Brown Arts Initiative and Performa Launch New Collaboration with Co-Commission of Work by Kelly Nipper at Brown University

The Brown Arts Initiative (BAI) at Brown University and New York City-based Performa announced today a new three-year collaboration. The inaugural component is the co-commission of a new work by artist Kelly Nipper with MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab to be developed during an artists’ residency at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at Brown University in summer 2017. The work will be presented as a highlight of Performa 17, November 1‒19, 2017, the seventh edition of the celebrated international biennial of contemporary visual art performance that takes place in venues across New York City.

For her Performa commission, Nipper is collaborating with the Self-Assembly Lab and a team of Brown students this summer to create a new body of work and a live performance for the Biennial. Developed with dancer Marissa Ruazol, a Laban Movement Analyst, plus designers from MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab, Brown computer scientists, and Brown students, the work will traverse photography, architecture, performance, and scientific inquiry. The performance will preview at Brown University in early October before premiering in New York City this November as part of Performa 17.

The co-commission is organized by Esa Nickle, producing director and international affairs at Performa, in association with Performa director RoseLee Goldberg and the BAI leadership team: Butch Rovan, faculty director and music professor; Anne Bergeron, managing director; and Chira DelSesto, associate director.

Rovan said, “This collaboration goes to the heart of what the BAI does: expand on Brown’s legacy of enriching artistic practice by supporting all that is experimental, forward-thinking, and cutting-edge in the arts across departments, among artists, and with eminent partners like Performa. We’re delighted to welcome the Performa team to campus this summer and look forward to seeing a new work emerge from Kelly’s artistic process and the Self-Assembly Lab’s gel-based rapid liquid 3-D printing and design aesthetic.”

RoseLee Goldberg, Performa founding director and chief curator, stated, “Since its establishment in 2004, the mission of Performa has been multifold and far-reaching. In addition to awarding and producing new work by exceptional contemporary artists and contributing resources to the field, a central tenet of our work is to develop a new generation of audiences for and practitioners and curators of visual art performance as well as live work across disciplines, including film, architecture, poetry, photography, dance, music, and theater. Working with like-minded organizations like the BAI enables Performa to partner with the innovative and varied academic community that is Brown University, extending its research into a cross section of departments, while contributing new scholarship to the field. Brown’s exceptional students will have the opportunity to be fully involved in all aspects of the creative and producing process. We are delighted to welcome Kelly back to Performa and anticipate the creation of a ground-breaking new work with the Self-Assembly Lab as the start of our thrilling collaboration with the Brown Arts Initiative.”

The BAI/Performa collaboration will support the work of both established and emerging artists and scholars while offering hands-on learning opportunities to Brown students and providing meaningful, immersive experiences for constituents of both organizations. The collaboration encompasses the co-commissioning of new artistic work for future Performa biennials, the exchange of artistic and scholarly talent among Performa artists and curators and Brown faculty and students, and internship opportunities at Performa for Brown students.

Bergeron said, “Having our students work with Kelly, the Self-Assembly Lab, and the Performa team to imagine a new multidisciplinary work is a perfect embodiment of BAI’s mission and emblematic of Brown’s boundary-pushing arts ethos. I can think of no more compelling opportunity for students than to experience hands-on the creative process of leading artists and designers who are reshaping our cultural conversations.”

Kelly Nipper

Born in Edina, Minnesota, in 1971, Kelly Nipper’s practice negotiates how technology and human experience have been constructed in parallel. She works primarily in photography, video, and performance. Fundamental to her practice are the relationships between the shape of time, history of darkness as used in media arts, mechanization of the landscape and human figure as captured by the camera, and the built environment. In 1998, she began working with dancers, movement systems and Labanotation as a study into the foundation of photography and the moving image. Nipper’s work in performance expands directly from photography, which is definitively and rigorously shaped by dark and light. Darkness as an essential component in media arts can be bound, marked off and encircled, a fully formed void, and a technology that fuses humans and images.

Nipper’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland; Tramway, Glasgow, Scotland; and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. Her performances have been commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland; South London Gallery, UK; and Performa, New York. Nipper’s work has been included in group exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich, Switzerland; and the Institute for Contemporary Art, Philadelphia. She received her MFA in Photography from California Institute of the Arts and BFA in Media Arts from Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab

This cross-disciplinary research lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) invents self-assembly and programmable material technologies aimed at reimagining construction, manufacturing, product assembly and performance. Self-Assembly is a process by which disordered parts build an ordered structure through local interaction. Founded and co-directed by Skylar Tibbits, the Self-Assembly Lab has demonstrated that this phenomenon is scale-independent and can be utilized for self-constructing and manufacturing systems of nearly every size. The Lab has also identified the key ingredients for self-assembly as a simple set of responsive building blocks, energy and interactions that can be designed utilizing various materials and machining processes. Self-assembly promises to enable breakthroughs across every application of biology, material science, software, robotics, manufacturing, transportation, infrastructure, construction, the arts, and even space exploration. The Self-Assembly Lab is working with academic, commercial, nonprofit and government partners, collaborators and sponsors to make self-assembling a reality of the future.

About Performa

Founded in 2004 by art historian and curator RoseLee Goldberg, Performa is the leading organization dedicated to exploring the critical role of live performance in the history of 20th-century art and encouraging new directions in performance for the 21st century. Since launching New York’s first performance Biennial, Performa 05, in 2005, the organization has solidified its identity as a commissioning and producing entity. As a “museum without walls,” Performa provides important art historical heft to the field by showing the development of live art in all its forms from many different cultural perspectives reaching back to the Renaissance. The Performa Biennial is celebrated worldwide as the first biennial to give specialized attention to this remarkable history, transforming the city of New York into the “world capital of artists’ performance” every other November. Performa attracts a national and international audience of more than 200,000 and more than five million website hits during its three-week run. In the last decade, Performa has presented nearly 600 performances, worked with more than 700 artists, and toured commissioned performances in nearly 20 countries around the world.

About Brown Arts Initiative

The Brown Arts Initiative (BAI) at Brown University seeks to cultivate creative expression and foster an interdisciplinary environment where faculty and students learn from one another and from artists and scholars in a wide range of fields across the campus and around the world. A consortium of six arts departments and two programs that encompass the performing, literary and visual arts, BAI works collaboratively to enhance curricular and co-curricular offerings, directly engage students with prominent artists working in all genres and media, and supports a diverse program of concerts, performances, exhibitions, screenings, lectures, and symposia each year. BAI takes full advantage of the University’s Open Curriculum and builds on Brown’s reputation as a destination for arts exploration, contributing to cultural enterprise through the integration of theory, practice, and scholarship with an emphasis on innovation and discovery that results from rigorous artmaking and experimentation.

BAI comprises and integrates History of Art and Architecture; Literary Arts; Modern Culture and Media; Music; Theatre Arts and Performance Studies; Visual Art; the David Winton Bell Gallery; and Rites and Reason Theatre/Africana Studies.

Media contacts: For the BAI: Libby Mark or Heather Meltzer, Bow Bridge Communications, LLC, New York City; +1 347 460 5566; [email protected]
For Performa: Victoria Kung, SUTTON, New York City: +1 212 202 3402; [email protected]

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