Living in Phoenix is not necessarily the epitome of what cultural experience or similar brings to your life, but cultural expressions can be part of the harsh landscape, and as in the big capitals in the world…there is talent here, and tons of it! (Although, you may have to dig under the tough granite soil to reach it…)
Renowned artists and seasoned art professionals that are linked somehow to the world of arts (installation, photography, videography, make-up artistry, fashion, interior design & video) plus performing arts (dance, opera, music performance, modeling) are willing and able to make the difference.
They come forward to liberate themselves somehow within the highly respected, but multi-layer mechanism of art gallery and/or a public/private museum, by independently producing unique events such as an art performance which took place in Phoenix, Arizona on December 19th, 2012 called “Fabric + Space”.
Proudly, I was part of it and here in this window to the world of art, architecture, fashion and style through my eyes, I am bringing you, dear reader, the insight and some snippets of what an inspirational evening we witnessed.
I was called by interior designer/artist Ms. Janis Leonard to help curate and co-produce with local photographer Mr. Chris Loomis, an event where many disciplines of the world of art intertwined into a single night performance.
To give you an idea of how we conveyed the concept to the public, here is a video we prepared and published as a precursor to the event. There were challenges due to the uniqueness of the event in creating expectations, other than allowing the public to know who was involved, where it was located , and which day was the performance.
We had several rehearsals (and one bug meeting) with all players involved to ask questions, make comments or clarify expectations. The event was unscripted, we had three performances where our soprano had to sing, our muse would appear, our drums would sync with the environment, allowing the dancer to perform on a free style and something he called “contact-improv” – in which we needed the public to re-act to the actions of the dancer.
At the beginning, the project was one that I initially found difficult to grasp since there were so many disciplines combined, but the vision collected all around a common thread:
“To create the illusion and an experience of a place somewhere, sometime. An experience in the present, but most likely, in the future.”
The vacant third floor of the existing building in downtown Phoenix that once was a department store was chosen for the performance, and one that has a very high in architectural value to those who are fans of modern architecture. Hanny’s Restaurant in downtown Phoenix.
As I mentioned, the coordination was exciting and extensive:
– At our first meeting, we picked the upper floor, as it was the most interesting and more convenient for access and location.
– The landscape elements (dried tree trunks) were once part of the landscape of Ms. Leonard’s residence, and as heavy as they were, we transported them to a Ms. Galina Milaheva’s backyard and that’s where all started. (Location and layout had involvement from all members of the collaboration.)
– The tree trunks received metal elements (rods and nuts) to help stabilize them and to demonstrate the contrast of industrial intrusion on natural elements.
– The trunks were painted in a silver metallic tone to simulate that they were in process of being petrified on a cold environment.
– Branches found by Mr. Chris Loomis were also painted on a metallic tone to match the trees and play-off as part of the trees
– Fabric was cut in triangular shapes dictated by the artist and created a juxtaposition with the natural tree trunks and branches, and all the sewing and hemming done by Ms. Milaheva. The white color of the fabric was to chosen to allow the lighting to be the color in the room and to permit the blue lighting to make the space feel cold, lifeless, and ‘arctic’.
– The space was swept, cleaned, vacuumed and mopped to look pristine; Even though the environment was one to be abandoned, as it was found: vacant, abandoned, lifeless. It remained a simple empty envelope of a building with no décor.
– All essentials were transported to the location. We picked the landscape to be enclosed within four major columns and border them by just letting the branches rest on the floor as a barrier to the public.
– Three young models (art students) were the hostesses of the elevator to the third floor where the performance took place. They were attired with exceptional dresses made of paper from architectural blueprints – all designed by Ms. Galina Milaheva.
– As part of the set, a gown dressed designed by Ms. Galina Milaheva, was hung from the trusses as part of the installation, with the final function of being able to lower by winch when the soprano was performing. Some threads with paper twigs were hung giving the impression that the dress was falling apart and being disintegrated in space, due to the coldness.
– A videography montage was projected in a corner of the space with a sequence of human limbs and parts pushing trough the fabric and wanting to be liberated. (videography by Cory)
– The coloratura soprano & the muse were the only two human elements permissible in the installation, and they received make-up and garments designed to match the environment.
– Anna Vivette’s soaring soprano was to cut through the space and slice the silence. In performing one aria, the final goal was of her possession of the dress while filling the environment with sound. (Dress designed by Ms. Galina Milaheva; Make up by Anie Domme)
– Marlow DeVonne’s muse was to contrast the titillating human, tangible being, and her make up was designed with a particular “natural born being” look, to appear she had detached herself from the landscape and now she was a flowing entity in opposition to the sounds of the soprano.
– Background music of chimes, wind sounds, water droplets and echoes were played to fill the fourth dimension and to create a distant time and place. (Music by Chris Loomis)
– Drums by Mr. Ken Koshio brought a definite Japanese traditional influence and his extensive percussion announced the appearance of the two entities that took the space – the soprano and the muse.
– Free form or “Contact Improv” dancing by Mr. Yeong Wen Lee surrounded the entire presentation, as part of an undetermined movement art.
We elaborated timelines, managed install days, selected background music, tested several times, sound tested drum noise level rehearsals, practiced lighting run-throughs the day before, while we had deadlines for all participants, we just waited hours prior to make sure that the unscripted art performance happened…and then – the power failed!
Luckily, after several minutes of panic, we restored power within minutes and the performance kept on going unnoticeable to the public.
The following a video clip – taken by a spectator – is a visual journal that will try at it’s best to describe these moments – those thrilling moments when all the disciplines joined and the magic happened. Hopefully, it will provide a positive look into the result of such an elaborate production.
The moment when humanities blend in an environment and produce palpitations in oneself as witnessing the magic of arts.
Fabric + Space looked to break the stillness of an empty office space (once a department store) looking to fill it with the presence of inert sculptural natures that become kinetic as music, sounds, drums and a soprano voice travelling within the tri-dimensions.
Sounds of nature and projected images completed the effect, telling us all a story. A simple story that became yours while you became a witness of a simple moment – and at that time inert space became one and transformed into an experience, one in which the visitors will never forget!
Name; Fabric + Space © “a unique collaboration blending the use of space, sound, movement, fabric & projected imagery”
Location; Hanny’s downtown – (third floor) 40 North 1st Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004
When; December 19, 2012 – 7:00pm sharp
Invitation; Free to public
(DISCLAIMER: All ideas, photography, styling and media on this blog photography, written or video are exclusive for the use of Oscar De las salas under www.whatwouldoscardo.com blog. Any use, copy, crop/paste action, or any similarity of this material is strictly prohibited unless authorized by http://www.whatwouldoscardo.com or by Author. All Copy Rights laws for internet or media use are applicable. If you want, need or require any of this material for any reason please contact my agent – Always in style – Oscar.)