What Could We Build? Part II: Imagining Architectures for Performance

Wednesday, October 7
Segal Theatre

Photo by Danist Soh

PRELUDE 2015 invited a handful of theatermakers to conceive original visions for performance architecture—anything from a building to a technology, a platform, or any other kind of structure. The results will be exhibited throughout Prelude. At this event, participating artists will present their ideas: what would they build if they could? What spaces are missing from the urban fabric of New York City today when it comes to live arts? Could their imaginations plant seeds for future realities? Princeton architecture professor Michael Young will respond to the projects.

Participating artists include Annie Dorsen, David Levine, Caden Manson and Jemma Nelson, Ryan McNamara, Alexandro Segade and Malik Gaines, and Mac Wellman.

  • Annie Dorsen
    Photo by Stephen Dodd

    Annie Dorsen is a writer and director who works in a variety of fields, including theatre, film, dance and, as of 2009, algorithmic performance. Most recently, her algorithmic music-theater piece Yesterday Tomorrow premiered at the Holland Festival. Her previous algorithm project, A Piece of Work, has been seen at On the Boards (Seattle), Parc de la Villette (Paris), Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival (NYC), and others. In 2012 she made Spokaoke, a participatory karaoke project that uses political and historical speeches in place of pop songs. That work premiered as part of Steirischer Herbst’s Truth is Concrete marathon, and has also performed at Crossing the Line Festival (NYC), at Black Box Theater (Oslo) and BIT Teatergarasjen (Bergen).

    Her first algorithmic theatre piece, Hello Hi There, premiered at Streirischer Herbst (Graz) in 2010, and has been presented at over 15 theaters and festivals in the US and Europe, as well as, in installation form, at Bitforms Gallery in New York. She is the co-creator of the 2008 Broadway musical Passing Strange, which she also directed. Spike Lee made a film of her production of the piece, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009, and screened everywhere from the Tribeca Film Festival to South by Southwest Film Festival and The Tribeca Film Festival, and was released theatrically by IFC in 2010 before being broadcast on PBS’ Great Performances. Also in 2010, she collaborated with choreographer Anne Juren on Magical (premiere at ImPulsTanz Festival Vienna) and with Ms. Juren and DD Dorviller on Pièce Sans Paroles (brut Vienna and Rencontres Choréographiques Internationales Seine-St-Denis, Paris).

    She is the recipient of a 2008 OBIE Award and the 2014 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts.

    Upcoming: Spokaoke at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago/ Chicago Humanities Festival, Oct 27 & 28


  • David Levine / CiNE
    Photo by Julieta Cervantes

    David Levine divides his time between New York and Berlin. His performance and exhibition work have been presented by Creative Time, MoMA, Crossing The Line, Mass MoCA, PS122, the Luminato Festival, and the Watermill Center. He was a 2012-13 Radcliffe Fellow in Visual Arts at Harvard University, and is Professor of Art at Bard College Berlin, where he is the Director of Visual and Performing Arts. His work has been featured in Artforum, Frieze, Theater, and the New York Times, and his writing has appeared in Parkett, Theater, Cabinet and Triple Canopy. He recently spoke about Bruce Nauman’s work for the DIA Foundation’s Artists on Artists lecture series, and will participate in the exhibition Hotel Theory at REDCAT this October.

    CiNE is an unstable, occasional, anti-utopian collective which last coalesced around the Public Theater’s 2004 search for an Artistic Director. CiNE’s report, *Re-Public*, was published in Theater 35:3.




  • Caden Manson and Jemma Nelson
    Photo Courtesy of the Artists

    Caden Manson and Jemma Nelson are the co-founders of Big Art Group and editors of contemporaryperformance.com. They have co-created 18 Big Art Group productions; published essays in performance literature (PAJ, Theater Journal, Mouvement, Theatre Heute); received funding from The Jerome Foundation,The Greenwall Foundation, DNA (Andrew W. Mellon foundation and Arts International), Florence Gould Foundation, MAP Fund, étant donnés;  and toured their work to leading festivals and presenters of experimental performance (Hebbel am Ufer Berlin, Festival d’Automne à Paris, La Vie de Festival Rome, Desingel Antwerp, Wexner Center for the Arts, REDCAT, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Kitchen).

  • Ryan McNamara
    Photo Courtesy of the Artist

    Ryan McNamara lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His work has been featured at MoMA PS1, Kunstmuseum Bonn, The Kitchen, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, White Columns, ICI London, Watermill Performance Center, Elizabeth Dee Gallery New York, The Garage Moscow, Showroom MAMA Rotterdam, Mary Boone Gallery New York, the Playboy Theater Miami Beach, the 2nd Athens Biennale and The High Line. His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.



  • Alexandro Segade and Malik Gaines

    Alexandro Segade is an artist whose work spans fields of video, theater and visual art, with an emphasis on collaboration across disciplines. Segade is a founding member of the collective My Barbarian, with Malik Gaines and Jade Gordon, an LA and New York-based trio whose performances enact historical narratives and rehearse social situations.  The group draws on performance art, political theater, queer camp, institutional critique, folk plays, musicals and music videos to construct playful performances that encourage both imagination and presence. They have presented their work nationally and internationally, in solo shows at Museo El Eco, Mexico City, the Hammer Museum, LA, Goethe-insitut, Participant Inc., New York; and in exhibitions including the 2014 Whitney Biennial, the 2010 Baltic Triennial, Performa 05 and 07, and many others. In addition to My Barbarian, Segade collaborates with Gaines under the name Courtesy the Artists, with projects at The Studio Museum in Harlem, MoMA PS1, The Kitchen, Rogaland Kunstsenter, Performa 13, and others. Segade has presented solo performance and video work at the TBA Festival, Portland; at LAXART, REDCAT and Artist Curated Projects in Los Angeles; UC Riverside; Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena; Migrating Forms at Anthology Film Archive in New York; Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco; and Vox Populi in Philadelphia. Segade earned a BA in English from UCLA and an MFA in interdisciplinary studio art from UCLA where he studied with conceptual artist Mary Kelly. Segade is co-chair of the Film/Video department at Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts and teaches in the BFA program at Parsons the New School in New York City.


    Malik Gaines is a writer and artist. His published articles include “The Quadruple-Consciousness of Nina Simone” in Women & Performance, “City After 50 Years’ Living: LA’s Differences in Relation” in Art Journal, and many short essays and interviews about art and performance for journals, magazines, museum publications, and artists’ monographs. His forthcoming book, Excesses of the Sixties: Black Performance on the Outskirts of the Left considers 1960s performance in a transnational political context.

    Gaines has performed and exhibited extensively with the group My Barbarian. The trio has presented work at venues including MoMA, The Kitchen, New Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem, Participant Inc. (New York), LACMA, Hammer Museum, REDCAT, MOCA (Los Angeles), SFMoMA (San Francisco), ICA (Philadelphia), Museo El Eco (Mexico City), Power Plant, (Toronto), ICA (London), De Appel (Amsterdam), El Matadero (Madrid), Peres Projects (Berlin), Torpedo (Oslo), Galleria Civica (Trento), Townhouse Gallery (Cairo), Yaffo 23 (Jerusalem) and many others. The group has been included in the Whitney, Montreal, California and Performa Biennials and the Baltic Triennial and has received grants and awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Art, Creative Capital, City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs and Art Matters. Their work has been discussed in the New Yorker, New York Times, LA Times, Artforum, Art in America, Frieze, Texte zur Kunst, Bomb and various international newspapers, and by scholars including Shannon Jackson in The Drama Review, Tavia Nyong’o in Social Text, and José Muñoz in his book “Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity.”

    Gaines is assistant professor of Performance Studies at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is also a visiting faculty member in Film/Video at Bard College’s Milton Avery School of the Arts. From 2011-15 he served as assistant professor in the Department of Art & Art History at Hunter College, CUNY.  Gaines holds a PhD in Theater and Performance Studies from UCLA and an MFA in Writing from CalArts.

  • Mac Wellman
    Mac Wellman, photo by Timothy Keating; Meghan Finn, photo by Evelyn Finn; Alaina Ferris, photo by Matt Korahais

    Mac Wellman’s recent work includes Muazzez at The Chocolate Factory produced by PS122 in January 2014, 3 2’s; or AFAR at Dixon Place in October 2011, The Difficulty of Crossing a Field (with composer David Lang) at Montclair in the fall of 2006 (and elsewhere more recently), and 1965 UU for performer Paul Lazar, and directed by Stephen Mellor at the Chocolate Factory in the fall of 2008. He has received numerous honors, including NEA, Guggenheim, and Foundation of Contemporary Arts fellowships. In 2003 he received his third Obie, for lifetime Achievement.

    In 2006 his third novel, Q’s Q, was published by Green Integer, and in 2008 a volume of stories, A Chronicle of the Madness of Small Worlds, was published by Trip Street Press as well as a new collection of plays The Difficulty of Crossing a Field from Minnesota Press. His books of poetry include Miniature (2002), Strange Elegies (2006), Split the Stick (2012) from Roof Books, and Left Glove (2011), from Solid Objects Press. His novel Linda Perdido won the 2011 FC2 Catherine Doctorow Prize for Innovative Fiction. He is Distinguished Professor of Play Writing at Brooklyn College.

    Upcoming: The Offending Gesture, premiering January 6 – 23, 2016 at The Connelly Theater produced by The Tank as part of Flint & Tinder in association with 3-Legged Dog.


  • Michael Young
    Photo Courtesy of the Artist

    Michael Young is an architect and educator practicing in New York City where he is a founding partner of the architectural design studio Young & Ayata. Young & Ayata recently received a first place prize to design the Bauhaus Museum in Dessau, Germany. They were recipients of the 2014 Young Architects Prize from the Architectural League of New York, and were finalists in 2015 to design a pavilion for the MoMA Young Architects Program at the Istanbul Modern.

    Michael is an Assistant Professor at the Cooper Union. He has previously taught design studios and seminars at Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Syracuse, Pratt, and Innsbruck University. In addition to practice and teaching, Michael is invested in writing and research in relation to the confluence of geometry, representation, and aesthetics. His work has been exhibited recently in New York, Los Angeles, Istanbul, Chicago, Barcelona, Princeton, and Lexington.