We checked in with Gracie Whyte and Laura Berg of WHYTEBERG about their brand new work as occurred, as recalled. The duo speaks about the flexible nature of memory and the audience’s role in live and media work.
What was the process like for developing this new work? Did your film Crumbs: Chinatown act as a springboard for material?
The process for as occurred, as recalled started separate from Crumbs: Chinatown, but it was a happy coincidence that the new work would take place in the same location. We had been sitting on a few songs that bought up distinct images with corresponding personal memories. From there, we talked about the idea of a false memory, wherein the act of revisiting a memory multiple times alters its reality. The concept was then to think about interesting ways to showcase these memories and distort them in varying degrees. In rehearsal, we worked with our dancers on creating movement that incorporates their own personal experiences and spirit to develop each section.
Can you talk a little bit about creating live performance work versus making dances for the camera?
We generally approach creating for both live and media work similarly. In the same way viral videos are short and succinct, we take into account an audience’s attention span and tend to create work that has quickly changing focal points. For our Crumbs series, we have one small idea per video, and for as occurred, as recalled, there are six short ideas under one umbrella of a concept. It’s like a six-course meal!
Your series of one-take dances, Crumbs, highlights different parts of LA. Environment seems like a crucial aspect of your work. How might the environment of Automata, particularly the live audience, shape as occurred, as recalled?
Utilizing Automata and it’s surrounding outdoor area in Chinatown allows for a constant shifting of the audiences’ perspective as well as a fresh landscape to create the scenes. The opportunity to provide a fully changed space links back to the palatability of the six-course meal we mentioned before.
It is interesting that this piece deals with memory–something that video and performance hold so differently. How do you feel memory operates in these two mediums and has this impacted your approach to the work, or even the choreography itself?
We want to give people a purpose to make the effort of seeing a live show, which, for us, means providing a space to have an experience that can only be felt in full if you are actually present. This then creates a personal, ever-evolving memory for the audience – a memory they cannot access through a more permanent platform and instead must rely on the recollection of its occurrence to experience it again and again.
If you had to describe as occurred, as recalled in three adjectives, what would they be?
youthful, nostalgic, cheeky
profile by Alana Reibstein
photo by Gema Galiana / La Mujer Tranvía
more LAX Festival: liveartsexchange.org