Flight of Mind, by Jennifer Monson in collaboration with Composer/Sound Designer David Kean and Artists Bob Braine and Leslie Reed.
Flight of Mind addresses the urban environment as an integrated system through a richly complex, imaginative, kinetic experience that engages the audience on many levels. Each performance of the work begins with a contemplative journey by the audience through the building that houses the theater. This migratory tour of the performance site highlights the audience’s experiential perception of space and sound through encounters with movement and music. This provides an opportunity to experience the building as a series of inter-related systems, not unlike the way a biologist might approach a salt-water marsh.
When the audience eventually finds themselves in the theater, they are in a transformed state of mind to enter into the experience of the movement, music and spatial design of the piece. The primary set element, local invasive species are placed both in the audience areas and on stage, distributed throughout the space — inverting the audience’s experience of inside and outside.
Jennifer Monson looks at patterns in nature and devises choreographic systems that become their own patterns. Decay, decomposition, regeneration, and evolution are all concepts that are employed to investigate this potentially sustainable and vital system. The space is in a constant state of transformation as the dancing interacts with the set, transforming it through various processes that both construct and reorient the space. This in turn affects the sounds that are generated to create the music. The movement – ferocious, unexpected, and delicately phrased – skirts around the obvious even as it draws from clear references to the immediate environment. The dancing holds the powerful and complex emotional energy that Monson mines from each of the dancers and their work together both outside and in the studio.
Sound Designer/Composer David Kean’s score uses the sounds of the building, set materials, and dancers to create a real-time interactive system that responds directly to the action of the performance.
Artists Bob Braine and Leslie Reed create a space that asks us to examine intimately the environments we move through. Hundreds of gathered local plants transform the theater into marsh. Large plywood boards, styrafoam and other objects are animated by the dancers into shifting landscapes and territories that refer to the constant decay and regeneration of the built and natural environment and their effect on each other. Artist/Botanist Leslie Reed uses native weeds to create moving landscape carpets that are fragrant, flexible and mobile.
Flight of Mind PRESS
November 1, 2005 – “New York Notebook” (2.2MB) – PDF
Gay City News
September 29, 2005 –“Urban Ecologies: Williamsburg choreographer leads migration toward environmental awarenes Building” (3MB) – PDF
The New York Times
September 21, 2005 – “A Migration Across a Stage And Through a Building” (2.6MB) – PDF
The New York Times
September 16, 2005 – “Weekend Arts section, The Listings” (3.2MB) – PDF