Move Along, Nothing to See Here (2018)
With collaborators Deandra McDonald, Hoshin Amara Hunt, and Edwina Herring. With major stage design and build contributions from Edward Thomas and Tom Elliott.
Commissioned by UVA’s Studio Arts Board for the public art festival Art in Odd Places, Move Along, Nothing to See Here is a performance installation that invited spectators to confront what’s hiding in plain sight–in people’s hearts and minds, in public space, and in the soil at UVA & downtown Charlottesville. It was a cross between tableau vivant, animatronic kids shows, and museum diorama. Atop a pedestal, three performers formed tableaux of the George Rogers Clark and Robert E. Lee Statues, transitioning between them in animatronic style meant to evoke the type of show you might see at Disney World. The performers’ song and dialogue examined the connection between the statues and the two pieces of land they occupy, through geologic, ecological, and cultural lenses. Like most shoddy animatronic shows, this one glitched and the audience was faced with the unexpected ghost in the machine. This short performance took place every half-hour at both festival locations.
I was motivated and inspired to create this piece for multiple reasons. There is a deep wound that’s been exposed during the racially motivated invasions of our town over the past year. As a community we are coming to terms with the deep roots of racism that created this town and ultimately led us to the events of August 11th & 12th. “Move Along…” is almost entirely focused on Charlottesville’s particular story. We challenge the idea that our statues represent history and therefore must be kept in place and intact. I am interested in the juxtaposition of women of color portraying colonizing war “heroes.” It is my hope that the casting and collaboration effectively allowed the audience to have a more visceral understanding of what is hidden or invisible in our community–from the geologic features to the erasure of documentation related to enslaved people at UVA and Native Americans here to the misrepresentation of history solidified in the statues. People here seem to be largely ignorant of the historical context of the statues and the significant role Charlottesville played in the Lost Cause movement and the rise of eugenics and the “one drop rule” engraved in the Racial Integrity Act of 1924. When we make human machines that glitch in this piece we embody the debate about “civility” and the “acceptable” expression of anger following a12.
I produced, curated, and performed in a series of short absurd “tedtalks” in my new micro venue CLOSER. Fellow tedtalkers: Miller Susen, Denise Stewart, Mendy StOurs, John Lawrence, Tony Lechmanski, Deb Arenstein, Ray Nedzel, and Dolly Joseph.
The Trick is Not to Mind It (2017)
For Let There Be Light at PVCC. I was a witch in an oven, burning, and serving food to anyone who dared open the oven. My friend Shawna Murphy was the witch “barker” atop the oven beckoning to folks to dare to meet me.
For Let There Be Light at PVCC. A looping site-specific performance in the woods, featuring 2 animals, a hospital bed, projections, and a clothesline. Performed by Miller Susen and myself.
While You Wait in the Dark (2014)
For the group exhibition “Let There Be Light” at Piedmont Virginia Community College, I installed my While You Wait building in the woods and programmed a group of puppeteers to present a show in the trees and climbing into the shack which was filled with snow.
Amateur Hour (2010)
Co-produced and created with the band Invisible Hand, we created a variety show for the Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville.
PEP colleague Sian Richards and I co-created a series at the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative which invited 3 artists a month from all disciplines to present to fellow artists on their process, seek advice, recruit assistants, etc.