PMA March Final Friday

PMA March ’19 Final Friday Proposal

Marie Hinson / / 215-359-5074
updated 2/1/19

For the March Final Friday program, I am proposing two works, one existing and one new, both rooted in my practice that merges dance, film, poetry, site-specific staging and collaborative creation. Themes in my work around place-making, spirituality, embodiment and community could open exciting conversations with the museum’s architecture, gallery collection, and many audiences. I am excited for the possibilities of this dialog as it engages and centers my voice and body as a queer person of trans experience, non-extractible from and in concert with the diverse, multi-disciplinary, intergenerational, gender expansive voices of my collaborators.

still from The Road Through South Pass

The Road Through South Pass — short dance film

The existing proposed work is an expansive cinematic experience of the mountain landscapes of Wyoming through site-specific dance for camera called The Road Through South Pass. Just completed fall 2018, projecting this single-channel short film in the grand staircase could be its debut in full 4k resolution. The architecture of the stairway frames and positions an audience and institution in a dramatic relationship to the city. Likewise, the film dwells with and opens up ways in which western visual traditions frame place and land on a grand scale while entering into the effects and power these have in the intimate, embodied, and spiritual.

More about the film, screener link, and stills, below.

Stop on the object / move on the image — live performance

The second Stop on the object / move on the image, is a site-specific gallery performance of video projection, dance, poetry, and live score from a cross disciplinary, intergenerational, gender expansive, multi vocal collaborative of Philadelphia-based performing artists. Staged in the Brancusi gallery, the new work will be a direct response to and conversation with the sculptural works and the design of the gallery as they are transformed by live work and live audience.

Stop on the object / move on image will be intimate in scale compared to the projection of The Road Through South Pass. This difference, paired with their conceptual and stylistic similarities could draw an interesting dialog both as stand-alone works and between the two spaces they occupy and audiences they engage.

More about the proposal and collaborators below.

The proposed budget covers artist fee for development, writing, and filming of new work, fees of collaborators for the development, rehearsal and presentation of new performance work, as well as final sound mixing, color grading, and 4k finishing of existing film work. Download here.

Full Work Descriptions and Proposals

Stop on the object / move on the image

A site-specific gallery performance of video projection, dance, poetry, and live score from a cross disciplinary, intergenerational, gender expansive, multi vocal collaborative of Philadelphia-based performing artists.

The 45 minute performance will be staged in the Brancusi gallery with two dance and poetry sets bookending a meditative live score center. In the darkened gallery, video projected on the arched ceiling will fill the space with an undulating, flowing light scape. This effect both underlines the chapel-like shape of the room and establishes new vertical, ceiling-to-floor lines of audience alignment in contrast to the horizontal, wall-to-wall tendencies of a gallery.

ceiling projection lighting performance

The dance and poetry sets will be centered in the space, allowing an audience to move about the performance in the round, foregrounding body and movement in conversation with the figurative, otherworldly forms of the sculptures beyond. The score will be the oscillating, looped, warm tones of large tuning forks — simple, singular notes transformed into movement and growth by their introduction together in the reverberant room.

looped tuning fork score

The collaborators are Marie Hinson (filmmaker), Sekai’afua Zankel (poet), Laura Neuman (poet), and Meg Foley (choreographer), with intentions of including an additional collaborator in movement and dance. Each artist brings an expertise and excellence, not only in their craft of focus, but also meet in enthusiasm for creating multi-authored collaborative work that involves and builds community resulting in powerful sites of aesthetic, political, spiritual, emotional, and embodied action. All of the participants will probably enter shifting and overlapping roles as image-makers, performers, readers, dancers, and choreographers.

Laura Neuman (poet)
Laura Neuman is the author of Stop the Ocean (Stockport Flats 2014) and The Busy Life (Gazing Grain 2012). Her/their poems have appeared in Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Chax Press and Nightboat Books), and in the journals The Brooklyn Rail, EOAGH, small portions, Tinge, X Poetics, Fact-simile, La Norda Specialo, and The Encyclopedia Project. They live in Philadelphia and teach creative and critical writing and literature, variously, at Temple University, Community College of Philadelphia, and The College of New Jersey. The recipient of an award from The Fund for Poetry, they hold an M.F.A. from Bard College Milton Avery School of the Arts, and an M.A. in poetry from Temple University.

Meg Foley (choreographer)
Meg Foley is an educator, performer, and choreographer. Her work is rooted in a loving tumble with formalism in dance and what constitutes performance and is influenced by her identity as a queer artist and parent. She makes dances, events, and objects that explore the materiality of physical and social identity as choreographic form, with others. From 2012-2016 she danced daily at 3:15pm, culminating in a collective documentation and performance project with three collaborators: Action is Primary. Her work has been presented in performance and visual art venues in Philadelphia, NYC, Los Angeles, Canada, Germany, and Poland. She has received grants from Dancemakers Centre for Creation, Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Art Stary Browar, Polish Cultural Institute, University of the Arts, the Independence Foundation, and has been supported by a Foundation for Contemporary Art Emergency Grant. She sometimes teaches at University of the Arts and is creative co-director of The Whole Shebang, an arts space in South Philly.

Sekai’afua Zankel (poet)
Sekai’afua Zankel was born on the first day of spring, destined to be an artist-activist. Her activism came through her fifteen years of working as administrative assistant for Father Paul Washington at the Church of the Advocate, and Dr. Molefi Asante, at Temple University. She began acting at Freedom Theater, under the direction of the John E Allen Jr. and started writing and performing poetry as another way to have fun with words and what she calls a human revolution for the stage using dance and music. Sekai is author of Behind These Eyes /Optical Poems,  won the Frank Moore Poetry Prize in 2008 and the Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant in 2009 to present her poetry play, “Miss Pearl’s Spirit: In the Mysteries of Mirrors“, she performed “A Brighter Coming Day” 2011 as Frances W. Harper at Moonstone Arts Center, The African American Museum and Mother Bethel AME Church. Her poems have been published In the CAP literary magazine, “Poetry Ink”, 10, 11 14, and The December, 2013 Apiary #7.

Concept and Content
A main conceptual goal for the work is to bring the simplified, aestheticized, extracted forms of the Brancusi sculptures into conversation and possible conflict with the bodily, complicated, expansive, responsive, and non-extractible workings of site, performance, audience, and collaborative authorship.

Content of the video, poetry, and choreography in the piece would be created or selected in response to the site and sculptures. The video projection would be shots of the sculptures transformed into movement of light by pans, tilts, and lens effects. The poetry will have a focus on the act and sound of performance, text brought into presence and spatial alignment. The choreography would be partly improvisation, simultaneously shaped by and acting on the rhythms of the projections, readings and score.

Timeline and Organization
One day of filming on site, and recording/exploring score. A site visit with the collaborative team. Two days of rehearsal off site and one day of rehearsal the Monday before the performance onsite. Individual work would include writing, choreographic and movement work in response to the site visit. Marie will build the projection and recorded score. She will also serve as the project lead and organizer.

The Road Through South Pass 

The Road Through South Pass is a dreamy reimagining of the mountain landscapes of western Wyoming. Moving between documentary, dance, and scenic photography, seven short film poems wind their way through expansive sage-brush plains, picture perfect snow-capped peaks, and clean-lined frontier architecture. 

30 minutes, four dance sequences, three landscape sequences, 4k UHD Video, stereo sync audio

Artist Statement
Despite an appearance of openness, this part of Wyoming is tightly boundaried as it quickly becomes one of the most expensive and exclusive landscapes in the world. The film dwells on the lines both visible and invisible that we write into the land and through the land into our bodies.

Despite an appearance of openness, this part of Wyoming is tightly boundaried as it quickly becomes one of the most expensive and exclusive landscapes in the world. The film dwells on the lines both visible and invisible that we write into the land and through the land into our bodies.

Exploring western Wyoming was a way to move beyond my roots in the landscapes of Appalachia and the urban east coast. I grew up in the mountains of rural eastern Appalachia where I was raised in a white, evangelical homeschool community. I was taught to believe and act as if I were indigenous to the place. My family, as they would say, was “as old as the hills” here. But as an artist and a person of trans experience, leaving was a matter of survival.

These films are part of my ongoing to work to heal and reimagine my relationships to my body, land, community and place. They are an opportunity for reconsidering and coming to terms with the stories my people have written into the land about how we got there, who belongs in it and its separateness from our selves.

In The Road Through South Pass, I wanted to meet the land with two voices, through the body in four short dance sequences, and through the camera in three observational sequences.  The latter moves cautious: reflexively framing a window on the Teton mountainscape from a wildlife photographer’s home or gazing out in pleasure on expanses of warm color and light from a butte above a cowboy town.

The dance sequences open up a site of permeability between body and land. 

Choreographed on the open plains of South Pass, the immense path of migration for people and animals across the continental divide, it channels a restless energy counter to the stoic lines of the dance of sequences. Filmed in collaboration with Babs Case, Luke Zender, and Michaela Ellingson of Contemporary Dance Wyoming, the movement shifts between improvisation, joyful play, and poised gesture. At its site it also engages the historic Oregon trail route from which my white ancestors took over possession of the land and wrote a new set of lines and words into it. 

The intervening poetry between these sequences leads the way, a road through this search for rootedness, place, and a way home. I think a lot about one of my favorite filmmakers Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, from her book A Universe of Fragile Mirrors:

“The law says that space is organized in blocks of time. The law is organized in leagues, in miles, in systems, in keys, in meters, in bodies of water, and in lines.

The women say that you have to wake at dawn with the carrion birds and tear to pieces the word and the law in order to make the place a thing again.” 

I am interested in a new kind of placemaking — bodily, impermanent, fluid. These films remember the movement that brought us here, while giving form to the action of the lines that work on the land and our bodies to hold, erase, reframe, or rewrite.