Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

Thank You For Reminding Us Why We Do This

On March 7, 2020, UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance presented Toshi Reagon’s rock opera adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s Parable Of The Sower, a science fiction examination of an overconfident society on the brink of disaster. The work proved prescient when the world shut down days later.

After quickly pivoting into two years of presenting free performances online, we were thrilled to welcome audiences back to in-person performance this March with choreographer Ronald K. Brown’s The Equality of Night and Day: First Glimpse, which reflected on the tumult of the preceding years in challenging popular assumptions of balance, equity, and fairness. The new work received a standing ovation from an appreciative audience.

Although we only had a handful of in-person performances this season, each drew an enthusiastic crowd. Toshi Reagon returned to perform an evening of uplifting music with her band, BIGLovely. The Oscar-winning Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolalla played songs from across his illustrious career. Violinist Jennifer Koh & bass-baritone Davóne Tines shared their deeply moving exploration of the minority experience, Everything Rises. Pianist Anthony de Mare performed re-imagined versions of the music of Stephen Sondheim. Writer David Sedaris returned to Royce Hall, a stage that he has graced regularly since 1998. Most powerfully, the Ukrainian band DakhaBrakha performed a heartrending show at the Theatre at Ace Hotel, with images of the destruction in their homeland accompanying their “ethno-chaotic” take on their folk traditions.

Each presentation was enhanced with relevant contributions from CAP UCLA’s Education Department and the Student Committee for the Arts, with highlights including live poetry writing, student humorists, a public piano, and a tango class. But what truly made each night of live performance memorable was the passion of you, our audience.

After two years away, being able to watch exceptional artists in spaces shared with hundreds of other people was a reminder of why we do this, a reminder of how these works were intended to be experienced. In each case, the dynamic exchange of energy between performers and audiences was electrifying. For that we want to thank each and every one of you who ventured out to join us. Thanks to you, we’re more excited than ever about our upcoming season, which will be announced next month, and about next year’s grand opening of the intimate UCLA Nimoy Theater.

We couldn’t do this without you, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned from all this, it’s that we wouldn’t want to.

CAP UCLA Partners With LACO to Bring Local Students’ Ideas to Life

This spring, CAP UCLA’s free K-12 arts education program, Design for Sharing, is thrilled to reprise our partnership with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s Classroom Composers project. This two-prong program involves students in the creative process of developing a musical composition for a chamber ensemble, and lets them hear their work performed by professional musicians from LACO.

Last month, more than one hundred 5th and 6th graders from Toluca Lake Elementary and Nimitz Middle School participated in LACO Composer Fellow workshops via Zoom. Each of the three composers used a different method to engage students. Sakari Vanderveer led students in creating a “menu” of sounds—some improvised in the classroom and others played on her viola—and assembling their selections into patterns. Brenna Dickson shared clips of existing animation and asked the group to choose musical elements to accompany it. Christian Cruz invited the students to do some creative world-building for an imagined video game, and describe a suitable score for the ice-bound, alien-invaded adventure they dreamed up.

Though each class had a different experience, they all explored how to describe the atmosphere they were trying to create, and how to achieve that effect with instrumentation and dynamics. Now, it falls to the Composer Fellows to create a short new work for each classroom using those building blocks. 

All four new pieces will premiere in April at a special concert featuring ten LACO musicians, streamed live from the Royce Hall Rehearsal Room into participating classrooms. The program also features other chamber works, curated and led by LACO Educator and Artistic Advisor, composer Derrick Skye (who you might recognize from our Notes on Napkins series).

We can’t wait for students to hear their own ideas brought to life, and to share their reactions with the musicians and composers.

Residency Spotlight: Boney Manilli, a new play by Edgar Arceneaux

 

From February 7-16, 2022, the artist Edgar Arceneaux and the creative team behind his current project, Boney Manilli, were in a residency period supported by UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance. This was the second time CAP UCLA has provided these artists with the creative time and space to develop this work: a previous residency in May of 2021 played a crucial role for Arceneaux in rewriting and revising the play’s script. 

Boney Manilli tells a story about Sunny, a troubled playwright, who is trying to direct a play about the infamous pop group duo Milli Vanilli, while struggling to take care of his mother who is slowly dying from dementia. With the revised script in hand, the creative team used their time in the Royce Hall Rehearsal Room to rehearse and develop the visual and spatial elements of the production. 

Residencies are a major component of how we engage behind the scenes to facilitate artistic development. For Arceneaux’s project, CAP UCLA received the prestigious Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts’ Artist Project Grant. It is because of dedicated arts supporters that the Center is able to provide production resources and space to help emerging and established artists realize their work. 

After the development residency, a sneak preview of Boney Manilli was presented as a 30 minute work-in-progress at Vielmetter Los Angeles. The private, ticketed event was held on Friday, February 18 and staged at the gallery’s north parking lot as an immersive BBQ party for the audience, catered by QD’s Double Barrel BBQ. The presentation occurred during Frieze LA and concurrently with Arceneaux’s solo exhibition of paintings and sculptures, “Skinning The Mirror” at Vielmetter, on view through March 12, 2022.

Learn more about Boney Manilli by listening to the UCLA Arts podcast interview with Arceneaux.

How do artists effect change?

The Tune In Festival

Ahead of The Tune In Festival we asked the artists, “how do artists effect change?”

“They breathe purpose. They are Healers. For example, the author of We Want Our Bodies Back, jessica Care moore, affectionately known as Detroit Butterfly, is not only an Apollo Legend, whose words are celebrated worldwide, she is a pillar in the poetry community. In her set she shares her latest work of art, Wild Beauty, where she not only gives love a new perspective, but also dances with the tug of war that love often presents,” said J. Ivy, performance poet and co-curator.

“Art takes us where linear thinking cannot. While we all find our own relevance in the experience, none of us is spared from catharsis. Extremes in contrast. We live for the experience of extremes, and assume responsibility for the consequences,” said Matthew Duvall, Eighth Blackbird Percussionist and Artistic Director.

“Artists effect change in so, so many different ways. I feel that artists have the ability to take very complex messages and crystallize them into one piece or one project or one experience that can communicate to people in ways that just words or just research can’t. They can create something and just distill the very essence of a situation or an emotion for an audience member to really be moved by and to change from that experience,” said Anthony R. Greene, composer and musician.

Come celebrate the power of protest and resilience found in music and poetry with all 30 ensembles and poets this Thursday through Sunday at CAP UCLA Online.

Introducing CAP UCLA’s Interim Leadership: Meryl Friedman and Fred Frumberg

As Kristy Edmunds embarks on her new role with MASS MoCA and as Creative Advisor for the UCLA Nimoy Theater, Fred Frumberg and Meryl Friedman, both of whom have extensive experience in managing CAP UCLA’s operations, have assumed interim leadership of CAP UCLA. Together, they will oversee management, programs, artist relations and all other aspects of leading a major cultural organization in close coordination with the school and campus. 

“I’ve been lucky enough to work in a theater my entire adult life, and I know how much possibility lives in that room especially when students meet a new artist or discover the performing arts for the first time,” says Friedman. “I’ve had the joy of experiencing the power of that potential every day for the past 13 years as Director of Education and Special Initiatives, with Kristy and all our incredible team. Every day we get to create a new story, and I’m honored to help write this next chapter.”

“I met Kristy in 2005 when I was running a company in Cambodia,” Frumberg explains. “She took a risk by inviting one of our theater pieces to the Melbourne Arts Festival. It’s that uncompromising commitment to the power of arts that enticed me to join CAP UCLA as deputy director five years ago and that empowers me to take on this interim role. I’m humbled to join the entire staff as we navigate this exciting transition together.”

Meryl and Fred are eagerly coordinating with artists to meet you all in the theater for a vibrant spring season and an enthusiastic return to live performance. 

Behind the Curtain of Sun & Sea: What Does It Take To Create an Indoor Beach?

The first task was sourcing 10 tons of local sand to create the beach that audience members look down onto from a square shaped balcony. Following three days of performances and 15 showtimes, the sand will be donated to local elementary schools for use in sandboxes.

The next step was creating a realistic scene. While performing the libretto, translated from Lithuanian to English, the cast will act like it’s any other day at the beach — relaxing on towels, slathering on sunscreen and playing badminton. They’ll even nibble on snacks sourced daily from neighboring eateries in Little Tokyo. Beach noise playing over speakers in the space will add a layer to the live singing; there will even be a dog or two to add to the ambience.

There is also a distinct color palette of pastels to create a sense of nostalgia. The costumes and props will all be muted tones. We even crowdsourced a light colored bike from a member of CAP UCLA’s staff as a prop.

This peek behind the curtain only just begins to reveal the scale of the transformation needed to execute this artistic vision.

The 2019 Venice Biennale winner Sun & Sea, presented by CAP UCLA, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and the Hammer Museum and featuring the L.A.-based Tonality choir, will make its West Coast premiere at the Geffen Contemporary on October 14th. Tickets on sale September 17th at 10 AM PDT. 

A Moment With Artists-in-Residence

“Performance doesn’t just magically appear on a stage. Behind every work, there are years of creative development, months of rehearsal and a continual pursuit of support.” — Kristy Edmunds, CAP UCLA’s Executive and Artistic Director

Each year since 2012, CAP UCLA has welcomed a new cohort of six to 12 artist residents and offered resources, connections and more to support their process of bringing an idea to the stage. No two residencies look the same, in part, due to mentorship and guidance by our Executive and Artistic Director Kristy Edmunds. The CAP UCLA staff works to meet the artists where they are, often providing creative time and necessary space for the development of new work.

Some residencies last from conception to production, where we are along for the full ride. The White Album by Joan Didion created by Lars Jan/Early Morning Opera, presented in April of 2019, was such a project. For this, CAP UCLA partnered with Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, a Research and Development lab for the arts, to provide a month-long residency in 2018 to develop the work in an intensive and uninterrupted environment. About the residency, Jan said, “removed from the patterns of our daily lives, our group of artists was able to draw nourishment from the stunning beauty of the natural landscape and grounds, as well as the generous ethic of incubation guiding the program and staff there, to connect with a creative and personal intensity unparalleled in other settings.”

Other artists, like choreographer Ann Carlson, had ideas for years, but lacked the time and space to bring them to fruition. The interruption to our daily schedules created by the pandemic provided Carlson with the time and CAP UCLA provided the space. Describing her time in the Royce Hall Rehearsal Room, she said, “for me, a residency can be a setting aside of body, mind, space and time for working, for waiting, for opening to the next idea, or to give room (literally) for ideas to emerge, to take shape, to shift from a gentle haunting towards a concrete thing in the world.” Unlike The White Album, Carlson’s intended solo may become something else or take more time, but it was “a chance to reach into those barely there impressions, those shy or bold things that tend to prefer more private pockets.”

Even during the global pandemic when the majority of the performing arts have been restricted to the digital stage, artists need a space to create, to make sure their work is ready when live performance is able to return. Carlson added, “in the context of the virtual spaces that are part of life now, a brick-and-mortar residency feels rare, a place to savor, both the place itself, the comings and goings to it, and what happens as a result of residing in it.”

This is also true for multidisciplinary artist Annie Saunders, who is in the rehearsal room this week working on a multiformat piece entitled Rest! Saunders says, “space and time are so valuable in the creative process, just the time to let the ideas breathe and come into themselves. The space in the rehearsal room especially lets us air things out, imagine them in large rooms, large stages, encourage them to unfurl and become the most of themselves they can be. It’s a gift. And we are in the gift giving business.”

Artists are not the only ones who benefit from the CAP UCLA residencies. They also allow you, our audiences, to follow a project from when it is just a blip in an artist’s mind to the moment when you are sitting in the audience enjoying the fully produced work. Many of the works that result from these residencies appear in future CAP UCLA seasons. It is not an easy task to decide who will be invited to participate in the program. As part of the selection criteria Edmunds “considers the work L.A. needs to see right now, [and] which artists are on the brink of something brilliant.”

The creative process takes time, a resource we all could use more of. We know you can’t give us time, but you can show your support by making a donation. Please give what you can to ensure that CAP UCLA can continue our commitment to artists and the development of new work that can be presented on our stages in the near future.

Message from the Center: On Philip Glass’s Piano Sonata

When Philip Glass mentioned to me a few years ago that he was working on a piano sonata (his first!), I instinctively sensed that this was going to be a big deal. Not because a new composition by Philip Glass generally is, but because of his exuberance for it: “Hey! Did I tell you I’m working on a piano sonata?!” For all I knew, he committed himself to the idea in that exact instant, or, more likely, he had been working away on it in his mind while we were talking about a range of other topics over our bowls of soup. Whichever the case, he was excited by the journey he was embarking upon.

Phil has written sonatas for other instruments before, but this would be his first for the piano. I imagined how much he would pour into it given that the piano is the instrument he has spent a lifetime playing (at home and on countless tours). However, Phil is not an artist to let the potential of a ‘first’ be tethered to what is known. His exuberance came from writing something that would far surpass what he could play, or be able to entirely hear on the instrument itself beyond imagining it as the composer. There would need to be someone who could bring the music to life and bridge the musical space between themselves, the audience and the composer.

Phil composed his Piano Sonata for Maki Namekawa and Maki collaborated on its shape and dimensionality by adding her tremendous capacity and insight as a pianist. They sent recordings and adjustments back and forth across the Atlantic, and Phil describes her contribution as much more than a facile pianist interpreting the material, but adding to it in order that it can be heard and embodied.

Many will recall an epic week in 2013 when CAP UCLA presented a survey of Philip Glass works at Royce Hall that included La Belle et La Bete, Music in Twelve Parts and his Complete Etudes. The week offered towering elevations, with an audience experiencing countless intakes of breath on so many levels and for me, experiencing Maki play Phil’s Etude #20 is forever lodged in my being. I have little doubt that I was not alone in my astonishment.

As you experience the concert as given by Maki – there is something undeniably present about the current moment we are living in, and an incredible point of connection to the future that arrives in the third movement. There is far more consonance in the music than dissonance, and Philip Glass has put a great deal of faith into our evolving capacity to listen and hear. We recognize the piano, the structure of the sounds and the notes in time – but the speed of change and harmony is almost unimaginable. Hearing what we perhaps could not have been able to until now, is the gift of their work.

We originally scheduled the concert to take place on the Royce Hall stage, which has served as one of Philip Glass’s many ‘creative homes’ over decades. Throughout this pandemic we have had to invent previously unconsidered approaches for fortifying our commitment to artists and audiences in supporting our continuity together. No small feat within a global pandemic, with our borders closed, and our stages dormant. As the US administration stopped all visas, as the devastating heave of the virus expanded, we had to find another way.

I want to thank Maki and my team at CAP UCLA, and especially also Gerfried Stocker, Artistic Director and CEO of Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria for the truly generous collaboration in filming the Piano Sonata just before the new COVID-19 restrictions took hold in Europe.

My gratitude to Philip Glass runs deep and long. For his immense humanity, perspective and music. For me, it is like light finding its way through all of the cracks in the seams and is forever arriving.

Thank you for joining us.

—Kristy Edmunds,
Executive and Artistic Director
UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance

This Was the Year that Was

While we will all be glad to bid farewell to 2020, there were several bright spots for CAP UCLA this season for which we are grateful.  Season highlights include:

Artist Commissions

CAP UCLA provided financial support for some 300 artists through commissions this season. Projects included:

  • Chris Doyle’s Memento Vivere, a 24-hour digital clock made with UCLA students and available for Apple watches
  • Constance Hockaday’s Artists-In-Presidents, a collection of “fireside chats” from artists released in the final two months of the 2020 campaign
  • Choreographers’ Scores, a collection of visual scores by 27 contemporary choreographers that will become available as limited edition prints and tour nationally
  • Notes on Napkins, a collection of more than 100 musicians’ doodles on napkins that will become an affordable boxed set of commemorative napkins
  • Meshell Ndgeocello’s Chapter & Verse: The Gospel of James Baldwin, a multi-media tribute to James Baldwin co-commissioned by a consortia of national and international performing and visual arts partners
  • A filmed version of Robyn Frohardt’s Plastic Bag Store installation in Times Square that was set to open just prior to the COVID-19 shutdown

Constance Hockaday

Digital Programs

CAP UCLA also brought back new online versions of several programs we had presented in the past, including:

  • Forced Entertainment’s Complete Table Top Shakespeare: At Home Edition filmed by the company at their kitchen tables in Sheffield, England and Berlin. Available online through December 31, 2020
  • The online version of Kid Koala’s Music To Draw To, two hours of curated music designed to get your creative juices flowing which we presented live as a follow-up to his 2016 performance of Nufonia Must Fall
  • A three-day celebration of Grace@20, a seminal work by choreographer Ronald K. Brown, that included a filmed performance of the work, an online class and a talk with the artists

Ronald K Brown EVIDENCE

CAP UCLA Online

We also filmed all of our fall performances this season and streamed them online on our new channel. We will continue this practice in 2021 and hope you will join us.  Fall highlights included:

  • The Tune In Festival – a four day celebration of music for change filmed in Los Angeles and elsewhere, bringing together musicians and poets from the U.S., Canada and Latin America. Excerpts from the performances and interviews with the artists are available online.
  • The acclaimed Quinteto Astor Piazzolla filmed in Buenos Aires and seen by an international audience of more than 1200. Available on demand.

Quinteto Astor Piazzolla

L.A. Omnibus

We also created a new literary series, L.A. Omnibus, featuring conversations with L.A. writers and artists. This fall featured artists Constance Hockaday, Daniel Alexander Jones and Kristina Wong and discussions with authors Donna Rifkin and Lynell George. All Omnibus programs are available on demand.

Tue, Dec 8: L.A. Omnibus: Lynell George - Upcoming Programs - UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance

Taylor Mac Holiday Benefit Concert

We were delighted to be able to once again present Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce…Pandemic!, an online version of his holiday extravaganza that we presented for two days live last year at Royce Hall. This event was a benefit for CAP UCLA that was seen by some 600 households and raised $23,000. Thank you to everyone who donated and attended the event. If you missed it, it is still available on demand through January 2, 2021.

Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce… Pandemic!

Art in Action

For these past 10 months, we’ve re-imagined how our public programs continue to provide opportunities to take part, learn and engage.  We’re still learning, but there have been definite bright spots:

Design for Sharing, our K-12 arts education program migrated to a virtual platform, providing filmed performances, remote art-making, virtual arts residencies and Art Kits that we made available to over 100 elementary school students.

Our student committee, Student Committee for the Arts (SCA) partnered with our colleagues in Residential Life Arts Engagement to pilot a Pen-Pal program, over 200 UCLA students spanning 7 countries and 13 states participated during Fall quarter, making connections and sharing art work.

Our CAP Poetry Bureau went online for Poetry Month, and we wrote and distributed over 100 poems that were mailed or emailed to members of our LA and UCLA communities.

Along the way we wrote Odes to Ordinary Things, established a virtual gallery, and engaged in some proactive thinking about the City of Angels. Thanks for staying connected, and stay tuned for more.

Happy Holidays

We would like to give a shout out to the artists who are facing the largest cataclysm of their professional lives, yet who remain steadfast in their determination, resourcefulness and commitment to expressing universal truths and helping us get through this year.

We also want to give special thanks to you, our audiences and supporters, for hanging tight with us as we reinvent ourselves in the digital universe so we can continue to share the work of contemporary artists around the world and provide them with an income stream until they can return to our stages.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from all of us at UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance.

 

Interview: Constance Hockaday on Artists-In-Presidents: Fireside Chats for 2020

 

We sat down with artist Constance Hockaday to discuss her project, Artists-In-Presidents: Fireside Chats for 2020, which was commissioned by CAP UCLA and will be available online starting in September at cap.ucla.edu and at artistsinpresidents.com. 

Q: Can you tell us about yourself and this project?

I’m Constance Hockaday, the director of Artists-In-Presidents: Fireside Chats for 2020. Artists-In-Presidents is an art project, but it’s also a civics project. We’ve invited over 50 artists to deliver fireside chat-inspired addresses to the nation alongside the 2020 presidential campaign.

Q: What is a fireside chat?

A fireside chat is what people called this type of national address that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was doing in the thirties. After the Great Depression began, FDR became president and he realized we had this huge crisis, people had lost their faith in democracy. The radio had been invented and he realized he could speak directly to people to overcome their cynicism and ask them to participate in democracy as an act of faith. He takes that moment and he shows up and he says I’m going to come in like this priestess, I’m going to manifest a collective, a new American mass public, I’m going to describe what you, American citizens, could look like if you came together.

This is where the project becomes potent to me. It becomes important because it’s about this overdue need to update the performance of public leadership. After all, even our most celebrated president, in his most famous policies, specifically excluded brown and black people and he interned Japanese-Americans. Our national legacies of liberation have always excluded and erased the voices of the majority of people who live within our arbitrary borders.

That’s what this project is about. It’s about taking these strategies, this conjuring of a potential American mass public, and bringing those strategies to the bodies and the voices of black people, brown people, women, trans people, indigenous people, queers, people that have been erased from the performance of public leadership. 

Q: Can you talk about the shape the project has taken?

So I reached out to hundreds of artists and we ended up with about 50 committed artists who are writing their national addresses. We’re recording their performances via audio and turning that into a podcast that we’ll roll out alongside the presidential campaign. So starting at around 50 days out from the campaign, we’ll start releasing one artist at a time on the website and a podcast app, to give our audience the experience of hearing these voices alongside the actual presidential campaign. We’re exploring performances of power, performances of leadership, the history, and the legacy, and the posturing of our public leaders. We have built relationships with retired presidential speechwriters to help artists find their presidential voice. 

Each artist is also asked to create a visual companion piece—their presidential portrait. We have left that open to being their aesthetic of power, however they want to do it. 

Q: How did you choose artists to participate?

I didn’t want to be the only one choosing artists, so I put together a board of curators and poets that I trust. I asked them to give me names of people, and I sort of whittled down that list and sent the invitations out in waves. Whoever said yes, I then asked to recommend who they thought would be a good person to add to the cast. So it became a chain letter invitation process. 

Q: What kind of voices were you looking for?

As I was inviting all these artists, the Black Lives Matter movement reached this place in the public view that it had never reached before, and I asked myself, “where are people that are living in the intersections?” I was particularly drawn to women of color, to complicated identities. As a queer feminist with an immigrant mother, I want to hear from immigrant queer women, I want to hear from trans folks. I want to hear from emotionally intelligent and beautiful Black voices. 

I wanted to create an affirmative experience for a listener, to create the experience of being spoken to with dignity, of being witnessed and spoken to from the voice of a leader that sees and hears you. I was looking for people who could speak to some of the most marginalized voices or the most marginalized communities in this country. Our politicians, our public leaders, they talk about black people, they talk about brown people and trans people, but they very rarely ever talk to them.

If we provide people with the experience of young queer black women speaking with vision and speaking intimately from this fantastical national platform, will that ignite in an audience or in other black, young queer women, the thought that maybe they could run for office? 

Q: Have recent events affected the project?

I’m an artist who historically works with boats and urban waterways. Around the time that Trump got elected, I was introduced to FDR’s retired presidential yacht, which is docked in Oakland, California. I am not a history buff, I’m not an academic, but I’ve come to understand a lot about the history of this country just through becoming obsessed with this ship. The project was originally about recreating the Fireside Chats, broadcasting these messages from FDR’s ship back to the nation. 

Suddenly a pandemic happens, and there’s a complete and total lack of leadership. I’m just thinking, “where’s dad?” You know, where’s the guy that’s going to come and give me something I can believe in? And I realized this project isn’t about broadcasting from FDR’s ship. This is about broadcasting back to FDR’s ship. This is about us becoming “Dad/Mom” (the voice of care) for ourselves and each other. If that makes sense? This is about sending these voices back to the ship to update that history, to update all of the voices that have been erased, have been left out.

Q: What were the biggest surprises in putting the project together?

It struck a nerve. Not just in the artists, but also the speechwriters. A tidal wave of speechwriters showed up in my inbox. There were even conservative Republican speechwriters who worked for the Bush administration that wanted to do this! 

Maybe the biggest surprise in this is that I have more empathy for our public leaders than I ever have before. It’s like you’re walking straight into the dark towards a feeling. If there are leaders out there with a true commitment to the common good, they don’t know what an equitable world looks like. Nobody knows what an equitable world looks like. It’s similar to creating new work, it’s just walking towards a feeling… you don’t know what it’s going to be, and it starts to become real by saying it and saying it and saying it, and saying it better and saying it better and saying it better. 

Q: What do you think is the role of artists in times of crisis?

In my work, I’ve become very interested in this thing called the normalcy bias, where we get on autopilot and our bodies just continue to see the world as it always has been. To break free of the normalcy bias we have to usually have a fire alarm. The role of the artist is really to just be this sort of professional fire alarm. It’s about breaking us out of our normalcy bias, articulating these complex parts of our human experience that often just get glazed over or taken for granted. The artist is excited by a certain kind of chaos, both making it and finding it. Chaos is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Being in the unnameable, unknowable places is being close to lifeforce.