the CONTACT project | 2013
the CONTACT project is a contemporary performance training and development model, bringing together mixed ensembles of veterans and civilians, to undergo a rigorous, artistic training process and co-create an audience-interactive performance installation.
Acknowledging the societal divide between veterans of war and military service and the rest of the civilian population, the CONTACT project seeks to reframe the U.S. public rhetoric regarding contemporary wars, engender a deeper investigation of war, and deconstruct the ‘othering’ of the veteran population. Everyone involved in the process, (community partner organizations, presenters, the ensemble, audience), is viewed as a participant in the exchange.
The project is currently in phase two of development, through the CounterPULSE Artist Residency Commissioning Program (ARC), www.counterpulse.org, culminating in performance installations March 13-15 and 20-22, 2014. An evening-length, Bay Area premiere will take place in late 2014 or 2015.
The project will continue to refine its working model with the contributions of each community and ensemble, with the intention to become a resource for multiple communities.
CONTACT, an interactive performance installation | 2011
in collaboration with Matt Mitchell’s 100 Faces of War Experience
The Canal Gallery, Holyoke, MA
Conceived & Directed by Krista DeNio
Dramaturgy: Krista DeNio & Nicholas Chavez
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performed by: Nicholas Chavez, Samantha Francis, Kev’n Garcia, Laura Markis Johnson, Patrick Mack, Lyle Phipps
*Guest performances: Debra Disbrow, Gabrielle Loeb, Susan Oetgen Maria Svensson
Music: Susan Oetgen and Patrick Mack
Project Advisors: Matt Mitchell, Tyler Boudreau, Susan Oetgen
CONTACT is an interactive performance installation, creating dialogue space between veterans of war and civilians, in the effort to navigate the territories we share in common and those we don’t.
The performers reveal potent experiences shared in the 100 Faces of War Experience project statements — fixed moments in time, relating to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The action weaves together the ensemble’s personal experiences & testimonies through their own writing, performance moments, choreographic explorations based in personal movement styles and Suzuki Theater technique and both live and recorded music. We ask ourselves: what do we want from one another; what do we need? How do we see each other? How much do we share in common, and what separates us? How do we each relate to war— then & now.
Audience interaction is intentionally designed with relationship to the territories in the space itself with the intention to create a reverent space for interaction between the ensemble, the space and audience. An evolving investigation, this was the first draft of this performance project.
the CONTACT project seeks residency support for development, through partnerships with academic institutions, arts and cultural organizations and veterans groups and organizations committed to interdisciplinary work and bridging the worlds of theater making, education and healing.