Hyde Park Art Center, the acclaimed non-profit contemporary art center located on Chicago’s vibrant South Side, has partnered with experimental dance company The Seldoms to announce a series of free weekly performances and talks in conjunction with the Toolbox @ Twenty exhibition. The unique multidisciplinary art installations, activated by new choreography, celebrate the group’s twenty years of performing in Chicago and around the world, September 24 – November 13, 2022.
Toolbox @ Twenty is a performative exhibition that features new collaborative works created by four pairs of dancers and visual artists who share their processes, techniques and values with each other. From this dialogue, the dancer identifies an essential word that underpins the visual artist’s practice, then translates it into a choreographic “tool” for use in generating movement and constructing a new dance. The four tools developed in this exhibition include: “split”, “mask”, “knot” and “bowerbirding” (building a nest from decorative objects). The dance pieces will be presented in the form of both live performances during the exhibition and recorded videos viewed in four art installations, including large paintings, a sound installation and a massive fiber fabric. Toolbox @ Twenty is curated by Carrie Henson, Artistic Director of The Seldoms, in collaboration with Alison Peters Quinn, Art Center Director of Exhibitions and Residency. The four visual artists—all Chicago-based, women with a presence of human movement in their media—were selected by Henson and Quinn to celebrate the female-led dance company.
The exhibition and associated free public program introduce four new dances: the Bower Dance, choreographed by Carrie Hanson and performed by The Seldoms Ensemble; DisKontinue choreographed and performed by Damon Green; Reroute en Route choreographed and performed by Maggie Vannucci; and KNOT IN choreographed and performed by Sarah Gonsiorowski. The series of free public programs featuring live dance performances and artist talks at the Art Center include:
Toolbox Dance Performances by The Seldoms
Saturday, September 24, 1:30 and 3:00 p.m
The exhibition opens with two sets of performances of the four new dances by the four dancer-artist pairings: Damon Green/Sadie Woods, Sarah Gonsiorowski/Jacqueline Surdell, Carrie Hanson/Edra Soto, and Maggie Vannucci/Jackie Kazarian.
Performance and conversation with choreographer Carrie Hanson and artist Edra Soto
Thursday, October 6, 6-7:30pm
After performing all four new dances, Hanson and Soto will discuss the process of generating the instrument “bowerbirding”: the dancer “builds” a dwelling around the body by drawing paths. The dwelling is informed by personal history/impulse and seems to surround the body. There is embellishment using pattern or decorative gestures.
“Bowerbirding” reflects Soto’s artwork and practice, which includes architectural patterns of rejas and quiebrasoles found in her native Puerto Rico. She makes immersive sculptural installations to explore the porous living nature of the domestic space. The word “tool” derives from the behavior of the Australian male buzzard, which decorates its nest with shells, feathers and other materials to attract females.
Hanson choreographed Bower Dance (2022), an ensemble piece inspired by and originally performed at Soto’s Screenhouse, an installation in Millennium Park. Filmed on location at the Screenhouse, the dance is seen and unfolds from multiple points of view, outside and inside the house, in the projection across the facade of the Art Centre.
Performance and conversation with dancer Damon Green and artist Sadie Woods
Saturday, October 15, 1:30 p.m
After performing the four new dances, Green and Woods will discuss the splice tool. The dancer stretches two concepts of movement by simultaneously or sequentially infusing more articulate movements between them. Dancers use “reproduction”, referring to a previous movement, and “cut”, releasing unnecessary details that do not fit into the context of the two main focal points.
Green defined the choreographic tool “splicing” by learning about Woods’ mixtape practice. The word “splicing” is a common term in the audio industry used to describe joining sound files or tape recordings together end to end. Woods’ sound collages often refer to historical themes and dialogues and transpose them into contemporary themes and dialogues. The brilliance of Wood’s practice is in her fine-tuning of the details of a spoken phrase or musical passage, making her work multi-layered and powerful. This performance is presented as part of Open House Chicago, a free public festival held at culturally, historically, and architecturally significant venues throughout the city.
Performance and conversation with dancer Maggie Vannucci and artist Jackie Kazarian
Thursday, October 20, 6:00-7:30 p.m
After the performance of the four new dances, Vannucci and Kazarian will discuss the mask instrument. The dancer plays with diverting the flow and cutting paths, frequently and quickly changing the intention in the movement quality of the direction. This tool draws the eye to the form, effort and order of movement and creates a multi-layered, complex field of action that also exists in Kazarian’s paintings. This tool is related to the Kazarian technique of masking, a process in which an area of a painting is “shielded” with liquid latex or tape and then painted over it. Jackie will later remove the latex or tape; the resulting effect is a sudden change in the passages of paint and a reorientation of the space, rhythm, pattern, or flow of the painting.
Vannucci’s Reroute En Route is accompanied this evening only by live music from composer Sima Cunningham.
Performance and conversation with dancer Sarah Gonsiorowski and artist Jacqueline Surdell
Thursday, November 3, 6-7:30pm
After performing all four dances, Gonsiorowski and Surdell will discuss the knot tool. Dancers play with repeating patterns that tighten as similar loops accumulate over time. The pattern does not go back and moves from unformed to tangled structures. In defining the choreographic tool of “knot tying”, Gonsiorowski was struck that Sardel’s paintings required intense physical labor by tying thick ropes and related materials. Her choreography is particularly inspired by the circling of Surdell’s latest works and how it intensifies the rhythm and effort.
Toolbox @ Twenty is the latest installment of Toolbox, an ongoing special project by The Seldoms, born out of an interdisciplinary exchange between visual and dance artists in Glasgow in July 2017 about how to translate visual art practice into choreographic, to challenge new tactics of dance creation and revitalization of choreographic practices.
Admission, hours and safety protocols related to COVID-19
Admission to the exhibition is free and walk-in. Masks are encouraged but not required to enter the building. Hyde Park Art Center views the health and safety of its community as its number one priority and uses city and state guidelines to inform its safety protocols. For the latest exhibit hours and COVID policies, visit https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2195768®id=23&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.hydeparkart.org?utm_source= BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign =article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1/plan-your-visit/.