Client: Grant Funded by Leeway Foundation
Location: Philadelphia, PA, United States
Completion date: 2019
Artwork budget: $4,000
Simon de Aguero
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 free participants in unique social-educational curriculum. Ripple / Quake features environmental video animation and a 20-foot wide tensile fabric wave as an object of play and to represent the collective unconscious. Original soundtrack and performance are executed live, using circus spectacle (foot juggling and aerial arts) with gestural performance and dance to translate the dynamics and risk of life with chronic illness and disability.
As a collaborative producer, I dramaturgically and fiscally brought together 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 on instruction in Yoga for Chronic Pain and Yoga Nidra to create audience participatory aspects with a therapeutic focus geared toward chronic pain and PTSD/ anxiety resolution. I co-taught embodied performance for all bodies as well. Each of these aspects of the project's design provided different access points 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 aesthetic accessibility 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.
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.