ATOM-r (ANATOMICAL THEATRES OF MIXED REALITY)
“Kjell Theøry,” blurs multiple lines: between performance art and theater, theater and installation art, installation art and video, video and poetry. The group aims to question formal practice, the boundaries and binaries that tend to delimit image making and performance. By confounding form, ATOM-R simultaneously grapples with historical mechanics of homosexuality and queerness, and with how queer aesthetics have carried over to a society newly augmented by technology.
Judd Morrissey and Mark Jeffery formerly of Goat Island Performance Group co – founded Chicago based ATOM-r (Anatomical Theatres of Mixed Reality) in 2012. ATOM-r is a provisional collective exploring forensics, anatomy, and 21st century embodiment through performance, language, and emerging technologies. The work is interdisciplinary and evolves through large-scale projects with long durations of research and practice that generate outputs across a range of platforms including Internet art, augmented reality, site specific installation, choreographed movement, books, films and objects. ATOM-r was conceived in response to the historical architecture of early modern anatomical theaters, spaces designed for viewing human dissections and early surgical procedures. This physical and conceptual arrangement is used as a symbol throughout their work to explore histories and experiences of the body, sexuality, and prosthesis. ATOM-r core members: Mark Jeffery (choreography), Judd Morrissey (text and technology), Justin Deschamps, and Christopher Knowlton (collaborators/performers).
Kjell Theøry is an Augmented Reality performance juxtaposing the writings of Alan Turing—a gay twentieth century computing pioneer—about pattern and shape in the natural world with algorithmic mutations of Guillaume Apollinaire’s 1917 play The Breasts of Tiresias, a gender fluid spectacle for which the playwright invented the word “surrealism.” The performance considers the last two years of Turing’s life wherein he expanded his focus to include biology while seeking asylum and tolerance in Scandinavia following his prosecution for crimes of indecency in the United Kingdom. Turing named his theory of morphogenesis—the autonomous generation of flowers and other natural forms—for a Norwegian love interest, Kjell.
In Kjell Theøry, ATOM-r draws on Turing’s theory, turning it into a poetic and choreographic system to blur the boundaries between the binaries of physical and virtual space, past and future, male and female, and human and machine. The collective’s process creates a deeply entangled and fertile exchange between the live body and ubiquitously distributed data-driven systems. A project-specific ecology of source material is translated as movement, visualized on screens, and mapped onto bodies and geo-physical space through locative and computer-vision based augmented reality. The performance uses coded systems and augmentation to create a liminal theatre. While the work is inherently variable, it is experienced as a tightly constrained, yet flexible, information pattern that allows for close attention, emergence, and interruption.
Mark Jeffery (choreography)
Judd Morrissey (text and technology)
Justin Deschamps, Christopher Knowlton, and Leonardo Kaplan (collaborators/performers)
Josh Hoglund (Lighting)
Design Joshua Patterson (Sound)
Sponsored /funded by
Kjell Theøry was developed through residencies at Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, International Museum of Surgical Science, National Museum of Health and Medicine, Chicago, Department of Cultural Affairs Dance Residency, School of Dance, Chichester, UK, and School of the Art Institute of Chicago
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Upended Teacups is the collaborative identity of artists Stefanie Cohen and Corey Gearhart. Since 2010, they have presented their performance works and site-specific installations —exploring the inner lives and fantasy worlds of everyday objects and activities — at SITE:Lab, Grand Rapids; The Sidewalk Festival of Performing Arts, Porous Borders, Spread Art and Theatro Chico, Detroit; SOMAFest, NYC; Links Hall and The Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, and in movement-based performance festivals in Chicago, Michigan and Wisconsin. They teach workshops in movement and generative artistic process in private studios, festivals and academic institutions; and curate performance through our space, Light Box in Detroit.
“The Call” asks: How do we navigate our spiritual landscape and where is God to be found? Through our acts of devotion, songs and dances; our labor? Further, how does geography affect our spiritual condition? The performance excerpts interweave movement, action, text and sculpture inspired by works of John Coltrane, Feminist theology, William James, Adam Rudolph and personal responses to the questions “What is a spiritual experience?” And “Where is the sacred?”
Installation and Performance by Stefanie Cohen and Corey Gearhart
Sponsored /funded by
Light Box, Detroit