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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Freedom of Information 2008

Posted by Alison Hallett on Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 5:15 PM

There was an article in the New York Times yesterday about Freedom of Information 2008, a New York-based project that invites dancers across the country (ideally, one from every state) to participate in 24 hours of continuous improvisation while blindfolded and earplugged. The project, conceived by choreographer Miguel Gutierrez, is intended as a "contemplative act of solidarity with those displaced by the wars [in Afghanistan and Iraq]."

From the Times article:

Mr. Gutierrez, 37, will represent New York at the Barn in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. This is not his first foray into endurance art but an expansion of “freedom of information,” which he performed by himself in 2001. Reeling from the Sept. 11 attacks, the invasion of Afghanistan and what he described as “this Bush thing of just creating a state of terror,” he followed his gut.

“I just had a strong instinct to be moving,” Mr. Gutierrez said recently in his Brooklyn apartment. “The idea of what it is to be a refugee or a person who’s disrupted by an armed conflict is so terribly abstract to me, really. I had to create some sort of thing that created a very weak, perhaps, but somehow partial analogue to understanding what that is.”

He emphasized that he was not attempting to equate, even indirectly, his willed action with forced suffering.

“What I can be direct about is a sense of solidarity with the other artists who are doing this, and this, at least, notion of a shared commitment to saying, ‘We will take these 24 hours together to go through some intense state of contemplation,’ ” he said. “I’m inviting people to consider displacement and war. I am sure a ton of other things will enter people’s thought processes: about their lives, about death, about life, about all kinds of things.”

Oregon is represented here by local choreographer/dancer Tahni Holt, and her performance begins at midnight tonight at Performance Works Northwest. Stop by anytime before midnight tomorrow, or watch a live stream of the performance on Holt's website.


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