The Disappearance Portraits
The Disappearance Portraits is choreographed specifically for the Parrish's Bacon Family South Meadow and corresponds with the surrounding landscape of the Hamptons art museum. The piece is set to a music composition by Soundwalk Collective. Audience members will be seated outdoors on the south-facing benches that are incorporated into the architecture and extend the length of theHerzog & De Meuron designed museum.
“For this original performance, Jonah Bokaer uses movement to explore the timely subject of human migration around the Mediterranean Basin, a narrative of personal significance to the artist, who is of Tunisian heritage,” said Andrea Grover, Century Arts Foundation Curator of Special Projects at the Parrish, and curator of Platform.
Bokaer, a recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, is an interdisciplinary artist who merges choreography, visual art, film, and artistic research. He has cultivated a new form of choreography with a structure that relies on visual art and design, with the goal of transforming how the public views and understands dance.
The origin of The Disappearance Portraits dates back to 2002 when Bokaer began exploring Mediterranean migration, primarily through autobiography and research, to uncover the facts of his émigré father’s Tunisian heritage.
In 2011, Bokaer began to work with Soundwalk Collective, a group of nomadic composers of Mediterranean descent, to create a live performance work addressing the urgency of the current Mediterranean migration crisis, including the displacement of people. In addressing this important issue in their work over the years, the collaborators have each attempted to distinguish migrants from asylum seekers and from refugees, calling attention to the changing landscape of the Mediterranean basin, through choreography, sound field recordings, and staging in architecturally resonant locales.
“With its disappearance and the ephemerality of the act, choreography has its own kind of economy," stated Bokaer. "It never becomes an object: it vanishes. My work tries to participate in that conversation, and develop its history. In The Disappearance Portraits there is a cultural aspect, too. In terms of practicing choreographers, directors, artists—we don’t see many from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). People disappear, objects disappear, images disappear—as in our changing world, in 2016.”
Platform: Jonah Bokaer
The Disappearance Portraits is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Platform: Jonah Bokaer. Platform is an open-ended invitation to a single artist to present a project within the building and grounds of the Parrish. The series asks participating artists to consider the museum as a potential site for works that transcend disciplinary boundaries and encourage new ways to experience art, architecture, and the landscape. Previous invited artists to the series are Tara Donovan (2015); Maya Lin (2014); Josephine Meckseper (2013) and Hope Sandrow (2012).
Bokaer's Platform project also features NEITHER, a two-channel video projection of a new choreographic work for camera, shot within the dramatic vistas of the Parrish Art Museum. The artist has also created 122 choreographic drawings based on the musical score of Morton Feldman and Samuel Beckett's 1977 opera by the same name. The delicate mylar drawings are now installed, suspended from the series of wooden beams that form the Museum's “spine” running above the central hallway and spanning over 350 feet. The drawings are installed unframed, subject to the air currents of the museum. They were sited in this manner in the anticipation the works will sway with the motion of the air.
Jonah Bokaer was born to Tunisian and American parents and has been active as a choreographer since 2002. He has created over 55 works in a wide range of mediums, such as film, opera, applications, and installation, in a variety of venues that include theaters, concert halls, galleries, art fairs and more. Bokaer works internationally, exhibiting and touring worldwide.
Bokaer has created works that merge choreography, visual art, and moving images for Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, PS1 MoMA, The New Museum, The Museum of Arts & Design, MASS MoCA, Miami MOCA, MAC Marseille, IVAM Valencia, Palazzo Delle Arti Napoli, Kunsthalle St. Gallen, SCAD Museum of Art, Ludwig Museum of Budapest, MUDAM Luxembourg, La Triennale di Milano, and others. Bokaer’s frequent artistic collaborators include Daniel Arsham, Anne Carson, Richard Chai, Merce Cunningham, Anthony McCall, Abbott Miller, Tino Sehgal, and Robert Wilson (2007-present).
In November 2016, three works by Bokaer in collaboration with visual artist Daniel Arsham will be presented as part of BAM's Next Wave Festival. The program includes the New York premiere of Rules Of The Game (2016), a work for eight dancers set to an original score by Pharrell Williams for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, inspired by the antics of Luigi Pirandello’s play. The work combines dance, video and sculpture. Click here for details.
For more information about Jonah Bokaer, visit jonahbokaer.net.
BASIC FACTS: The Disappearance Portraits by Jonah Bokaer will be performed on Friday, July 22, 2016 at 6 p.m. "Platform: Jonah Bokaer" is on view from July 9, 2016 to October 16, 2016. The Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway Water Mill, NY 11976. www.parrishart.org.
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