project image
Scott Shaw

first performed on May 9, 2018
Abrons Arts Center, New York, NY
performed four times in 2018


Andrew Braddock, Maira Duarte, Alvaro Gonzalez, Millie Kapp, Raquel Mavecq, Butch Merigoni, Marc Mosteirin, Roderick Murray, Arthur Romania, Taylor Sakarett, Emily Smith, Ben Wohlfarth

New York, NY


Since 2017 I have had the chronic illness Bartonella. At the depths of this bacteria’s possession, I watched hours of sci-fi/horror social commentary films and floated through altered brain states. My work confronts dynamics of hope/hopelessness and nonsense, and reflects on this sick-space—considering notions of sickness within national and global spaces (capitalism, consumerism, global warming, whiteness).

“Klutz” is an exploration of environmental and governmental insanity—a 90 minute choreographic and operatic performance work utilizing choreography, language, object, and video to create apocalyptic performance landscapes pulling apart pathogens of the sick American psyche. Framing trash as an expression of excessive wealth through an interdisciplinary space using live media to juxtapose imagery of white suburban life and apocalyptic horror through low-fi video shot in family spaces. Referencing the misshapen media-realities, these videos play on TV installations alongside performance, theorizing the warped values of whiteness as living horror movie.

“Klutz” occurs at a time when hyper consumerism, distorted media, and the 2016 U.S. elections perpetuate a dysfunctional, suicidal, psychopathic national psyche, as an examination of the “whoops mentality”—the (un)intentional claiming of stupidity, ignoring of facts, or blatant lying to manipulate (public) perceptions whereby to avoid accountability of wrongdoing, in the interest of self-preservation or self-gain, negatively impacting individuals, the (global) public, and/or the earth, potentially catapulting either towards demise.

“Klutz” responds to national and global shortcomings, seeking to dismantle accountability evasion through multigenerational, multidisciplinary, anti-elitist, non skill-based performance actions. A democracy experiment, the work is co-inhabited. Constellations of research form non-judgemental scores—youtube dancing babies, mosh-pits, reality television montages, “Stop Being Serious” self-help DVDs, B-horror films, philosophical writings, and personal experiences. Somatic practices prepare entry to performance prompts such as “steadfast inefficiency,” “obscure body circus,” “psychedelic mundanity.” I choreograph the edge of capacities; obfuscating movement, obscuring bodies with costume and object, complexifying potentials. I render dualities useless—blurring distinctions between “highly rehearsed” and “chaotic mess,” technique approaches the alien. In this overstimulated space of movement, video, music, language, and object, a 360° performance arena makes thumbs at particular disciplinary references.