Support for CAP UCLA from the Surdna Foundation

What role do artists and creators of all kinds play in the creation of empathy and memory?

What is happening to audiences and our connection to other cultures? Is digital consumption replacing communal experience or reshaping it?

How can created content provoke empathy and inspire nuanced understanding and acceptance among individuals and communities, rather than instigating merely consumption and escape?

Can empathy be quantified?

Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, thanks to a $150,000 research grant from the Surdna Foundation, will begin to collaboratively explore these questions and concepts (among others) in the 2015-2016 season via a series of gatherings titled CODA. 

CODA will bring together a small working group (13-18) of dance practitioners, design media technologists, curators, archivists and educators who are researching body and brain function pertaining to memory, creativity and empathy.

It is an entirely new and ambitious project that speaks directly to the Center’s ongoing commitment to support and sustain an artist’s vision—in practice, in process and in production, while simultaneously building access points, literacy and engagement for audiences and communities. CODA was conceived by CAP UCLA artistic and executive director Kristy Edmunds in collaboration with Sam Miller of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in New York. Miller will remain a key participant in the ongoing project.

Grants from The Surdna Foundation are highly sought and thoughtfully awarded. The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in the United States—communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies and thriving cultures.

CODA participants will examine the process of making and receiving memory via several initiatives and programs related to the CAP UCLA 2015-2016 season. Each convening will be linked to key programs and productions.

The first convening begins with the fifth Choreographic Coding Lab to be held September 15-19, 2015 at UCLA. In collaboration with UCLA Design Media Arts, CAP UCLA welcomes Motion Bank to campus. Motion Bank began as a project of The Forsythe Company, providing a broad context for research into the choreographic arts. For five days a collection of coders, designers, dancers and choreographers will gather on campus to explore possibilities for code-savvy artists the opportunity to translate aspects of choreography and dance into digital form.

Convenings will also occur in relation to performance works on the 2015-2016 season.

November 21 sees the culmination of Doris Duke Award Winner Ann Carlson’s work as an artist in residence at the Center. Her process for the creation and execution of The Symphonic Body UCLA is a focal point of exploration around themes of memory and movement, creativity and memory and gestural mapping. A wide cross-section of UCLA faculty, staff, researchers and students participating in the creation and performances lend complexity to this transfer of memory and movement.

In April CAP UCLA presents Memory Rings, by Phantom Limb Company, an environmentally charged theater work based on research and imaginings around the Methuselah tree. The Bristlecone pine, at nearly 5,000 years, is the oldest living thing on the planet. UCLA’s White Mountain Research Center is located among the ancient Bristlecone forest. It supports environmental research and teaching in the White-Inyo Mountains, the Owens Valley, the eastern Sierra Nevada and surrounding areas. CAP UCLA, Phantom Limb and core UCLA researchers will develop a “micro-curriculum” to accompany this project.

More convenings will be added. We believe the knowledge acquired through this multi-year project could have a profound impact on how artists and audiences communicate.