Prison has a lot of politics. Art was a neutral zone and a way to express the human emotions that both I and the other inmates were feeling… I’d love to meet other artists and find out what’s going on out here. I’m learning a lot about art politics on a day-to-day basis. — FultonLeroy Washington
Maybe within the museum dance can have another rhythm, temporality, be made more elusive. Dance could then escape the heavily prescribed regime often found in theaters, with concise beginnings and ends and a required length. Here then it could even be made “ghostly.”
Even then, I can attest to my general feelings of unease with the weight of History and the collecting of objects within the museological frame. This unease also bears on questions of site/sight as it pertains to the museum as space for viewing dance and performance. I have become increasingly more comfortable and, let’s say, provoked by the role of seeing and being seen by an audience. This relation to an audience is crucial and in large part where the resistance lies in my work. — Ligia Lewis*
As the Hammer Museum, the Huntington, and an art-starved public wait for the chance to experience Made in L.A. 2020: a version in person, artist and choreographer Ligia Lewis has created a video documenting deader than dead, her work for the biennial.
Performed by Jasper Marsalis, Jasmine Orpilla, Austyn Rich, and Lewis, deader than dead “began with an intrigue-based inquiry into deadpan, an impassive mannerism deployed in comedic fashion in order to illustrate emotional distance. Utilizing this expression as a type of stasis, Lewis initially developed a choreography for ten dancers that remained expressively flat or dead, resisting any narrative or representational hold tied to a climactic build or progression. Lewis had relegated deader than dead to this corner of the gallery (a kind of ‘dead’ space) where the dance would ostensibly emerge, although deadened in its repetition, limited in its fate, as it ricocheted from wall to wall.
“[Lewis] abandoned this recursive ensemble of death due to COVID-19, reducing the cast to four performers and pivoting to a more traditionally theatrical presentation. In this new work the dancers use Macbeth’s culminating soliloquy (‘Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,’ a reflection on repetition and meaninglessness) as the beginning of a work that unfolds in modular parts, each one an illustration or parody of death, stasis, and the void, each one tied to its own carefully selected soundtrack or sample.”**