ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
Ann Carlson: The Symphonic Body
Chapter 2: Finding Spontaneity and Concentration
Our ever-evolving social sculpture continues to grow, with new shapes, forms and textures entering the process with each new performer, all of whom make up our wholly unique performance work The Symphonic Body UCLA. In this installment of our behind-the-scenes video series, we talk to Meryl Friedman, our director of education and special initiatives, and one of the earliest participants in this project. As the web of participants expands there is much to see and learn about one another, and so much potential for singular expression.
Rehearsals with the full cast begin to ramp up in September. We’ll keep following the project for more stories from the participants.
Chapter 1: Weaving a Social Sculpture
The Symphonic Body UCLA is taking shape. Ann Carlson has been on campus since January, connecting workers from across this campus. She spends time with them in their daily lives, listens to stories and elicits suggestions and recommendations of fellow coworkers and people on campus, who she then approaches to see if they would be interested and then immerses herself into their daily work lives at UCLA.
And this is how entirely unique sculpture of human endeavor is organically created and then masterfully woven into a performance of movement.
At this point in the process, open rehearsals are happening every other week, with participants dropping in when they are available, practicing and learning to fully embody and articulate the highly individualized and fascinatingly idiosyncratic “gestural portrait” that they will eventually perform in Royce Hall. They use their own bodies, their own repetitive gestural habits—as observed by Ann—to become an instrument of this symphony.
This is only the second time The Symphonic Body has ever been created and performed. It’s a riveting process to observe, watching daily life evolve into performance, watching a masterful artist like Carlson passing along her expertise to a cadre of individuals who may never have performed on stage before.
We’ll be tracking the progress of this project over the next five months. And on November 21, when the curtain rises in Royce Hall, we will witness something unpredictable and something that would be impossible to replicate exactly in any other setting. It’s for, by and about the people who keep this campus running every day.
--Jessica Wolf June 18, 2015