CORE (1985-1998) to the formal refinement and exuberance of European State Theaters and Circus Tents with Compagnie Cahin-Caha (1992-2002) and Jess Curtis/Gravity (2000-present). Along with numerous fellowships and funding awards, his work has been recognized with the prestigious 2011 Alpert Award in the Arts for choreography, a total of six Isadora Duncan Dance awards, the 2011 Homer Avila Award for Physically Diverse Dance, and a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Curtis teaches Dance, Contact Improvisation, and Interdisciplinary Performance throughout the US and Europe and is currently a Ph.D candidate in Performance Studies at the University of California at Davis focusing on embodiment and performativity in movement-based performance.
Jörg Müller graduated from the Centre National des Arts du Cirque in Chalons-en-Champagne in 1994. While there he created “mobile,” a movement/manipulation work utilizing suspended resonant tubes. His most recent tube work, “noustube” (2008), invited several artists to create performances in a 9-ft tall glass tube filled with water. As a circus artist he has toured with Cirque Plume, Compagnie Cahin-Caha, Martin Schwietzke, and Compagnie Anomalie. Jörg has worked with many choreographers, including Pierre Doussaint, François Verret, Haim Adri, Kitsou Dubois, Julie Nioche, and Jess Curtis.
Ida Momennejad (neuroscientist) received her Master’s degree in the history and philosophy of science from Utrecht University (Netherlands), and completed her PhD at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain. Empirically, Ida uses pattern classification and fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging, which looks at blood flow in the brain to detect areas of activity) to study the neural mechanisms that store future intentions. She has collaborated with artists on many projects, including “Mafia, God, and the Citizens: a Collective Memory” (with Azin Feizabadi), “Seeing with Eyes Closed” (Ivana Franke), and “Sound/Space/Body: A Process” (Louise Wagner.)
Yoann Trellu lives and works in Berlin as a multi-disciplinary video artist active in the fields of visual arts, video production and media programming. Since 2003 he has worked with numerous musicians, performers and directors in Europe, USA and Asia on more than 30 productions. Trellu works with the idea of graphical narration to communicate feelings, and is mainly interested in ‘moments’; brief every day events/situations. Trellu also builds “creative machines” (software) to see / experiment with things we could never imagine through the intervention of automated, randomized processes of the machine. He likes the idea of using the computer as a creative partner not just as a tool.