The Labors: 2011
The Labors combined movement, text and data-visualization into an exploration of the gestures of laboring bodies and the poetics and mechanics of the night sky. As in-residence researchers at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the artists Judd Morrissey and Mark Jeffery interviewed visitors about their occupations and individual and familial labor histories. Using the interviews as source material, they created text and movement sequences in collaboration with 10 performers. The choreography in The Labors was plotted in response to a real-time map of celestial objects over the building constructed from an online catalogue of star data.
This work was performed daily, accruing data and movement, from January 11-16, as part of the exhibition Without You I'm Nothing, curated by Tricia Van Eck.
The Labours (UK version): 2011
Following the MCA performances, we were invited to create a new iteration of the work in the Lincolnshire region of the United Kingdom. Inspired by Greek Mythology, former Lincoln resident Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem Ulysses, and the astronomical mechanics of the night sky, the project explored gestures of labour amongst the people of Lincolnshire and was developed through traveling the region and interviewing residents whose stories informed the final performance. Involving an extensive cast of volunteer performers including students, dancers, air cadets, knitters, and church-bell ringers, the project's culmination was presented at twilight on the summer solstice. It began and ended at Lincoln Cathedral, diverging along multiple routes with smaller constellations of performers activating different local sites. The Labours incorporated a real-time celestial map of the sky over Lincoln as a score for its choreographed performance sequences and geo-physical trajectories.
The Labours was commissioned by Nightjar, a program initiated by independent producer Jo Mardell to present temporary artworks between the hours of dusk and dawn. The project was funded by Igniting Ambition, a Cultural Olympiad program curating work in conjunction with the London 2012 Games with support from Legacy Trust UK, the European Regional Development Fund, the East Midlands Development Agency, and Arts Council England.
The project was further supported through residencies and workshops at Lincolnshire Dance, Dance4, Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, the University of Lincoln, and The Choreographic Lab, the University of Northampton