SIX AND FOUR ARTICULATIONS / LAURA SMITH
In the summer of 2012, I joined forces with six other emerging artists to make a performance art collective that shared and developed work across a seven-week national tour. We all met at Alfred University; we performed in each other’s choreography, collaborated on performances and critiqued each other’s work before forming into an official group dubbed Six and Four Articulations. During the course of our tour we developed a repertoire of ten pieces, 32 site-specific works, and one jointly-choreographed piece that was recorded in Detroit (our last venue). Our work rode the line between performance art and contemporary postmodern dance, and employed devices of costume, props and theater, to create engaging work that sculpturally carved out the performance space.
The Six and Four Articulation Tour was defined by collaboration, the creation of an open environment—almost equal parts performer, choreographer and visual artist—where each person in the group cycled through these specific roles: the performer of one work would be the choreographer of another, creating a series of works connected situationally and conceptually rather than stylistically.
Unlike the Cunningham/Cage/Rosenberg trio we were less highly marginalized into our distinctive disciplines. We shared core interests, but our approaches towards and experiences behind each of these interests (as well as our experience of the visual, spatial and performance world) were distinctly different for each member. Each member had their own idiosyncratic terms for directing, performing and defining a codified movement vocabulary.
“There’s noOne” was one of the pieces that I choreographed for the tour. It involved seven performers attached to three separate dog lines strung up between three sets of posts; these posts were counter-balanced with five-gallon buckets that would be filled with water at each venue. “There’s noOne” compared the issue of standardization in public education to the aspirations of the American dream and to the daily grind of life. It emphasized various social trends by subverting slang, jargon and catchphrases embedded in American culture, like “no shirt no shoes no service,” “I want a pony,” and “the pursuit of happiness.” It addressed a loss of self-awareness that occurs as individuals are immersed into a greater social consciousness. “There’s noOne” was presented in such a way that the audience members who viewed the work became sensitive to their own self-awareness and ingrained ties to American culture.
The prop was stolen in Houston, TX.