With choreography by Ariel Osterweis, faculty in The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance, and music composed by Jessica Kenney, faculty in The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, US and THEM features a number of current CalArts dance students: Kayla Aguila (BFA 19), Mia Givens (BFA 20), Nadia Muhammad (BFA 20), Emara Seymour-Jackson, Isabel Theobald (BFA 20), Savana Ortiz (BFA 19), Kristin Tims, Lilia Deernis, Chenhui Mao (BFA 19), Alexandria Garland, Audrey Collette (BFA 19), Odessa Uno (BFA 19), Mira Spremich (BFA 19) and Victoria Roman (BFA 19).
From the program:
US and THEM will involve a group of dancers moving slowly through the gallery space accompanied by a solo vocalist. Intertwined, helping and climbing on top of one another, their movements echo iconography taken from video footage of the Live Aid Simple Truth concert. Homogeneous in their appearance, the dancers mimic a murmuration of birds and wear masks with “donation slits” across their eyes. A “herdswoman” sings a subverted mawwal (a traditional genre of Arabic music), focusing on the word أعطني, which translates to "give me” in English. Her seductive vocals serve to entice the audience to donate money to the group of dancers. Interruptions in the uniformity of the group, such as a dancer removing their mask or stepping away to engage with the audience individually, alludes to the agency possessed by the distant Other.
Osterweis teaches critical dance studies and performance studies courses at CalArts. She has also taught at Skidmore College, Wayne State University, and the University of California, Berkeley. Her book manuscript, Body Impossible: Desmond Richardson and the Politics of Virtuosity, examines race, class, gender and sexuality in contemporary dance, and is currently under contract with Oxford University Press. Osterweis also researches contemporary African dance and mixed-race, feminist and transgender performance that "disavows dance-based virtuosity."
Kenney, primarily a vocalist, has been involved in many experimental and traditional scenes of music since the 90s, with the "transformative powers and pluralities of voices, as well as varied experiences of mysticism" as core interests. Her solo works include the large-scale sound and video installation Anchor Zero and the LP ATRIA.
Silence is Gold is the Baghdad-born Kahraman's first solo exhibition with the gallery. It presents a body of new work that continues the artist's critical examination of migrant consciousness at terms with celebrity fundraisers for global crises.
US and THEM by Hayv Kahraman
Saturday, Oct. 27, 6 pm
Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects
6006 Washington Boulevard, Culver City