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Ben Nicholas and Harrison Atelier

first performed on February 7, 2013
The Invisible Dog Art Center, Brooklyn, NY
performed three times in 2013


Silas Riener, Loren Dempster

New York, NY / Brooklyn, NY /


Harrison Atelier’s third performance-installation, “VEAL,” addresses the life cycle of industrial food animals, mapping the broader ecological implications of industrialized meat production. In five instrument-installations that intertwine with music and dancer performances, “VEAL” reveals the inhumane presumption at the core of a vast economy hidden from public view. “VEAL” brings together many themes, from contemporary studies of slaughterhouses to the myth of Apollo and Marsyas on the subjugation of the irrational animal to human technological reason.

Five installations mapped the life-cycle of industrially raised food animals: a wall of steel lyres with frets in the form of blastocysts; a pen of twelve veal-white bagpipe creatures, mouths equipped with bagpipe chanters; a translucent pen for singers; a projected backdrop of digitally-designed animal feed; and a vinyl and LED ceiling-scape recalling the algal blooms triggered in part by the runoff from industrial farms. During the performances, as the sounds of the lyre and bagpipes intermingled with the voices of the singers, the audience became immersed within an aural and visual landscape in which dancers intertwined with the set-installations. We designed a loose network in which animal content and audience could interact, so that the press of bodies in and against the installations resonated with the pressured existence of the industrial animal. We sought in this multi-disciplinary performance-installation to highlight ecological content by creating novel encounters between audience, performers and designed objects, whose uncanny presence reminds us that the worlds for which we design are bristling with hybrid forms of life worthy of curiosity, interest and tenderness.

To create “VEAL,” Seth Harrison and Ariane Harrison partnered with dancer and emerging choreographer Silas Riener and composer Loren Dempster. “VEAL” premiered at The Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn in February 2013, and the work interwove dance performance by Silas Riener, Rashaun Mitchell and Cori Kresge with musical performances by Loren Dempster, Biraj Barkakaty, Geoff Gersh, Joshua Kohl, Julie Reumert Haagensen, Arthur Solari and David Watson.