Saturday, October 30
6:30 pm—7:15 pm
8:30 pm—9:15 pm
Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 3 (Brooklyn Heights)
Set against Manhattan’s skyscrapers, artist Ericka Beckman presents STALK, an alternative version of the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk reconfigured as an anti-capitalist proposition. Jack, and his friends, the workers on the ground, unite to revolt against the Giant in the sky—an overt metaphor representing corporate conglomerates—to illustrate the consequences of the agricultural industrial complex.
Jack and the Beanstalk is a story of power. First written in 1734 as The Story of Jack Spriggens and the Enchanted Bean, the story was popularized in the late 19th century with the rise of merchant capitalism. It was written to provide the poverty class with a vision of broader opportunities, paths to success, and an entry into capitalism. Written at the time of zero sum thinking—when one person’s gain is another person’s loss—and scarcity of means, the tale has been adapted by Beckman to the world of material abundance, sped up by late capitalism of the 21st century.
The function of early fairy tales was to present a moral position, often integrating frightening, violent and sexual scenes within a wondrous, magical story to emphasize underlying morals by dramatically splitting good and evil. For Beckman, fairy tales present a picture of anxiety, felt by a person or a community, in which a lead character frequently takes action that produces comic catharsis or relief— to push the individual or the community through a necessary cultural change. Beckman’s STALK is a story that explores the issues of contemporary power-structures, particularly those of late Capitalism and its dire impact on natural resources.
STALK will comprise an original musical soundtrack, created with Beckman’s long term collaborator Brooke Halpin, performed live by vocalist Georgeanne Kalweit as Jack, accompanied by percussion, a chorus of workers, and a circus acrobat. The live scene will be set against a stage formed by multiple LED screens playing animated film of scenes that both reflect and mirror the live action, setting organic imagery against the man-made Manhattan skyline, implicating the viewer in determining which is more real, the screen or the stage.
Curated by Kathy Noble, Senior Curator & Head of Curatorial Affairs
Miguel Anaya, Megan Wright, Noa Rui-Piin Weiss, Hana Bookman, BRAT, demetries morrow, Georgeanne Kalweit, Madison Ward, Dorian Jackson
Writer & Director: Ericka Beckman
Managing Director & Executive Producer: Esa Nickle
Associate Producer: Sheridan Telford
Performa 2021 Biennial Fellows: steph christ, Joyce Chung
Technical Producer: Andrew Devlin
Composer & Musical Director: Brooke Halpin
Choreographer: Emily Coates
Stage Manager: Madeleine Joyce
Composer & Recorded Vocals: Jasmine Golestaneh
Hair: Sergio Estrada
Make Up: Isaya Ellis
Aereal Rig: Lia Douillet
Production Assistants: Guido Schierano, Julian Rez Masud, Kate Connors
Technical Production: Crossfire
Security: Dwyer and Associates
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Toby Devan Lewis, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Metropictures.
Ericka Beckman is a radical pioneer; an artist who revolutionized the way performance could be shot and edited in camera, enabling her to interweave experimental animation with live performance footage. Beckman’s early films captured live-action choreographed sequences on super-8 film stock, which she then rewound to integrate layered animation, accompanied by fast-paced soundtracks utilizing, resulting in radical short films that anticipated the digital post-production effects of today. Beckman is an ‘artist’s artist’, highly revered by contemporaneous peers and collaborators, she has influenced the generations that followed her in numerous ways, especially in relationship to what she describes as “the performance of the image” on camera and how these images influence our perception of reality and movement in the physical world.
Beckman began making films in the early 1970s after studying at CalArts (the legendary school established by Walt Disney in 1961) where she was influenced by the percussionist John Bergamo (who taught there) and the films of Jack Goldstein—that took ready-made images and objects to create what could be described as ‘living sculptures’ using Super 8 film. Renowned child psychologist Jean Piaget’s book Genetic Epistemology, 1997 also inspired a Page 3 of 3 trilogy of Super 8 films, We Imitate; We Break Up, 1978, The Broken Rule, 1979, and Out of Hand (1980), that used split screens superimpositions combined with pixelation. During this period Beckman lived between New York and Los Angeles, cities in which she was deeply engaged in two burgeoning art movements: the media generation (termed the Pictures Generation by Douglas Crimp, after an exhibition he curated entitled Pictures at Artists Space, New York, in 1977), including artists such as Ashley Bickerton, Robert Longo (both CalArts alumni), and Cindy Sherman; alongside the wider community of artists studying at CalArts at this time, such as James Casebere, Mike Kelley, Matt Mullican, Tony Oursler, and James Welling, most of whom performed in her work, and who went on to transform the role of performance in visual arts in ground-breaking ways.
Beckman developed a close relationship with Kelley when he first moved to LA from Detroit to study at CalArts, which fortuitously began when Kelley was seeking somewhere to live and Beckman offered him her apartment while she was away in New York. Beckman and Kelley shared many interests that played out in their work during this period; particularly in relationship to objecthood, performance, and live image making—ideas that arose from their investigation of etymology, in terms of how we learn what “things” are, ascribing new psychological meanings to sculptural props. This concept was also explored by California based French artist Guy de Cointet who used simple, colorful geometric, props as symbolic tools in his scripted plays of the 70s and 80s, which greatly influenced Kelley. Kelley first performed in Beckman’s films in the late 70s, after Beckman saw his early performances at CalArts and greatly enjoyed the way he moved and spoke. As such, she devised specific roles for him that magnified his performance style and characteristics and they went on to collaborate on numerous occasions—including Kelley’s key role in Beckman’s celebrated film Cinderella, 1986—and co-authoring the film Blind County in 1989, inspired by one of Kelley’s favorite short stories by H.G. Wells, The Country of the Blind, 1904.
Beckman’s films and installations often explore the logic of group sports and computer gaming and combine choreographed theatrical performances to camera, staged in complex set designs, in works such as You The Better, 1983—which utilizes games of chance to propel the action. Beckmann conjures bold, painterly scenes, often using primary colors as recurring motifs for sets, props, and costumes, a unifying method that recalls early Surrealist painting—which deployed amorphous colored objects as symbols—as well as the use of color blocking in experimental film by artists such as Paul Sharits in the 1970s. Many of Beckman’s works adapt and subvert well known fairy-tales to comment on contemporary social and political narratives—for example she re-envisioned Cinderella in her titular film from 1986, to critique the ongoing constraints imposed on women by society. Alongside this, Beckman employs striking soundtracks composed in collaboration with musicians—many of which use Beckman’s own voice and include traditional and electronic instruments—to set the tone, pace, and emotional effect of her films. Over the years she has worked with musicians such as Brooke Halpin, David Linton, and Sonic Youth.
Beckman’s work has been shown at festivals, museums, and galleries around the world. Solo exhibitions include Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland, Le Magasin, Grenoble, France, Tate Modern, London, MOCA, Los Angeles, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C., and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Her works are in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Anthology Film Archives, New York, and the Zabludowicz Collection, London.
Brooke Halpin, a Connecticut native, is an accomplished pianist, composer, painter, broadcaster and published author. As a composer, Brooke composed the music to the Academy Award winning film Molly’s Pilgrim, the PBS special More Than Broken Glass – Memories of Kristallnacht. He has worked with Ericka Beckman and her films since 1976, having composed music for her films including, Reach Capacity, Hiatus, Cinderella, You The Better, Out of Hand, and The Broken Rule. Brooke has also worked with film director Kirby Dick and composed music for the films I Am Not a Freak and Men Who Are Men. Brooke has also composed music for the Emmy Nominated TV film Childhood Lost. A recipient of a MacDowell Arts Colony Fellowship, Brooke is a graduate of California Institute of the Arts and The Hartford Conservatory of Music.
Emily Coates is an interdisciplinary dance artist and writer who has performed internationally with New York City Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project, Twyla Tharp Dance, and Yvonne Rainer. Her choreographic work has been commissioned and presented by Danspace Project, Performa, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Works & Process at the Guggenheim, Ballet Memphis, Wadsworth Atheneum, University of Chicago, and Yale Art Gallery, among others. She directs the dance studies concentration at Yale University, where she is Professor in the Practice in Theater and Performance Studies with a secondary appointment in the Directing Program at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale. She co-authored with particle physicist Sarah Demers the book Physics and Dance (Yale University Press 2019).
Singer-songwriter, vocalist/performer, and visual artist Georgeanne Kalweit, a Minneapolis native, has resided in Italy for 30 years. She was the lead in Ericka Beckman’s film Cinderella in 1986. Her alternative rock/post punk project, The Kalweit Project, released their EP Swiss Bikes in 2019. She is a guest singer-songwriter with the Milan based ambient electronic duo The Dining Room and will perform with them at the Italian Pavilion at Expo Dubai this Nov. 4th - 6th 2021. Her new album A Temporary Lie will be released in January 2022 on Sound To Be record label.
Matt Norman is a musician and recording artist from Petaluma, CA. He studied percussion and experimented with recording throughout his formal education, graduating from Bard College with a BA in music in 2014. He has since performed, recorded and produced for a range of projects based in the New York metropolitan area including dance and theatre productions and bands such as Lily and Horn Horse. He is currently underscoring an audiobook, drumming for the band Open Head and collaboratively producing multimedia content with artist Anina Ivry-Block (Palberta, Shit Love) under the name Insane Angel. You can listen to Matt Norman’s recordings at https://mattnorman.bandcamp.com/.
Miguel Anaya is a Mexican-American artist/performer/photographer born in Brownsville Tx. Mr. Anaya has danced for Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Co, White Oak Dance Project, Liz Gerring Dance Co and Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More. Mr. Anaya was Assistant Choreographer to Bill T. Jones on the Tony Award winning production Spring Awakening. *He will soon be signing back into the McKittrick Hotel.
BRAT is a pro choreographer/dancer with Grenadian-Nevisian roots living in NYC. BRAT is the founder of dance crew, Queen Moves, which connects and empowers women through dance and has choreographed and performed at BAM, Performa 19, Nasty Woman Art Exhibit, The Shed, VOGUE, Target, Coachella, VMAS, and The US Open.
Hana Bookman is an actor, dancer, and singer based in New York City. Born in California, Hana has grown up in both the San Francisco Bay Area and Tokyo, Japan. Her work ranges from film acting, songwriting, musical theatre, dance, to storytelling through different lenses, on screen and on stage.
demetries morrow, is a movement explorer originally from Clinton, MS now residing in Brooklyn, NY.
Dorian Jackson is a novice performer from Western Massachusetts. This is his second production ever. On other nights you'll find him waiting tables.
Madison Ward is a multidisciplinary artist hailing from Austin, Texas. In 2019 she graduated from the National Circus School of Montreal with a focus on aerial rope and acrobatics. When not on her rope she enjoys collaborations and explorations into different creative fields.
NOA RUI-PIIN WEISS
Noa Rui-Piin Weiss is a dancer, writer, and arts administrator based in Manhattan. As a dancer, he has performed works by Adrienne Truscott, Doug Varone, Bill T. Jones, Caroline Fermin, and Lucinda Childs, among others. He is a regular contributor to the Brooklyn Rail and Culturebot, where he writes about performance.
Megan Wright is a freelance dancer, arts administrator, and educator. Formerly with the Stephen Petronio Company (New York) and the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company (San Francisco), she has over a decade of international and national touring and teaching experience. She studies labor relations at the CUNY's School of Labor and Urban Studies.
Jasmine Golestaneh was born in the swamps of Florida, and comes from a long line of Persian Latvians that materialized from algae infested waters. She grew up in London, then took up dueling at Oxford University where she graduated with a BA in History. Shortly after, she put down the sword to head for New York City where she still lives, writes and performs music with her band Tempers, makes collages, and summons / evicts demons.