Concept + Direction: ReadyMaids (Anna Muselmann and Rachael Cleveland)
Performers: ReadyMaids + ensemble
*From Here will be performed twice on April 7th, 2017: at noon at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza or/and at 6:00 p.m. at Pro Arts Gallery.
In From Here, we explore the reclamation of the body in response to—and in resistance of—social expectation. By slowing down, speeding up, inverting, multiplying and unravelling learned patterns of movement, we will re-situate the everyday in order to examine the set of social codes and standards to which we physically acquiesce.
From Here is a two part piece; 1) a duet between two figures that communicate through an accumulation of everyday gestures and explore what subtle (and not so subtle) distortion reveals about social expectation and performance; 2) an ensemble piece that re-expresses this material through repetition, accumulation, and permutation to resurrect a notion of collective meaning.
In Detournement as Negation and Prelude Guy Debord describes the predicament of creative and political expression in an era when “we find ourselves confronted with both the urgent necessity and the near impossibility of bringing together and carrying out a totally innovative collective action” (Internationale Situationniste #3, December 1959. Pp.56). Rather than succumbing to this impasse, the Situationists adopted the method of detournement (“to reroute” or “to hijack,” in French), a process of decontextualizing known elements (e.g. common slogans, images, actions, and sounds) and recontextualizing them in new orientations, locations, and formations to create new meanings—to make the familiar strange.
Both playful and subversive, this rearranging of the familiar has the potential to disrupt patterns of everyday life. While the Situationists primarily engaged in detournement on a public/societal scale (dérive, psychogeography), its meaning resonated at the scale of the personal/intimate/sensual body. The common, the general, and the dispersed became personal, specific, and focused.
Today, we are faced with the same urgency of collective action; as divisive as our differences may be, there is an empathy that persists: we are all beings of desire, fear, hunger, hope, and love. We are also, in a social context, political bodies: every movement we make—or do not make—is an illustration of learned behavior, a reproduction of social expectation. So to produce new relationships to ourselves and to each other, and to create space for the strange, unknown, and uncertain, is to produce a new understanding of politics.
ReadyMaids is an Oakland-based performance duo working in dance and site specific installation. As co-choreographers and dancers, Anna Muselmann and Rachael Cleveland build work that foregrounds process, creating new vocabularies for performance that draw from improvisation, dance, clowning, and theater. Their work responds to the specific character of place and they have performed in a range of settings including underground tunnels, public parks, rooftops, parking lots, galleries and performance spaces around the Bay Area. They are currently investigating modes of animal embodiment and human social behavior, and plan to go on tour in early 2017.
Pro Arts’ The New Situationists program is made possible with a generous grant from The Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation.