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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
“Los Angeles artists are revolutionizing the game, and you need to start paying attention.” —Los Angeles Magazine
The FOURTH annual Live Arts Exchange / LAX Festival returns September 22–October 2, 2016!
We have an incredible festival lined up for you this year, with 8 featured projects and 44 performances made by dozens of artists based here in LA. Our program is a dynamic blend of contemporary dance, theater in new forms, experiential walks, video installations, new music/opera, puppets making sounds, and parties. Plus a brunch-time chat series to dive into concerns in contemporary performance in our city and our field, and a new late-night hub on the rooftop of the Ace Hotel.
Produced by Los Angeles Performance Practice, this year’s festival is made in collaboration with the Bootleg Theater, Automata, Metro Arts Presents, Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, 1333 Willow and the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands.
There’s so much to love—but we need your help to get it off the ground. By supporting the festival on Kickstarter, you’ll provide us with the critical support we need to in turn support local artists. In return, you’ll receive VIP access to events, discounted festival passes, and hot-off-the-press information about the projects and artists in this year’s lineup.
Help KICKSTART this year’s festival for some great rewards here: http://kck.st/2aUefAy
“A series featuring local artists who blur boundaries like nobody’s business.” —LA Weekly
The California Arts Council, a state agency, announced that it plans to award $56,000 to Automata Arts, in partnership with Los Angeles Performance Practice, as part of its Creative California Communities program. We are one of only forty-one grantees statewide for this program.
The Creative California Communities program supports collaborative projects that harness arts and culture as vehicles for creative placemaking. Supported projects represent the distinct character and quality of a community and present a vision for enhancing the social or economic livability of that community through the arts. Projects benefit residents and visitors to California’s communities by leveraging the assets of the creative sector (artists, cultural organizations and arts-related businesses) to address community needs or priorities. All projects are designed and developed by a nonprofit arts organization in collaboration with at least one partnering organization, and centralize California artists and their work in the project design and implementation.
Automata and Los Angeles Performance Practice will partner with the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, in addition to a handful of local businesses, to continue our launch of NEW/NET, a new creative development platform and resource for Los Angeles-based artists working in contemporary performance with robust programs in professional development, innovative shared audience engagement strategies, a web-based publishing platform, and economic infusion through direct opportunities for artists.
NEW/NET, as a platform, will provide creative residency support for the generation of new projects at Automata and CAP UCLA, in addition to other partnering sites. The platform will continue to hold Free Advice, a one-on-one consultation service for artists in the Los Angeles area hosted monthly at the Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, and will soon create a performance viewing club and a workshop series for creative and professional development, with sessions led by the Los Angeles Performance Practice producing team and established artists in the field.
Projects programmed as part of the upcoming Live Arts Exchange / LAX Festival, produced by Los Angeles Performance Project, will pilot new initiatives designed to provide context and online engagement for audiences interested in contemporary dance and performance. Online resources will become available in September.
“I am beyond thrilled to have the support of the California Arts Council in launching NEW/NET as a strategy to benefit dozens of artists working in performance in Los Angeles,” said Miranda Wright, Executive Director of Los Angeles Performance Practice.
“This is a unique opportunity for me to fuse artist-centered programs at Automata and Los Angeles Performance Practice, and to further our existing relationship with CAP UCLA, where I have been the Curatorial Artist in Residence for the past year. It is without question that artists in Los Angeles need and deserve an enhanced infrastructure for the generation of work that is reflective of our contemporary society, which is often marred by tragedy, as they create opportunities for all of us to gather together for a shared creative experience.”
The news of Automata’s grant was featured as part of a larger announcement from the California Arts Council, which can be viewed online at http://arts.ca.gov/news/pressreleases.php.
“California Arts Council grants provide vital support for projects in diverse communities across our state,” said Craig Watson, Director of the California Arts Council. “This was an historic year of state arts support. We are proud to invest more than $8.5 million in funding 712 grant projects that will stimulate local growth and prosperity, and meet the needs of our communities through deep engagement with culture and creative expression.”
The California Arts Council will continue to grow the reach of its programs in the coming year, as the result of a significant one-time state arts funding increase for 2016-17 announced last week.
Automata is a non-profit organization in the Chinatown District of Los Angeles, dedicated to the creation, incubation, and presentation of experimental puppet theater, experimental film, and other contemporary art practices centered on ideas of artifice and performing objects. Automata stands at the fulcrum points between objects and performance, artifacts and ephemera, magic and mechanics, artifice and interface. Automata creates and nurtures new work that is engaged in cutting edge art practices, and in deep conversation with our contemporary culture of simulation and mimicry while embracing the aura of the handmade and hand-operated. www.automata-la.org
Los Angeles Performance Practice is a producing organization and artists’ network dedicated to supporting Los Angeles’ unique contemporary performance community. It is comprised of independent artists and companies who create groundbreaking theatrical experiences through innovative approaches to collaboration, technology, and social engagement. LAPP serves artists through three key programs: selective project producing & management, the annual Live Arts Exchange (LAX) Festival, and NEW/NET, an artist and audience development platform. www.losangelesperformancepracice.org www.liveartsexchange.org
The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California’s diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services. Learn more at www.arts.ca.gov.
Lars Jan/Early Morning Opera’s latest theatrical work, The Institute of Memory (TIMe) will wander up the West coast next year for a presentation at Seattle’s On The Boards! Performances are confirmed for April 20-23, 2017. It’s never too early to book your flight…
On the Boards is thrilled to announce our 16/17 Subscription Series. From magic mushrooms, to racially-charged, physical stand-up comedy, to the Americana of shape-note singing, to a beautifully strange love duet with an excavator, this season is packed with intellectual and corporeal challenges and delights.
We continue our mission of innovation, equity, and artistic growth this year with continuation of programs designed to build bridges across communities, including the Ticket Bank, the Ambassador Project, Childcare, Studio Suppers,Open Studio, OntheBoards.tv, Performance Production Program, Music, and more.
OtB is known internationally for our constant innovation and stability as our national and global landscape changes, and we plan to keep it that way. See you in 16/17. ontheboards.org