Installation view, Liz Deschenes, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 2016. Photo by John Kennard. © Liz Deschenes
“[M]any of my photograms take on the rooms they’re exhibited in as a viewing device, where the viewers can actually see themselves seeing and can have a clearer understanding of the object’s construction—as well as of their own perception.” —Liz Deschenes
Inspired by Liz Deschenes’s photograms, choreographer Susan Sgorbati explores variations of light, color, and reflected image in seeing, being seen, being, a site-specific performance held within the exhibition Liz Deschenes. The work is performed by former Trisha Brown dancer Elena Demyanenko, with Sgorbati and Demyanenko collaborating to utilize fluid movement and evocative stillness to inspire new possibilities of reflection and perception among the reflective surfaces of Deschenes’s work. An ambient soundscape by composer Jon Kinzel accompanies the performance.
About the artists
Choreographer Susan Sgorbati created the form “emergent improvisation” through conversations with scientists: Nobel Prize–winner Gerald Edelman and MacArthur Fellow and “father of complexity” Stuart Kauffman. In 2013 she published a book titled Emergent Improvisation: Where Dance Meets Science on Spontaneous Composition. She is a professional mediator for the Vermont Human Rights Commission and is the Director of The Center for the Advancement of Public Action at Bennington College, where she has been on the dance faculty for 25 years and created the Conflict Resolution program.
Russian-born dancer Elena Demyanenko is a former member of both the Stephen Petronio Company (2003–2008) and the Trisha Brown Dance Company (2009–2012) and has been performing, teaching, and choreographing in New York since 2001. A graduate of the Academy of Theatrical Arts (Moscow), Elena received a Jerome Robbins Fellowship for the creation of the work Disparate Bodies with Joe Poulson at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in 2011. Her work Blue Room (2014), commissioned by New York Live Arts and premiered in collaboration with Dai Jian, was described by the New York Times as “luxurious” and “eloquently meticulous.” Also a maker of dance films, Elena was the recipient of a Dance Movies Commission from the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and was nominated for the Dance on Camera Jury Prize for her work on Kino Eye. Elena is currently on the Dance faculty at Bennington College.