Performance Space 122 provides incomparable experiences for audiences by presenting and commissioning artists whose work challenges boundaries of live performance. PS122 is dedicated to supporting the creative risks taken by artists from diverse genres, cultures and perspectives. We are an innovative local, national and international leader in contemporary performance.
Founded in 1980 from an explosion of radical self-expression amidst the intensifying American culture wars, Performance Space 122 is the birthplace of contemporary performance as it is known today. The early acts that defined Performance Space 122’s unique role in New York cultural history asserted themselves as living, fleeting, and crucially affordable alternatives to mainstream art and culture of the 1980s and early 90s. Emboldened by the inclusive haven of a tight knit group of artists, performers like Penny Arcade, Ron Athey, Ethyl Eichelberger, Karen Finley, Spalding Gray, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Holly Hughes, John Kelly, John Leguizamo, Tim Miller, and Carmelita Tropicana, among many others, engaged in radical experimentation and created hybrid works that existed somewhere between dance, theater, poetry, ritual, film, technology and music.
With the renovation and reimagining of its original abandoned public-school building in the East Village completed, Performance Space 122 is entering a new, bracing chapter. Under the leadership of recently appointed Executive Artistic Director Jenny Schlenzka, and with state-of-the-art, column-free, high-ceilinged performance spaces, the organization is poised to make a case for the cultural vitality and relevance of performance for the 21st century. Schlenzka brings the idea of themed series to Performance Space 122. As part of a larger multidimensional whole, individual works are juxtaposed to evoke further meaning and push audiences to engage with our contemporary world in illuminating ways. The inaugural series (February–June) in the renovated building focuses on the East Village itself, including Performance Space 122’s iconic history, re-anchoring the organization within its immediate surroundings.
Returning to a rapidly changing neighborhood during a time marked by divisive and oppressive politics, Performance Space 122 builds on its own traditions of integration, political involvement and vehement interdisciplinarity, embodied by artists like niv Acosta, Big Dance Theater, Elevator Repair Service, Tim Etchells, Emily Johnson, Young Jean Lee, Taylor Mac, Richard Maxwell, Sarah Michelson, Rabih Mroué, Okwui Okpokwasili, Reggie Watts, and Adrienne Truscott.
Performance Space 122’s lasting presence from the pre-gentrification East Village neighborhood fervently aims to create an open environment for artists and audiences, and thus foster community through performance and discourse—to be a countering force to the often-exclusionary nature of urban development.
COIL FESTIVAL 2018
Atlanta Eke (USA)
Body of Work
Eke explores the tension between the performance and the documentation of the performance, by making them one in the same. As the live performance unfolds it is incrementally video recorded. As the documentation accumulates it is projected back into the live performance producing a recursive effect.
Body Of Work is a synthesis of the human body and technology, aiming to play with our perception of time, generating multiple and shifting points of focus for the audience, so they can create their own experience throughout the evening. The performance begs the following questions, What is the contemporary? What is new? What is now? What is present? The performance operates as an allegory of how to be ‘present’, to be in the ‘here and now.’
Choreographed by Atlanta Eke, performed by Atlanta Eke / Ivey Wawn. Music composed and performed by Daniel Jenatsch, video designed by RDYSTDY and operated by Martyn Coutts.
Heather Kravas (USA)
visions of beauty
Punk in attitude, feminist in spirit and deliberately anti-spectacle, visions of beauty is a dance about itself and the compulsive, lopsided, angry, funny, frustrating and redemptive messiness of everything. Nine virtuosic performers demonstrate how bodies both trap and free us. The work examines relationships between art, power, agency and desire; language is distilled, stuttered, repeated, held and abandoned, leaving space for the audience to experience something beyond amusement. Precise choreography gives way to visceral improvisation in a conversation between the emotional and the abstract. visions of beautyundermines theatrical conventions, calling to question the object of the dance, the labor of the performers and the judgement of its audience.
Directed by Heather Kravas, visions of beauty is created in partnership with performers Andrew Champlin, Tarek Halaby, Michael Helland, John Hoobyar, Michael Ingle, Joey Kipp, Cecilia Lisa Eliceche, Kayvon Pourazar and Saúl Ulerio. Original sound for the work is by Dana Wachs aka Vorhees,with additional music by Peter Schilling and lighting design by Madeline Best.