I often start a new series. Never quite knowing their origins, or where they will lead me. Several series that I have developed, such as Post Canvas and Paint, Data Complexes, Variations, Rewind and Remixes are just that: Endless conceptual ideologies of ambiguities in form and structure, that for the most part, have emerged from past artistic influences. Every new work builds on something from the past: An exhibit here. A performance there. A poet’s word softly translated. An image seared in memory. Newly discovered places … deep dark places and beautiful heavens. And of course, there is the reflection in the mirror and memories behind everything. I enjoy working from my past. It seems at times to be all I know. So in this series of Variations, Rewind and Remixes, I will simply re-examine my catalog of artistic influences in a new way. Back in 2011, I created several posts under the title “In the Reflective Mirror | Various Artistic Influences”, and asked the question … When searching for meaning in a catalogue of artistic events, does one art form influence another? And I can say, that in both a direct and subliminal manner, that it does indeed influence the way I see and create art.
Below are links to several of those earlier posts.
The day on the beach brought back memories of beautiful times gone by: She the choreographer and dancer, and he the artist and filmmaker. Together they drifted back to the beginning of their artistic dreams. Fused with the technology of the post-modern world and the collective mindset of a creative construct, they forged ahead into the unknown: History has a way of repeating itself. What is old is new. The same as it ever was. Forever and a day.
I am a strong admirer of dance and modern dance in particular. And most notably Bill T. Jones, who has always been at the forefront of the discipline. He is an immensely creative and provocative choreographer, artistic director and dancer. I had the pleasure this evening of watching American Masters on PBS, and the featuring of “A Good Man”– Bill T. Jones and his examination of the life of President Lincoln and his new piece “The Ghost Train”. Listening to Jones’ pondering on creativity; the social, political, and psychological constructs that form his art, I was deeply inspired. It led me to my previous post on the idea of artists giving voice to their vision. This is a night of celebrating ideas, voice and Bill T. Jones.
http://youtu.be/Dg4a5RiAed8 – Bill T. Jones – As I Was Saying
http://youtu.be/ag5cSZcKp1g – Toronto Dance: Bill T. Jones – Chapel/Chapter
Bill T. Jones (born February 15, 1952) is an American artistic director, choreographer and dancer.
Jones was born in Bunnell, Florida and his family moved North as part of the Great Migration in the first half of the twentieth century. They settled in Wayland, New York, where Jones attended Wayland High School. He began his dance training at Binghamton University, where he studied classical ballet and modern dance.
Jones choreographed and performed worldwide as a soloist and duet company with his late partner, Arnie Zane before forming the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1982.
Creating more than 100 works for his own company, Jones has also choreographed for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, AXIS Dance Company, Boston Ballet, Lyon Opera Ballet, Berlin Opera Ballet and Diversions Dance Company, among others. In 1995, Jones directed and performed in a collaborative work with Toni Morrison and Max Roach, Degga, at Alice Tully Hall, commissioned by Lincoln Center’s “Serious Fun” Festival. His collaboration with Jessye Norman, How! Do! We! Do!, premiered at New York’s City Center in 1999.
In 1990, Jones choreographed Sir Michael Tippett’s New Year under the direction of Sir Peter Hall for the Houston Grand Opera and the Glyndebourne Opera Festival. He conceived, co-directed and choreographed Mother of Three Sons, which was performed at the Munich Biennale, New York City Opera, and the Houston Grand Opera. He also directed Lost in the Stars for the Boston Lyric Opera. Jones’ theater involvement includes co-directing Perfect Courage with Rhodessa Jones for Festival 2000, in 1990. In 1994, he directed Derek Walcott’s Dream on Monkey Mountain for The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN.
Jones also collaborated with artist Keith Haring in 1982 to create a series of both performance and visual arts together.
Television credits include PBS’s “Great Performances” Series (Fever Swamp and Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin/The Promised Land) and “Alive from Off Center” (Untitled). Still/Here was co-directed for television by Bill T. Jones and Gretchen Bender. A PBS documentary on the making of Still/Here, by Bill Moyers and David Grubin, “Bill T. Jones: Still/Here with Bill Moyers”, premiered in 1997. The 1999 Blackside documentary I’ll Make Me a World: A Century of African-American Arts, profiled Jones’ work. D-Man in the Waters is included in “Free to Dance”, a 2001 Emmy winning documentary that chronicles modern dance’s African-American roots. Narrated by Jones himself, the BBC/VIEW also produced a documentary film, entitled Bill T. Jones: Dancing to the Promised Land, that documents the creation of Jones’s Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin/The Promised Land and guides us through the life, work, and creative process of Jones and the Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company.
Jones is the co-creator, director and choreographer of the musical Fela!, which ran Off-Broadway in 2008 and opened on Broadway in previews in October 2009. Jones won the Lucille Lortel Award as Outstanding Choreographer for his work as well as the Tony Award for Best Choreography.
In 1994, Jones received a MacArthur “Genius” Award. In 1979, Jones was granted the Creative Artists Public Service Award in Choreography, and in 1980, 1981 and 1982, he was the recipient of Choreographic Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Bill T. Jones has been awarded several New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie Awards”); 1986 Joyce Theater Season (along with Arnie Zane), D-Man in the Waters (1989 and 2001), The Table Project (2001) and The Breathing Show (2001). Mr. Jones, along with his collaborators, sister Rhodessa Jones and Idris Ackamoor, received an “Izzie Award” in Choreography for Perfect Courage in 1992. In 2001, Jones received another “Izzie” for his work, Fantasy in C-Major, with AXIS Dance Company. Jones was honored with the Dorothy B. Chandler Performing Arts Award for his innovative contributions to performing arts in 1991. In 1993, Jones was presented with the Dance Magazine Award. In 2000, The Dance Heritage Coalition named Jones “An Irreplaceable Dance Treasure.” Jones has received honorary doctorates from the Art Institute of Chicago, Bard College, Columbia College, the Juilliard School, Swarthmore College, and Yale University. He is also a recipient of the SUNY Binghamton Distinguished Alumni Award.
In 2003 Jones was awarded The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, one of the richest prizes in the arts, given annually to “a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.” In 2005 he received the Wexner Prize at the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University.
In 2007, he won the Tony award for Best Choreography for Spring Awakening.
Jones was named a 2007 USA Eileen Harris Norton Fellow and awarded a $50,000 grant by United States Artists, a public charity that supports and promotes the work of American artists.
Jones was inducted into the National Museum of Dance C.V. Whitney Hall of Fame in 2007.
In 2010, Jones won the Tony Award for Best Choreography for his work in Fela!.
He was one of five recipients for the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors.
Bill T Jones was the recipient of the 2011 YoungArts Arison Award which is given annually to an individual who has had a significant influence on the development of young American artists.
“Sometimes we turn the pages in the Book of Memories and come to remember the children who dream in future tense”…..
The Highwire Gallery production of The Fun House
workshop began in March 1991 at the Sayre Morris Community Center in West
Philadelphia and concluded with a performance in May. Funded by the PA Council
on the Arts, the goal was to bring together a group of children and introduce
them to the arts. Our focus would be on dance, performance, music and the visual
arts. Another important part of the workshop was for it to be a community
service, which merged different ethnic backgrounds and communities. For the
eleven girls who participated in the workshop, the hope was to inspire personal
challenges and the pursuit of their dreams. Everyone involved, the artists of
Highwire Gallery, the kids, Empress our musical director, Sandra Lynn our choreographer,
and “DADA” (Dancers Against Drug Abuse) met the challenge and worked hard to
make the program a huge success.
How do we encourage our children to dream, a dream that
inspires, enriches and motivates them to reach for the sky, and to touch just one of the millions of snowflakes that
can be found in the realm of possibilities? How do we lead them by the hand,
through the garden of hopes and dreams?
I think we do it one child at a time, one school at a time, one
project at a time, and as one community. Children love to discover, and be creative.
I strongly believe that the arts will provide them with the tools they will need for exploring their
imagination and giving birth to their dreams.
What do you feel is our children’s greatest need? What resources in our society would you like to see be provided for the well being and growth of our children? Do you believe that the arts, especially at a young age, is a vital tool for encouraging creative thinking and problem solving?
What do you think?
Select the link below for a dream-like journey into a contemporary child’s lullaby.
Winter Poem by Nikki Giovanni
once a snowflake fell
on my brow and i loved
it so much and i kissed
it and it was happy and called its cousins
and brothers and a web
of snow engulfed me then
i reached to love them all
and i squeezed them and they became
a spring rain and i stood perfectly
still and was a flower
— Author and poet Nikki Giovanni
From “The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni”
And last but not least in this journey of dreams…a short animation.
Day 9 of the 30-Day Song Challenge asks the question what is “a song that you can to dance to?
http://youtu.be/25jib_XbpUg Fate or Faith – Ror-Shak featuring Julee Cruise
It has been quite a while since I have been to a dance club. Most of my clubbing days existed back in Philadelphia and NYC. The 80’s and 90’s were the highlight of those late night / all nighters at raves, triphop and trance clubs. Bands like Everything but the Girl featuring Tracey Thorn, Massive Attack and Philly’s own King Britt were leading the triphop scene. Dj’s Tiesto and Paul Van Dyke were taking charge of the trance movement. Somewhere in between there were bands like Saint Etienne, Bent and my featured band for this challenge Ror-Shak featuring Julee Cruise (you might recall her haunting voice from David Lynch’s film Blue Velvet and TV’s Twin Peaks (Floating)). Here she gets down with the beat singing Fate or Faith and asks the question…who do you follow?
Enjoy the video, and find a dance partner tonight. Now if only they would bring back the club Emerald City.
day 01 – your favorite song – Stars of the Lid’s “Don’t Bother They’re Here”
day 02 – your least favorite song – Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”
day 03 – a song that makes you happy – Ivy’s – Edge of the Ocean
day 04 – a song that makes you sad – Trespassers Williams – Love You More
day 05 – a song that reminds you of someone – Trespassers Williams – Lie in the Sound
day 06 – a song that reminds you of somewhere – Isabelle Aubret – La Fanette
day 07 – a song that reminds you of a certain event – William Baskinski – The Disintegration Loops 1
day 08 – a song that you know all the words to – Philip Glass – Knee Play 1
day 09 – a song that you can dance to
http://youtu.be/rvSKJjCkVx0 Youtube video
In continuing the Post Canvas and Paint series, I am presenting a video piece entitled The Whipping Machine Acid Flex Dance Remix 1989 / 2010. It is a video art abstraction created as a video segment of The Whipping Machine, a multi-media performance of modern dance theatre performed at The Painted Bride Art Center in June of 1989 in Philadelphia. Utilizing the Amiga 1000 computer and multi-layering soft and hardware effects, I explore the pulsating ambient rhythm of marbled abstraction. In this segment the video represents the mesmerizing intoxication and manipulation by the industrial complex on the masses. Today I am posting this piece as a reflection of our current political and economic struggles.
Stay informed and stand up to tyranny and deception.
What do you expect from art? How does art feel when it is
found? Where do you find art? Can art be here but not there? Is art on the
street? Why is art beautiful? Is art beautiful only when seen? Does art answer philosophical
questions? Does your child make art knowingly? Is art around the corner from
where you live? Do you dine near art? Is art inside your home, but not on your
wall? Can art be lost? Does art have longevity and sustainability? Is art your
religion? Is point A to point B art? Is art in an industrial park or in a
trailer park or in the park? Is art mobile? Is art agile? Is art sensitive unto
itself? Is art fragile? Does art have emotions? Is art dead?
What is modern art? What is post-modern art? What is
impressionism? What is expressionism? What is conceptualism? Is art abstract?
Is art figurative? Is art delineated by isms? Is art an analog tape loop? Is
art a digital sequence? Is art a light reflected? Is art a moment in time? Is
art a movement in contrast? Is art a reality unknown? Can art be more than it appears? Is
art a collection of artists? Is art a contract? Can art be voided, misplaced or
oppressed? Does art need to be more? Does art save the day? Can art save when it
has failed? Will art survive when it is destroyed? Does art breathe? Will art breathe
in us? Is art under water, in the sky, in a mother’s womb, or found bathed in silence?
Does art give birth? Is art alive?
What do you think? Why ask questions about art?
In the meantime enjoy the slide show: In the Reflective
Mirror / Various Artistic Influences.
- The Whipping Machine, Collective Enterprises
Productions 1989, Painted Bride Art Center
- The Whipping Machine, Michael Davenport, Walter
Smith, Van Grimes 1989
- The Whipping Machine, Painted Bride Art Center, 1989
- Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music
- Molissa Fenley and Dancers, Geologic Moments: Next
Wave Festival 1986, original photo Marcus Leatherdale, digital remix Walter
- Critics Pick, Solo Exhibition, Computer Art, Villanova Art Gallery 2001, Walter Smith & First Friday,
Walter Smith, Robert Wulbrecht, Marita Fitzpatrick
- 2 Men 4 Walls 1 Month, Highwire Gallery 1991,
Walter Smith & Mark Stolte
- Eiko & Koma’s New Moon Stories: Next Wave
Festival 1986, original photo Marcus Leatherdale, digital remix Walter Smith
- Commodore Amiga Computer, Genesis of Computer Art 1985
- Michael Clark and Company: Next Wave Festival
1986, original photo Marcus Leatherdale
- Ash Ra Tempel, The Gatherings Concert Series, St Mary’s Church,
University of Pa.
- Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker: Next Wave Festival
1986, Brooklyn Academy of Music 1986
- Scenes from CIVIL warS, Act v – the Rome
section, by Robert Wilson and Philip Glass, original photo Peter Simon, digital
remix Walter Smith
- Steve Roach, Ambient Music, & Relache, Philadelphia Ensemble for Contemporary
- John Cage: Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn Academy
of Music 1986, photo Peter Hujar
- Life and Stolen Innocence, Walter Smith, Highwire
Gallery 1992, Philadelphia Pa
- Philip Glass: Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn
Academy of Music 1986, original photo Lynn Davis, digital remix Walter Smith
- Robert Wilson: Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn
Academy of Music 1986, original photo Peter Hujar, digital remix Walter Smith
- Impossible Theater Social Amnesia: Next Wave
Festival 1986, original photo by Erik Kvalsvik, digital remix Walter Smith
- Merce Cunningham’s Summerspace with scenery and costumes by Robert
Rauschenberg, original photo by Jack Mitchell, digital remix Walter Smith
- Post Canvas and Paint Series 10.13.2010.6:48.a.m.
Digital Artist, Walter Smith