Looking Forward, Looking Back: Urbanity Dance and Alexander Davis
This week we’re excited to partner with Urbanity Dance’s Choreography Intensive, a week-long immersive experience for emerging choreographers who want to dig into their craft and explore their artistic voice. Alexander Davis, whose experimental performance electrified the gallery in June 2019, directs Urbanity’s Summer Choreographer Intensive Program. Alex has chosen emerging choreographer Morgan Brockmiller to create a site-specific dance within the gallery.
Morgan is excited to work in a non-traditional space, and has created ‘Floating Recollections’, in part as a reflection on the paintings of floating buildings by Tracy Harmon-Hay. Morgan sees the house as a repository of memories; the foundation is there, but the structure is floating, The painting is simple and spare but there’s so much in it that can be discovered or imagined. Morgan, working with dancers Joy Holder, Cadence Rosenblum and Stefania Yee, has chosen music that is lyrical yet emotionally ambiguous.
Looking Back: Unspooling with Alexander Davis Dance
by Marygrace Gladden
On June the 19th around 7:10 PM, Fountain Street’s lights went out as Alexander Davis, Jeremy Stewart, and Ryan Edwards came alive. Mixing their mediums of dance, projection art and sound, they performed against the backdrop of Fountain Street’s June exhibition, Unspooled. Unspooled featured Sylvia Vander Sluis’ woven soft sculptures and Joel Moskowitz’s continuous line drawings and collages. The performance imitated the works of Joel and Sylvia and allowed the audience to further see the connections between the two artists’ work.
Alexander Davis is a renowned choreographer and fiber artist. Watching him combine his two mediums on the floor of the gallery was stunning. Starting by taking off his all-black outfit, which he then folded neatly and put on the floor, he stripped down to nude dancer shorts. He then seemed to disappear into the space. He proceeds to dress himself in his white, hand-crocheted sculpture with holes of many different sizes. Putting his legs in first, Alexander scrunches his body and expands his all-white sculpture until they are one.
Jeremy Stewart, a multimedia artist, projected abstractions of and actual footage from RuPaul’s Drag Race onto the walls behind Alexander. Jeremy uses Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) software as a collaborator to make abstractions of other forms of media. By letting his coded A.I. watch TV for five and a half weeks, it creates content based on what it sees - this time it was only influenced by RuPaul’s Drag Race. The visuals that seemed to imitate a lava lamp were displayed on a screen and projected on the walls of the gallery. Occasionally the projections would fall onto Alexander’s form, absorbed in his white sculpture, and create an entirely new form all on its own.
Meanwhile, composer Ryan Edwards used a Kalimba and a microphone to create mesmerizing, repetitive sounds. By knocking on the wood of the instrument, or playing notes with it, Ryan created the perfect soundtrack to this thought-provoking performance.
During the performance, both Jeremy and Alexander performed monologues. Jeremy read about technology and how the media sometimes skews the truth by putting a lens on reality, while Alexander dove deeper and spoke about his own personal life and the way in which the LGBTQ+ community is seen in society.
This was an experiment and something that none of the performers had done before, which is why Fountain Street was so open to hosting the event. One of Fountain Street’s priorities is experimenting and trying different things for the sake of creating something original. Seeing the similarities between the elements of the performance and the work on the wall come to life during the duration of the night was amazing. The continuous lines in Joel’s work correlated to the continuous movements and sounds. Alexander’s body emulated the work from Sylvia’s Pelvis Series which was hanging next to him.
After the performance, Davis and exhibiting artists Joel Moskowitz & Sylvia Vander Sluis held an open conversation with the audience, where they talked about their ways of working, their choices of materials, and the meaning and power of creation and experimentation.