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Ian Douglas

first performed on March 25, 2016
New York Live Arts / Live Ideas 2016, New York, NY
performed three times in 2016


Detroit, MI


Weight of the world.

We crack.

“Atlas” is concerned with the negotiations of burden—who holds what. It teases assumed agreements between performer and audience, using immersive states to place pressure upon the atmosphere in the room. “Atlas” is a score of disorientation that places the performer, Tawil, at the mercy of her own doing.

The performance is confrontational to itself. In this score, Tawil subjects herself to an extended tumbling loop that eventually derails her conscious control over ensuing actions. Once out of control, she journeys through choreographed material that crumbles “under the weight” of her state, displacing the burden of the action by shifting the responsibility for it away from her.

These exchanges are paralleled by sonic states delivered by violinist Mike Khoury, known for his vigorous and exacting free approaches to music. “Atlas” attempts to burden the audience by immersing them in a field of physical and sonic discord.

This work’s confrontational techniques in movement and sound are part of Tawil and Khoury’s ongoing articulation of Arab Experimentalism. There is an exorcism embedded in the structure, as Tawil’s repetitious and aggressive rolling ritual attempts to rid the body of the trauma memory, or rather, the colonized narrative. As she stands to continue her journey, a cultural resilience resounds.