Ripple Quake - CODAworx

Ripple Quake

Submitted by Sarah Muehlbauer

Client: Grant Funded by Leeway Foundation

Location: Philadelphia, PA, United States

Completion date: 2019

Artwork budget: $4,000

Project Team


Dan Cole


Anne Weshinskey


Simon de Aguero


Artist, Instructor

Elliot Polinsky

Artist, Producer, Organizer

Sarah Muehlbauer


Will Turnbull

Paradigm Forge


Ryan McCartney & Tim Belknap

Icebox Project Space


Ripple / Quake is a multidisciplinary performance event exploring the impact of the individual on the whole, viewed through the lens of disability and an ethic of care. The event is multi-layered, inviting community to join as viewers, collaborators, and participants in our unique curriculum combining art and healing techniques.

As a performance, Ripple / Quake features environmental video animation and a 20-foot wide tensile fabric wave as a site of play and a representation of the collective unconscious. Original music is performed live, using circus spectacle (foot juggling and aerial arts) with gestural performance and dance to translate the dynamics and risk of life with disabilities–physical or mental, seen and unseen. Ripple / Quake as a title suggests fluid and rigid moments of life in a body, and as a universal experience of structure and change. Artists explore divergence with joy and creativity as a balance to cultural shadow.


As a collaborative producer, I dramaturgically brought together (instigated, wove together, and commissioned) the work of a video artist, musicians, visual artists, and a fellow performance artist. I commissioned the work of a metal fabricator to produce the unique tensile fabric wave structure to fulfill a design by architect Simon de Aguero-- conceptualized for use with aerial rope, and co-fabricated by sculptor Will Turnbull and myself on textiles. As an aspect of social design and art-for-change, I hired Elliot Polinsky to instruct Yoga for Chronic Pain and Yoga Nidra to offer linked audience participation with a therapeutic focus geared toward chronic pain and PTSD/ anxiety resolution. I co-taught choreography for all bodies as well in a course I developed called "Body Maps", using colloquial movement and personal journey narratives. Each aspect of the project's design provides a custom access point for the public to enter the world of disability through a positive, healing experience. Ripple Quake meets audiences where they are, demonstrating disability design from a lens of high art aesthetics and social impact.


This project was initiated and led by me with key roles from a number of peer artists. It was made to include, at its core, the work of visual artist and musician Dan Cole of the band Rexedog. Over several years we developed a conceptual framework, soundtrack, and set of initial performances, as well as a strong relationship between our work as artists and performers. Simon de Aguero designed the tensile wave to be used with aerial rope performance in 2014, and in 2018 we finally had a chance to execute the form as a result of the Leeway Foundation Art and Change grant I received. From this grant, I hired Paradigm Studios fabricator Will Turnbull to design and fabricate the structural form for the wave, and I worked with Simon to develop a pattern for the sculpture, which I fabricated. I received the Leeway X Icebox Residency in 2019, at which time I brought in performance artist Anne Weshinskey, hiring her to develop work for our half-hour show. Also at this time, Elliot Polinsky joined the group as our photographer and videographer, and to add "Yoga for Chronic Pain" and "Yoga Nidra" as elements of our social design and outreach. Each person contributed their unique perspective, held together by themes around disability and community.

Additional Information

As a title, Ripple / Quake suggests fluid and rigid moments of life in a body, and as a universal experience of structure and change. It's an example of performance that combines structure and aesthetics with social design and healing arts. The model is modular, tourable, and able to connect with local communities to produce new workshops, collaborative art pieces, and professional work for stage, as well as access to resources for community for those touched by disability. It is an ideal model to complement the work of the healthcare system, creating empathy, togetherness, entertainment, and social awareness for an under-served population that has their own stories worth developing. Related health and community focused past projects include: Labyrinth, Red Tape, Dog vs. Wolf, and Things That Survived The Winter.