As a young gay in a Catholic all-boy’s high school, I was often reminded of my outsider’s perspective. But, when communion, a sacrament in which only practicing Catholics (and I have never been one) are supposed to participate, was celebrated at an all school mass, I just couldn’t help myself. I had to join in. Breaking bread. Sharing wine. And muttering Latin phrases. It was the best kind of community performance – an opportunity to transcend our individuality and draw closer through shared experience. So now I invite you to leave the rigid confines of organized religion and join me for an intimate walk outside. I’ll lead you in a heightened sensory experience as we share new texts, create ritual gestures and mold the outside into our sanctuary. But, don’t forget to say your prayers, things might get rough when we try to get a little bit closer.
This walk is what you need it to be. We’re all in this together. Since you will determine the duration, please plan accordingly.
Todd Shalom and Niegel Smith of Elastic City take the whole family backstage to play paintings, swirl sounds, and ascend to stardom.
“Artists Todd Shalom and Niegel Smith conduct small groups of people around the grounds of the Abrons Art Center, training everyone’s attention, with a gentle and inviting playfulness, on the smallest and most quotidian details imaginable — with low-key but delighting results.” San Francisco Bay Guardian 1/17/12
Starting at the famous fountain in City Hall Park, participants will walk, dance and commune with the architecture of our public buildings and monuments. Through a focused physical and vocal relationship we will extend the range of the objects which commemorate our society and our humanity– giving them greater sonic fields and wider physical footprints. And, using our own experiences and the existing monuments as inspiration, we will make new monuments to share with all who pass by.
My teenage years were spent in Detroit. A city in continual decline. One that refuses to lose itself to those who fetishize its ruins. It’s been 10 years since my return. I do it carefully. Can I speak for this place where I no longer live? Yes. And I’m taking you with me.
“[Detroit] belongs to those who have memories of it, and make memories in it.” -Liz, a Detroit resident, New York Times, Aug. 4, 2010.
I invite you to walk with me in Detroit. We’ll start in New York and hop on a plane to the Motor City. I’ve got some shit to work out–you too? Pack your baggage. We’ll come back with less. For 3 days and 2 nights, we’ll sculpt, listen, light and sing. We’ll give ourselves to decay and possibility through techniques derived from cultural anthropology, performance art and experimental theater. We will make monuments with our bodies in response to public spaces; project words on to abandoned buildings to give them voices; volunteer at an urban farm to feed the hungry; and cleanse one another with the help of Tanaka Min ritualistic practices.
Participants will walk, dance and commune with the architecture of our public buildings and monuments. Through a focused physical and vocal relationship we will extend the range of the objects which commemorate our society and our humanity– giving them greater sonic fields and wider physical footprints. And, using our own experiences and the existing monuments as inspiration, we will make new monuments to share with all who pass by. An ideal walk for people of all ages.
Beginning near the steps of City Hall, you are invited to embark on a walking game of “Follow the Leader” in the neighborhood saturated with the offices of local, state and national politicians. We’ll play on the steps, stretch out in metal detectors and throw our voices – all in an effort to remind our leaders that we will not be lead silently or blindly. Together, we’ll confront contemporary notions of security and surveillance and shadow the daily business of our elected leaders through public buildings and back rooms.