Medea is the Greek mythological character who kills her own children. Hers is a storyline that has so resonated with us that nearly every generation has had its own adaptation or interpretation of her. In her adaptation of the myth, Yara Travieso (2016 Performing Arts), does not provide the audience with one version, but a multiplicity of interpretations simultaneously. Her Creative Capital project,La Medea, premieres this weekend as part of PS122’s 2017 COIL Festival. True to the concept of multiplicity, there are a number of ways to experience the work: either live at BRIC on January 20-22, where the audience will watch and also take part in the making of the film; livestreamed online; or, eventually as a film produced by Dance Films Association. Amid preparing for the performance, Yara joined us at our offices to talk more about the project.
Alex Teplitzky: Ok, start with a run down of the project. What is La Medea?
Yara Travieso: La Medea is essentially a made-for-camera, Latin-disco, pop musical that is simultaneously a show, and a livestream feature film. It’s based on Euripides’ Greek tragedy of Medea. I’ve readapted, rewritten the work to fit inside a musical composed by Sam Crawford and to exist as a live-television special tell-all, all surrounding this one myth-character Medea. It’s a portrait of her more than anything else, and it takes on many forms: it’s a musical, it’s a dance-theater work, it’s a feature film, it’s a live-television special, it’s a concert. It takes on many lives.
Poster for “Sea of Common Catastrophe.” Photo by Melisa Cardona.
Jeff Becker is a director, designer and sculptor based in New Orleans—a fact important to note before reading about his Creative Capital project Sea of Common Catastrophe. The performance follows four companions as they wander through a continually changing landscape of upscale living and chic restaurants built upon the fragments of their own displaced communities. It’s not inspired by fantasy, but by Jeff’s own experiences and observations as he lived through Hurricane Katrina. The performance premieres in New Orleans in January and in February at 7 Stages in Atlanta, Georgia. We caught up with Jeff just as he was preparing to launch the performance.
Alex Teplitzky: Setting seems to be a huge inspiration for Sea of Common Catastrophe. Can you describe the setting of New Orleans and the personal state of mind you were in when you began creating this work?
Jeff Becker: New Orleans after Katrina was surreal in the truest sense of the word. Parts of the city clearly showed the devastation caused by the storm: cars haphazardly deposited on top of houses that had floated off their foundations and butted up against other homes in a bizarre traffic jam; people’s belongings were hanging in trees deposited there by the flood waters. In other parts of town where the water rose slowly, the effects were less pronounced; houses seemed intact, only displaying this ominous brown line at the same height that marked the level the flood waters.
Sanford Biggers works on a quilt for the MASS MoCA show in his Harlem studio
Sanford Biggers (2008 Visual Arts) is currently installing work from his Creative Capital-supported project, The Cartographer’s Conundrum, at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. This major solo exhibition, which opens February 4, is inspired by the Houston-based artist, scholar and Afro-futurist, John Biggers (1924–2001). A cousin of his subject, Sanford Biggers’s goal is to both study and expand the emerging genre of Afro-futurism, which engages science-fiction, cosmology and technology to create a new folklore of the African Diaspora. Simultaneously, Sanford hopes to illuminate John Biggers’s underrepresented career as a master painter and muralist. Continue reading →
NETnebraska feature on GIMP residency and performance at University of Nebraska (broadcast April 2011)
Last week, Heidi Latsky Dance presented their Creative Capital-supported dance project GIMP at the August Wilson Center in Pittsburgh. Jane Vranish of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote a a glowing, insightful review of the performance:
A “gimp” can be a lame person. But it can also be a ribbon-like fabric or a fighting spirit. It can also mean an uneven gait or the ability to turn, vacillate and tremble ecstatically. All of that was contained in “GIMP,” a Heidi Latsky Dance production that was presented by FISA in partnership with the Pittsburgh Dance Council and the August Wilson Center, where it was performed Saturday night. Continue reading →
Mark Shepard (2009 Emerging Fields), one of the five artists who presented with Creative Capital President Ruby Lerner at IdeaFestival in September, led a group of festival-goers on a meandering walk through downtown Louisville using the Serendipitor smart-phone app that he developed. Here’s Mark’s great description of the app: “In the near-future, finding our way from point A to point B will not be the problem. Maintaining consciousness of what happens along the way might be more difficult. Serendipitor is an alternative navigation app for the iPhone that helps you find something by looking for something else. Continue reading →