Series of 3-hour performances
Created with and performed by Bradley Teal Ellis &
David Rafael Botana
Socrates Sculpture Park, NY
Vox Populi, Philadelphia
National Academy Museum, NY
I <3 NY Performance Series,
Fire Island, NY
Two men, who are also a couple in real life, move upon a large canvas over the course of three hours. They start clean; as paint drips from their uniforms and they make contact, color moves from body to body. The choreography of the piece, improvised from a score created collaboratively during several months of intensive dialogue, both mirrors and distorts the real life dynamics between the two men. Their movements shift from athletic to dance-like, from fast to slow, from tender to violent.
Interview with J. Louise Makary, Bradley Teal Ellis, David Rafael Botana, & Jonathan VanDyke:
JLM: Jonathan, in the studio you told the dancers, "Think about using the whole canvas, but don't worry about what marks you are making with the paint.
JVD: With the mark–making, it's like any work of art, you become too self-conscious and you lose it. The paint gives you a task, and the dirtier you get, the less self-conscious you become.
DRB: The paint is just "there." If I start to worry about it, it becomes a different dance.
JLM: What's it like to look at the painting once it's done? On the floor, on the wall? When it's cut up, can you still feel any connection between what you did/experienced with the object?
BTE: Often dance as performance can be fleeting, ephemeral. The opportunity to make lasting, tangible objects through dance has been a revelation.
DRB: That's also a reason why I have an issue calling our project just dance.
JLM: This is abstracted from what the performance with bodies looks like. So it's an interesting kind of document. It makes something unseen more visible. Certain aspects of the movement get transcribed in traces and permanent gestures – that's something a viewer cannot get from watching time-based dance unfold in three-dimensional space.
BTE: I almost view it as evidence of myself: I exist. I've been here. This is a cave drawing. A scar.
☞ Video documentation of live performances, click below: