Here’s an interesting fact about the 14 groups and individuals, chosen from an open call, for Flux Night 2013, to take place Saturday, October 5. All but one, Whitney and Micah Stansell, will be new to the one-night street extravaganza of the arts in Atlanta’s historic Castleberry Hill district. So will the six previously selected by London-based guest curator Helena Reckitt.
This is a good thing. A festival such as Flux Night — especially given its name — thrives on surprise and unpredictability, and it had begun to feel as if it were developing a repertoire of stalwarts.
The nine Georgia groups or artists chosen this year range from well-established folks such as Fahamu Pecou to undergraduate Ion Yamazaki. That’s intentional, says Anne Dennington, Flux Projects’ executive director, adding that Flux likes to give artists the opportunity to try new things. As an example she cited Michi Meko’s sound piece. “We like to see artists grow,” Dennington says.
The selection committee consisted of board members Susan Bridges, Kristen Cahill, Louis Corrigan, Nick Corsello, John Gibson, Amy Miller and Marcia Wood as well as Dennington and Reckitt.
Flux Night 2013 will have an international character. In addition to Reckitt’s commissions, four of the open-call participants hail from outside the United States. Dennington attributes this to Reckitt’s reputation and the press her appointment received in Canada and abroad.
Contacted in London, Reckitt said she had encouraged Paris-based Kathleen Ritter and Vancouver’s Sophie Farewell Collective to apply.
“I had heard about the Sophie Farewell Collective’s project for Nuit Blanche in Calgary, Alberta,” Reckitt said in an email. “A friend who attended spoke warmly about the playful and raucous dynamic that it created between the artists-performers and the crowd. I am interested in works like this that catalyze public interaction in stimulating but not overly prescriptive ways.
“Ritter’s project, ‘The revolution is not a party,’ treats past protests as something with unrealized potential,” Reckitt said. “It draws on Julia Kristeva’s ideas about revolutionary becoming. The immaterial quality of the piece, with its roving performers and slogans and songs, definitely taps into my ideas for the project.”
Reckitt’s curatorial theme, “Free Association,” she earlier told ArtsATL, “evokes the pleasure of mixing and mingling at street level that is central to Flux Night” and to Atlanta’s history of digital art and collective activity.
The 14 projects described below encompass everything from explorations of serious issues, such as aging and racial stereotyping, to the high-spirited entertainment promised by a horse-drawn grand piano and a musical mobile shoeshine stand.
- “Phototaxis” — With prescient timeliness, Atlantans Virginia Byers and Aria Finkelstein will address how surveillance changes the meaning of public space.
- “Horse-Drawn Piano” — Atlantans Benita Carr and Bill Orisich and others will nod to Castleberry Hill’s past (including its history as a red-light district) by taking a horse-drawn grand piano and music makers through the streets. Musicians stationed on street corners will respond as it passes.
- “Untitled” — Using printed instructions, personal guides and voice announcements, Atlanta’s CORE Performance Company will guide its audience to become performers.
- “Half Empty” — Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre of Los Angeles will respond to building interior and exterior spaces.
- “Array” — Atlantan Pablo Gnecco’s interactive video-based sculpture will include portraits captured from the audience.
- “Soliloquy” — Sasha Krieger, from Vancouver, will present a video suggesting an endless internal dialogue.
- “Detritus” — Éric Marty and Kai Riedl, from Athens, will contribute an interactive sound and light installation in which the sounds of cars and windblown debris and voices waft down the street.
- “The job of the resurrectors is to wake up the dead” — Taking a new direction, Atlantan Michi Meko will create a sound theater of Negro prison work songs, with the idea of waking up the souls of indentured black men who laid Atlanta’s train tracks.
- “OVEREXPOS(d)” — Fahamu Pecou will address his ongoning theme, stereotypes of black masculinity, in a new format, a short combining animation and video.
- “The revolution is not a party” — Kathleen Ritter will use audio protest slogans, song lyrics and manifestos in a roaming performance.
- “However you do it… consider the stars” — The Sophie Farewell Collective will mount a performance and interactive installation that lets audience members have their social, political and/or personal messages hollered into the street.
- “Colossi” — Whitney and Micah Stansell will mount a series of large-scale projections featuring people interacting with architecture.
- “Traveling Shoes” — Justin Randolph Thompson from Florence, Italy, and others will man a mobile two-chair shoeshine stand, where shoe shiners will gold-leaf customers’ shoes to the accompaniment of dancers and a marching band.
- “A Mundane Affair” — Ion Yamazaki of Atlanta will play his grandmother in a durational performance that illustrates the impact of dementia on memory.