August 29, 2015

butohPhoto performance on Vimeo

This is the edited video of the August 14, 2015, performance which was the finale of the butohPhoto workshop (link below) held at the Gray Loft Gallery, San Francisco, California.

butohPhoto is one of a string of ButohDrawing projects that have been held since the first one, Action/Reaction, in 1997.  Below the video is how the Ice House Press saw it.

butohPhoto video edit

A better & larger picture of the video can be seen on Vimeo

  We are drinking wine in the Grey Loft Gallery, hosted by Gallerist Jan Watten, and waiting. Some of us have seen buTom and his artist collaborators perform before - ghostly white, loosely flowing costumes and white make-up as the dancers slowly move in mindful harmony, almost trance-like, to fulfill and leave behind some improvised drawing artifact. Chalk or charcoal drawn on paper or direct on floors and walls or taut ropes pulled and strung hundreds of feet in numinous patterns. Some of us. Others are just waiting.
  For this piece there are no papers, no coiled ropes. No curtain. No performers. At least, none present in the Gallery. There are a couple of projectors, screening test patterns on the nearly bare gallery walls. We wait some more, conversations flagging.
  From the outside door, the back door to the gallery, two or three performers, and then several more, enter in street clothes with no make-up at all.

  Cellphones enter the gallery, towing behind them their entranced
performer auxiliaries. The phones lead the way, riding high or low, willing fingers cradling their advance. The phones show selfies or, more conventionally, the rest of us. Sometimes they show nothing but a manufacturers logo. The phones pull the performers for awhile, rise from low to high, fall from high to mid chest. They turn or dart sideways of their own, while performers stare ahead, unseeing. It’s the phones. Looking. Seeking. They exchange one performer carrier for another. Always On. Leading, leading.
  Recorded music accompanies their progress throughout the galleries several rooms. It is idiosyncratic, amelodic and compelling, terse. Like the phones, it too appears to be searching, intently, restlessly.
performers’ faces are blank. But not the white blankness of the stylized performer. These faces have no purpose but to serve their phones. They are the faces of mindless slaves. Style does not lead here. The phones hunt without style or apparent aim. The slaves follow, compelled to move to the requirements of the hunt. Though the phones move almost at random in restless search, for what we do not know, the slaves all have a curious unity, like a school of fish, or a flock of wheeling birds.
  We notice now that there is something being projected on the wall, as the phones and
performers move, sometimes becoming a surface of moving light images themselves as they pass across the beam. At intervals, we can see that the projection is a video of these same phones and dancers, but from what vantage? From somewhere in the gallery? And as the images change, we can see the vantage change. One or more of the phones is sending it’s video images streaming live to the projector, and those images are being drawn on the walls, on the performers and on us! (It turns out these images are going out live all over the world.)
  As we move about in the gallery, our own phones out, capturing images of images, of each other with phones and
performers looming just behind, or in front of us, shifting, changing. We all leave behind drawing artifacts. We all serve our phones.

Video credits:

Tom White - Director
Betty Jo Costanzo - Assistant Director
Styrous® - Sound design
Kyung Lee - Video

Isaac Amala   
Minoo Hamzavi   
Kaia Self   

Moses Correntte - Lead cam

Jan Watten - Gray Loft Gallery Director

2889 Ford Street, third floor
Oakland, California 94601

butohPhoto Workshop @ the Gray Loft Gallery   
butohPhoto on Vimeo        

Styrous® ~ Saturday, August 29, 2015



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