Improvisation in all Forms

A look at the performers and principles of the Endless Shout performance series at the ICA.


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Photo: / 34th Street

From now through March, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) is hosting a series of improvisatory performances titled Endless Shout. Endless Shout is a multi–artist performance project “exploring collectivity and improvisation.” The six participants are Raul de Nieves, Danielle Goldman, George Lewis, Fred Moten, The Otolith Group and taisha paggett, all practitioners of different forms and styles of performance arts.

Raul de Nieves is an award winning multi–media artist, performer and musician whose work has been featured in numerous exhibitions around the world, including at the MoMA. He is known for his “highly theatrical musical performances” as well as sculptures, elaborate garments and vibrant colors in his visual art. His next upcoming performance is The Way and the Body, a performance in seven acts at the ICA on November 9 at 6:30 p.m. in which he collaborates with two other artists, Micki Pellerano and Monica Mierabile.

Danielle Goldman is an associate professor of Critical Dance Studies at the New School in New York City. She is known for her improvisational and scholastic approach to dance. In her studies, she links improvisational dance to the concepts of freedom and constraint. She has been published in numerous academic publications including the Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisational Studies, and she has also appeared in numerous dance performances throughout her career.

Fred Moten is a poet and professor at UC Riverside, and he was recognized as a “New American Poet” in 2009 by the Poetry Society of America. His poetry and studies focus on numerous themes including performance, critical theory and black art and social life. He has published numerous scholarly articles and books, as well as numerous books of poetry.

The Otolith Group is comprised of Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun, London–based artists who work with “moving image, the sonic, and the photographic to invent mods of narration that articulate conditions of futurity, mutation, abstraction, and mediality.(Ed. note: It’s just mind–blowingly sick.) They’ve exhibited all around the world, and have worked on really experimental and pioneering projects when not working together as well.

taisha paggett is an LA–based artist who mixes dance and visual arts into different formats and spaces in order to question and examine the representation of black bodies in dance. Her work has been exhibited all over the world too, including the Whitney Museum of American Art for its 2014 Biennial. She is also currently an assistant professor at UC Riverside.

Perhaps the most legendary of the performers, George Lewis, is considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, trombone players in recent history. He is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) which is the improvisational, highly prolific music group that is featured in the ICA exhibit The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now. He has also worked in electronic music, both notated and improvisational music, and multimedia installations as well. He is currently a Professor of American Music at Columbia, and has won numerous fellowships and awards including the Guggenheim Fellowship. His work has been presented and performed all around the world, including the London Philharmonia Orchestra. He has already played at the ICA multiple times throughout September and October as part of the installation, and we will hopefully be able to see him again soon.

For most, Endless Shout may be a much different experience than what you expect. Most of us may think “improv comedy” when we hear “improvisation,” but the shows are bound to showcase some experimental and avant–garde art which tackle standard forms, themes, politics, and culture today. Additionally, even though Endless Shout is running much longer than exhibits usually do at the ICA, the diverse performers are sure to create multi–faceted, intricate and dynamic improvisational performances which will keep the installation fresh and unique, no matter how many performances you end up going to.


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