Towers and Other Thoughts in Performance: A Fundraiser for Refugees in Gloucester
Wednesday March 29, 2017, 7:00 – 8:00pm
Floating Lotus, 169 Main Street / Gloucester MA 01930
Contact: Sarah Slifer Swift, TLAS-Director@tridentgallery.com, 978-394-5797
An art show and performance to benefit recently resettled refugee families in Gloucester will be held at Floating Lotus on Wednesday, March 29, 2017, from 7:00 to 8:00pm. Projected images of art from Susan Erony’s recent exhibition at Trident Gallery, Towers and Other Thoughts, will accompany a performance piece inspired by Erony’s art and produced by Trident Live Art Series Director Sarah Slifer Swift and Trident Gallery Director Matthew Swift.
Erony’s art, in turn, takes particular inspiration from Franz Kafka’s Parables and often includes hand-written text transcribed from Kafka’s writings. Erony writes that
Kafka’s words have always made me feel safe, because he clarifies the deep and complex natures of modernity and human behavior. He has helped me make sense of the world as a frustrating, absurd, but wondrous place.
Kafka retells and refers to the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel in several of his writings. Erony finds these writings particularly illuminating to our current socio-political climate:
The body of work in Towers and other Thoughts reflects … concerns about the human lack of understanding of each other, and even desire to try to understand. The Tower of Babel seemed a right theme for our times in America, when many people are screaming and few are listening.
Choreographer Sarah Slifer Swift has made a dance performance piece in response to both the Parables of Kafka and to Erony’s powerful imagery. The performance explores themes of division, unity, and ultimately the power and beauty of diversity through dance and sound. Matthew Swift has contributed textual imagery and performance elements. Visual art, dance, sound, and text come together as powerful intermedia experience appealing to all the senses. Slifer Swift says that
in the Tower of Babel, we have the story of how we all became refugees, going from a unity to being split apart by language and distance. In the performance, we take the perspective that the diversity that came from the split is not a weakness but a humble strength, our humanity.
Dance performers in the work are Reg Edmonds, Alison Fornes, Barbe Ennis-Abramo, Nome Graham, Jane Justice, Philip Story, Ziggy Hartfelder, and Sarah Slifer Swift. All the artists are donating their work to this event, and Floating Lotus is donating the use of their space as well as administrative assistance.
This event will provide an opportunity to learn more about the refugee families who have settled in Gloucester and how the community can support them. Peggy Russell, who heads the efforts to settle the refugees, will speak about the families, the work being done, and how people can help. Susan Erony will also speak about her work with the refugees and about the role of artists in political and community actions.
There is an ongoing fundraising effort to help with the costs of settling the families. At the event, there will be a place to make tax-deductible donations by check, payable to the WGTCC (West Gloucester Trinitarian Congregational Church) with “refugees” in the memo line. There is also a GoFundMe campaign online at https://www.gofundme.com/RefugeesGloucester.
Trident Live Arts Series presents performances by Monstah Black and Mx. Oops, and hosts Panel Discussion “The Political Body in Art”;accompanying visual art exhibition The Political Body opens at Trident Gallery
March 31 and April 1, 8:00pm
Panel Discussion: April 1, 4:00pm
Exhibition: March 31 through April 30
Trident Gallery, 189 Main Street / Gloucester MA
COST: $10 suggested donation for performances; panel discussion free; exhibition free
CONTACTS: Performances & Panel: Sarah Slifer Swift, TLAS-Director@tridentgallery.com, 978-394-5797 Exhibition: Matthew Swift, email@example.com, 978-491-7785
New York City performing artists Monstah Black and Mx. Oops come to Gloucester’s Trident Gallery for two nights of performance. Both performers will bring original solo intermedia works that combine dance, live music, and visual art elements to the Trident Live Art Series’ intimate performance setting. Both performance works (together about 60 minutes) will be shown at each performance evening. Seats for the performances may be reserved at http://trident.gallery/presents/the-political-body/.
A panel discussion entitled “The Political Body in Art” will be held at Trident Gallery on Saturday, April 1, at 4:00pm to discuss the relationships between art and politics, and how the body can be the vehicle for these interactions. Panelists will be visual artists Gabrielle Barzaghi, Nadine Boughton, and Susan Erony; Gloucester Stage Company Managing Director Jeff Zinn; musician 3rian King; and the visiting performers, Monstah Black and Mx. Oops. Trident Live Art Series Director Sarah Slifer Swift will moderate.
The first performance on March 31 coincides with the opening of the visual art exhibition The Political Body at Trident Gallery, showing visual art which engages with the political dimensions of the human body. Artists represented will include the three visual artists on the panel, other Trident Gallery artists, and artists not before shown at the Gallery. Exhibition hours on Saturday, April 1, are TBD. Exhibition hours from Sunday, April 2, through closing day Sunday, April 30 are Fri 12–7, Sat 10–7, Sun 10–5, Mon 12–5 and by appointment. Extended hours may be announced later, please check the gallery web site at TridentGallery.com.
Monstah Black will present Cotton, a dance film accompanied by live musical performance. The work investigates the idea of physical transformation as a source for healing and a means to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder passed on for generations through DNA. Black employs images from slavery as a point of departure, modifying the images into positive iconography to inspire and empower those that suffered and continue to suffer from its ugly legacy.
“It’s a matter of taking the historical facts from the ugly side of history, and then reshaping it for myself and others to achieve empowerment and affirmation,” Black says. “I’m taking the negative, adding magic and making fanciful, majestic, mythological, yet real.”
Black has performed at Art Basel Miami, The Whitney Annual Gala, The Smithsonian, Performa Biennial (NY), Joe’s Pub (NY), Dance New Amsterdam (NY), New York Live Arts, Movement Research (NY), Dixon Place (NY), and Lincoln Center Out Of Doors.
Mx. Oops will be performing excerpts from the work Carrying Capacity. Mixing elements of Vogue, Capoiera, and Yoga, Carrying Capacity is a dynamic exploration of embodiment. Mx. Oops tries on sometimes divergent ways of being to clumsily see which might fit. Sudden shifts from intimate, quiet moments to loud, erratic passages illuminate both questions of authenticity and mental health. A collage of personal experiences embrace confusion, defining terrains of shame and pleasure.
Mx. Oops, a transhuman, gender-bending, genre-bending, urban arts shaman is performed by Wendell Cooper. Founder of Complex Stability, Cooper creates interdisciplinary work with a focus on the intersection of urban arts and consciousness studies. Carrying Capacity premiered at The American Realness Festival in NYC this past January.
About Trident Gallery
Trident Gallery shows beautiful and intelligent contemporary art in all mediums, emphasizing the work of artists continuing Gloucester’s rich legacy as a center for new American Art. Gallery Director Dr. Matthew Swift curates and produces the exhibitions, drawing on over twenty years of multi-disciplinary scholarship, teaching, and creative exploration.
About the Trident Live Art Series
The Trident Live Art Series presents performances by seasoned professionals showing experimental and collaborative work in the intimate salon setting of the gallery. Live Art Series Director Sarah Slifer Swift curates and produces the performances, drawing on over twenty years of experience in the United States and abroad as a dance artist, choreographer, and producer.
About Trident Live Art Series performances
A $10 suggested donation compensates the artists. Performances of 30–45 minutes are followed by refreshments and informal conversation among guests and artists. (Note: The performances of The Political Body will be longer, about 60 minutes.)
Reservations are recommended. To reserve seats, please use the online RSVP form at the bottom of the event’s page on the Trident Gallery web site or contact the gallery. Unreserved guests are usually accommodated comfortably: they will be invited to occupy empty seats at the scheduled start time. When seats are fully occupied, standing room and sometimes floor seating are normally available.
If unforeseen circumstances require postponement or cancellation, notices will be posted on the gallery website and social media (Facebook and Twitter).
Founding support for the Live Art Series is provided by Trident Gallery, which furnishes the venue, provides publicity, and guarantees minimum compensation to the performing artists. Supplementary fiscal support in 2015, 2016, and 2017 has been provided by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.