A Co-Lab: Process + Performance Work-in-Progress by Rashaun Mitchell, Stephin Merritt, and Ali Naschke-Messing. Presented by Summer Stages Dance at Concord Academy (SSD/CA) and the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston at the ICA, July 19.
By Debra Cash.
Is all the world a stage? Shakespeare’s Jaques argued the case in As You Like It, and so, apparently, did the late celebrity photographer Richard Avedon, who is quoted as saying “We all perform. It’s what we do for each other all the time, deliberately or unintentionally. It’s a way of telling about ourselves in the hope of being recognized as what we’d like to be.”
That assertion launched a collaboration between choreographer Rashaun Mitchell, composer Stephin Merritt, and artist Ali Naschke-Messing who have been in residence at the Concord Academy in recent weeks investigating the material that will go into a work debuting at the ICA this coming January, called PERFORMANCE. On Friday, the three experimental artists offer a sneak peek at their work together to date, with the addition to excepts from more finished pieces.
Mitchell is well-known on the local dance scene; after attending the Concord Academy during his high school years, he danced for 10 years with what became the final group of dancers to work for Merce Cunningham. Mitchell has presented a number of memorable projects here in Boston, and his sensibility has been to delve into compositional puzzles, emotional depictions, and perform, as did Cunningham, in unconventional spaces. For the ICA performance, Mitchell has engaged dancer colleagues Silas Riener, Cori Kresge, and Hiroke Ichinose.
Indie music hero Stephin Merritt has made waves both as the “mastermind” of The Magnetic Fields and as a rock journalist. Ali Naschke-Messing, based in San Francisco, made flags silk-screened with prayers in the wake of 9-11 and lately has turned her attention to installations that respond to sunlight, time-based salt drawings, and sculptures made with the foundational materials of salt, sand, and plaster.