Georgia Clark

Up in the Air
At the Air Festival 2010, four artists-in-residence at BAX explore diverse new ideas crafted after a fruitful year of development.

Air Festival
The Theater @ BAX, 421 Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn and The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, Manhattan
April 9th – Sunday May 2nd, various performance dates and times
Tickets, schedule and reservations:

For the past year, four experimental artists have been exploring and crafting innovative new work as Artists-in-Residence at BAX/ Brooklyn Arts Exchange. Each resident is awarded 200 hours of prioritised rehearsal space, a $1,000 stipend, and ongoing meetings and open rehearsals with BAX staff. As a result, the four performers had the luxury of both time and space to take risks, explore intuitive ideas, and work outside their comfort zones, all within a structured year of ongoing support. Now, over April and May, they present their work to the public in the Air Festival 2010. We spoke to the four artists about this highly supportive program and the new work they ended up creating.

Q. Briefly, describe your own artistic practice.

A. Luciana Achugar (dance): I make dances that question a "civilized" standard of beauty and way of being in the body that assume the carnal and visceral is of a lesser kind than the mind.

A. Abigail Browde (theater): I'd say my "artistic practice" involves about 15 percent daydreaming, 15 percent eavesdropping, 10 percent youtubing, 10 percent showing off, 10 percent hiding, 10 percent writing, 10 percent memorizing things, 10 percent freaking out, and 5 percent scheduling, 5 percent procrastinating. (Is that 100?)

Jennie MaryTai Liu's experimental new dance work, "Lands and Peoples", explores the concept of heartbreak. Photo by Iam Douglas.

A. Jennie MaryTai Li (dance): I'm interested in the extra-ordinary mystery that entwines around everyday experience. It's a process of weaving together bits of narrative and drama, chunks of dancing and song to make something that lies at the crossroads of bewilderment and deep familiarity.

A. Victoria Libertore (theater): It tends to involve a lot of crying and sleeping… I'm only partially kidding. My artistic practice includes a lot of archetypal energy work to help me create and a lot of practical, logistical thinking and then editing to make sure I'm telling a coherent story.

Q. Describe your new work, and why these ideas and themes are of interest to you.

A. Luciana Achugar: "Puro Deseo" explores ideas of mystery and transformation in the theatre and the body. The piece addresses the fact that the audience comes into the theatre with certain expectations and tries to stretch them out in time as much as possible by creating a sense of suspense and mystery about what is to come. Also in this piece, I am playing with the idea of fantasy - of putting a spell on the audience and how that relates to an internal sense of power and magic that lives within the performer/dancer's body.

A. Abigail Browde: "Thangks For Nothin" is a meditation on things-done-badly; on how to put on a play; an analysis of skill. At the moment it exists in three separate, distal acts. A lot of the performance is created through imitation: the text comes from interviews I conducted, and from a Michael Caine video.

A. Jennie MaryTai Liu: "Lands and Peoples" is a multi-year, multi-format project that in this incarnation uses choreography and deep play to investigate perspectives on the notion of heartbreak. Heartbreak disguises itself as a conversation about tradition or culture, the troubled notion of 'home' and family, and the death or loss of all of these things.

A. Victoria Libertore: "Girl Meat" is about Countess Elizabeth Bathory who was allegedly the most prolific female serial killer in history. She apparently killed over 600 girls and drank their blood. She was a crazy sadist from what I've read. A theme in my work is to explore 'less-acceptable' aspects of our world and see if I can find the humanity in them. I'm also interested in how violence against women is still so sensationalized and sexualized.

Q. Did the other artists affect your work in any way? If not, what was it like having them around you while you created?
luciana achugar: The other artists in this Residency affected me in how passionately they approached their projects. I felt a sense of kinship at times during this process.

A. Abigail Browde: Oh, absolutely. My collaborators/performers Marisa and Kate are just brilliant at saying yes to my dumb ideas and selfless at contributing their own (less dumb) suggestions and thoughts. I am in awe of them for this. They hold me to things, so I don't discard things too early, and so they help this piece move forward. And having the other AIRs for support is truly invaluable.

A. Jennie MaryTai Liu: We're all at different moments in our lives and careers, but making experimental performance in New York City right now is pretty universal, so we have a lot of common hopes, fears, problems.

A. Victoria Libertore: I've been most impacted by the other artists in just hearing about their processes, their challenges, watching their development and knowing that I'm not alone in this big, 'ole city as I make my way as a performing artist.

BAX are now accepting applications for the 2010/11 Artist In Residence and Space Grant programs. Interested dance and theater artists can download guidelines/applications from


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