This year marks the 10th anniversary of PICA's annual Time-Based Art festival (Sept 6-16), and the first year with new permanent artistic director Angela Mattox at the helm. I met with Mattox yesterday to discuss 2012's lineup, her approach to curating the festival, and her plans to expand PICA's year-round programming offerings; one thing that strongly emerged was a commitment to presenting artists at different points in their careers, as well as from different backgrounds. Consequently, it's a far more global lineup than we've seen in years past, with artists from the Balkans, the Congo, Japan, Mexico, and elsewhere. Maddox was also more willing than past artistic directors have been to discuss explicit themes in her programming, including resistance to oppression, the relationship between art and protest, and freedom of speech. Big names: Laurie Anderson, Miguel Gutierrez, Yo La Tengo.
Here's a charming video of one project, by Ant Hampton & Tim Etchells (of Forced Entertainment—we saw Sight Is the Sense the Sense that Dying People Tend to Lose First at TBA:08); it's a guided performance for two people at a time that'll take place in the Central Library:
Visual art and the late-night Works lineup have yet to be finalized; ditto venues, though my fingers are tightly crossed that the fest snags one more year at Washington High School. I'll post the full TBA:12 performance lineup after the jump, though bear in mind that it's the nature of contemporary art to sound ridiculous on paper.
BIG ART GROUP, THE PEOPLE—PORTLAND
With their unmistakable brand of transgressive internet-age aesthetics, Big Art Group broaches themes of democracy, justice, and community in an outdoor spectacle of theater and large-scale video projection. Blending real-time film, live actors, and a video “chorus” of interviews with a cross-section of Portlanders, The People—Portland forms a census of the city at this moment and pushes the formal boundaries of theater and film.
ANT HAMPTON & TIM ETCHELLS, THE QUIET VOLUME
THEATER, UK [US PREMIER]
A self-generated 'automatic' performance for two at a time, exploring the strange magic at the heart of reading. Taking cues from words both written and whispered through headphones, the two audience members/participants follow an unlikely path through a pile of books, as outlined by “autoteatro” pioneer Ant Hampton, and artist/writer Tim Etchells.
LAGARTIJAS TIRADAS AL SOL, EL RUMOR DEL INCENDIO & ASALTO AL AGUA TRANSPARENTE
THEATER, MEXICO [US PREMIER]
The young Mexican theater collective presents two politically-charged performances at TBA, blending documentary and drama. In El Rumor del Incendio, the company explores the history of their radical revolutionary forebears in 60s Mexico, reigniting the social critiques of an earlier generation. Asalto al Agua Transparente goes back even further in history, exploring the stark water issues of Lake Texcoco from the Aztec founding of Tenochitlan to the modern day Meixco-city.
MIGUEL GUTIERREZ, HEAVENS WHAT HAVE I DONE
One of the most provocative choreographers of the New York scene, Gutierrez weaves a rambling and comic monologue that unspools into a bold and ferocious dance. Set to music sung by renowned soprano Cecilia Bartoli, HEAVENS WHAT HAVE I DONE exposes the high personal stakes of artistic practice.
NORA CHIPAUMIRE, MIRIAM
DANCE, ZIMBABWE/US [WORLD PREMIER]
In MIRIAM, Zimbabwe-born, New York-based choreographer Nora Chipaumire creates a deeply personal dance featuring herself and dancer Okwui Okpokwasili. Taking her name from the mother of Jesus; the sister of Aaron and Moses; and the South African singer, activist, and icon Miriam Makeba, MIRIAM explores the tensions that women face between public expectations and private desires and the perfection and sacrifice of the feminine ideal.
KOTA YAMAZAKI/FLUID HUG-HUG, (GLOWING)
Famed butoh choreographer Kota Yamazaki has collaborated with six dancers from Japan, Senegal, Ethiopia, and the US on a new performance that blends traditional and avant-garde forms from across cultures. The work evokes classical Japanese aesthetics and the subtle interplay of light and shadow, as inspired by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki's famous essay "In Praise of Shadows.”
PERFORATIONS: NEW PERFORMANCE FROM THE BALKANS
Zvonimir Dubrović, founder of Perforacije and Queer Zagreb Festivals, has selected an evening of site-speciﬁc performance art from some Croatia and Serbia’s most provocative young artists. Writer and multimedia artist Biljana Kosmogina, performer Petra, and experimental music duo East Rodeo explore the contemporary issues of Balkan life and reveal the latest generation of artists from the region.
SAM GREEN & YO LA TENGO, THE LOVE SONG OF R. BUCKMINSTER FULLER
A “live documentary” from filmmaker Sam Green exploring futurist, architect, engineer, and inventor Buckminster Fuller’s utopian vision of radical social change through a design revolution. With a live score from experimental indie band Yo La Tengo, the film draws inspiration equally from old travelogues, the Benshi tradition, and internet TEDtalks.
GOB SQUAD, GOB’S SQUAD’S KITCHEN — YOU’VE NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD
Gob Squad takes a trip back to the underground cinemas of New York to re-create Andy Warhol’s Kitchen (along with Eat, Sleep, and Screen Test), a film that somehow encapsulated all of the hedonistic experimental energy of the swinging sixties. Live actors cross in and out of the films and audience.
CHELFITSCH, Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech
Three vignettes track the absurd and mundane stories of a group of office employees in this stylized performance from the renowned Japanese theater company chelfitsch. With a unique choreography derived from everyday gestures, the company references the social and cultural characteristics of today's Japan, not least of Tokyo, making distinctive mark on contemporary Japanese performance.
FAUSTIN LINYEKULA, LE CARGO
DANCE, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO [US PREMIER]
Legacy, forgetting, and memory form a confluence of forces in the work of choreographer Faustin Linyekula, whose performances are indelibly etched by the experiences of his home in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Linyekula bears witness through his dance to decades of war, terror, and fear, while also subverting the dominant image of contemporary Congo with one of resourcefulness and hope.
KEITH HENNESSY, TURBULENCE (A DANCE ABOUT THE ECONOMY)
DANCE, US [WORLD PREMIER]
Bay Area choreographer Keith Hennessy gathers an international ensemble cast to respond to the global economic crisis at the level of the dancing body. The work evolves through improvisation and collaboration; in Portland, a group of guest artists will join and de-stabilize the performance, offering new movements, images, and strategies that explore failure as practice, crisis as movement, and queer as tactic.
VOICES AND ECHOES FROM JAPAN
Acclaimed artist and musician Aki Onda has organized a rare concert from some of the pioneering forces of Japan’s avant-garde sound and music scene. Sound artist Akio Suzuki, experimental poet Gôzô Yoshimasu, and improvisatory guitarist/turntablist Otomo Yoshihide present a range of performances that cross between literature, sound art, music, and improvisation. Together, these ground-breaking artists will invite the audience to reconsider their relationship to sound and the act of listening.
LAURIE ANDERSON, DIRTDAY!
In honor of the tenth anniversary of the TBA Festival, legendary musician and artist Laurie Anderson performs Dirtday!, the third and final of her groundbreaking solo story works. With signature wit and candor, Anderson engages with the politics of the Occupy movement, theories of evolution, families, history, and animals in this riotous and soulful collection of songs and stories.
VISUAL ART AT THE TBA FESTIVAL
Visual Art Curator Kristan Kennedy has gathered together a group of international artists for End Things, a series of projects and residencies that reflect on “things”—why we make them, why we keep them, and their place in our lives. With an irreverent attitude toward the delineations between mediums, the participating artists shift easily between forms and exist in multiple states at the same time. End Things is work made for the End Times, for an auspicious year such as 2012 when we ask, “But what does it all mean?” Featuring new commissions and residency projects from Alex Cecchetti (Italy), Isabelle Cornaro (France), Claudia Meza (US), Morgan Ritter (US), and Erika Vogt (US).
TBA’s all-access, no-holds-barred, late-night social club returns for another year of exciting performance and music. From drag rap artists to toy-theater shows to a blacklight cooking demonstration, THE WORKS is a fertile stage for experimentation and raucous fun. Over beers and snacks from local food carts, it is the place to meet artists and other audiences and to debate and discuss all the art of the day. Including performances by Thu Tran & Food Party, Parenthetical Girls, BRAINSTORM, Alexis Blair Penney, David Commander, Laura Heit, CHRISTEENE, and more to be announced.