Tuesday, February 27, 2007

February 28-March 4 - RAW

RAW=Reed Arts Weekend

Students make it happen, no fear; big out of towners mix with big student work and it's free or cheap. You can get some details at http://web.reed.edu/raw/2007/. In addition to the indigenous Reed work, consider these:


Portland mover Tahni Holt presents a 5 channel video installation " Passing Out Heart Game". In collaboration with Videominds' Emily Bulfin and animator Jalal Jamison, each of the screens tells a story related. "The work is a study of the landscapes that contain us and is a meditation on control: resisting the unknown and releasing into this unknown. [It] inhabits the contradictions these opposed actions hold and the treacherous space in-between." Introduction to the work by the artist. Reed Vollum Lounge 6PM Free

Portland painter Arvie Smith explores the myths and stereotypes of black men and women. But real lives are always more complex than any possible stereotype. Tapping his own experiences living in New Orleans and visiting Africa, Smith's larger than life characters seem to inhabit another time, but are we really over that past? Smith speaks about his work in Kaul's Gray Lounge. 6:30 Free


"Liza Lou is best known for her expansive beaded landscapes and sculpture. In 1995’s Kitchen, Lou encrusted a 168-foot life-sized 1950s kitchen in dazzling beads. The project took her 5 years and an estimated 20-30 million beads to complete. The result was both visually arresting and a powerful commentary on the injustices and paradoxical dignity of the traditional roles of women, their work and their art. Since then, Lou has continued creating subversive sculpture and performance art with a pop sensibility, including the beaded portraits of 42 presidents, which comprised 2000’s Star-spangled Presidents. In 2002, Lou was awarded a MacArthur “genius” grant. Her work both celebrates and undermines the American dream, revealing through gaudy splendor the unsettling nature of some of this country’s most central traditions. At RAW, Lou will take on religion with the world premiere of a video piece about her upbringing in a highly-religious family." 5PM Eliot Chapel $5 Reed

Saturday and Sunday

Butoh dancers Eiko and Koma have been performing together since their 20's, 30 years. They have performed only with one another. They are married. Children together too. So seeing them move together is something special.

I had the pleasure of working with them a few years back staging two pieces. Eiko is clear, planned, decisive. Koma quiet and reserved, with great wisdom. One previous piece was staged in many cities at riverbank performance spaces. After the audience had gathered, the performers entered the river upstream. Becoming one with a flotsam log, they drifted slowly down river until near the performance site. They slowly left the log and made way through the water to the bank. Emerging slowly they performed an intense improvisation on land for more than an hour. Then they danced slowly back to the water where, in time, another floating branch bore them away from the performance. Downstream boatmen waited to recover them from the water's grip, sometimes hypothermic. The production crew downstream was responsible for saving them, in some East Coast cities, from being drawn into the green seas' tides. The events involved performers in extensive research of each river's ecology. How many performers can say the same? The Portland instance of the piece was arranged the morning of and performed in the Jameson fountain. By the end, the performers and crew were definitely hypothermic, but had experienced a dream together with the audience.

Another performance I saw in North Carolina was staged in and around a huge cave-like bed. The structure was formed by branches barnacled by knotted and shredded sheer fabrics in the manner of Collette's bedroom crossed with a viney dewy jungle. They moved slowly, together and separately, as the bed-cave rotated ever so slowly, in a dialog of embrace and independence. I believe that work was developed over 6 months through a special grant of studio space in their New York City home. That space was one fourth of an upper floor in the World Trade Center. Over that time they, their close friends and their children occupied the space in a deep way which is difficult to imagine.

The result of 9/11 was a redefinition of another piece, performed here. At night the space among the trees was lit by over a hundred candles. The performers emerged from a mound of earth. The sole props were a collection of the long arrows of Japanese archery. In the end, the performers reentered the earth. The piece before 9/11 was intended for the stage and was quite dark, a meditation on how we deal with death in Western society, Japan included. After 9/11, the piece became a quiet meditation on life. It was performed for free at parks all over New York City, a gift.

Tonight's work is "Mourning". Commissioned by the Japan Society, it has not yet premiered. So you will be seeing something special from these McArthur recipients. For the performance, they will be accompanied by John Cage collaborator Margaret Leng Tan on the toy piano.

Sat 7:30PM; Sun 2PM Kaul $10