Panoply Performance Laboratory
Work for Live Art Danmark
2013 “Any Size Mirror is a Dictator” at Hitparaden 1
Any Size Mirror is a Dictator
For our first Hitparaden festival, the Brooklyn/New Yor based performance company Panoply Performance Laboratory, in their own words “actualized a framework from their current long-form social performance in progress, Any Size Mirror is a Dictator, a relational opera of refractions and “inaccurate” reflections”. Performing outside on a rainy night in Copenhagen, Valerie Kuehne, Brian McCorkle and Esther Neff transformed the complex theoretical theorems of their personal libretti into weird, striking images, involving the audience into micro rituals, performed with everyday objects like a ketchup bottle and a meat tenderizer, ice cubes and paper plates, and made them move about and interact with the performers. Soaking plaster bandages in rain puddles, a white hollow object the size of a human head was carefully produced and then unceremoniously carried away. All this was accompanied by a very specific PPL music, blending repetitious chords with a wholly individual, rhythmic, a capella style of singing. Panoply Performance Laboratory, once a space for social, theoretical and aesthetic experimentation, still a loose network of unusually smart and friendly performers, is one of the most exciting voices on the millenial performance scene.
About the Artists
Panoply Performance Laboratory (PPL) is Esther Neff and Brian McCorkle working with collaborators such as (in this instance and quite often) the performance artist, writer, and cellist Valerie Kuehne. PPL combines conceptual music, sculpture, and performance art. Each site-and-context-specific performance theorizes compositional and constructive systems, ideological structures, modes of production, and epistemic genealogies via precise, viscereal actions. Often participatory and created in the moment with a collaborating audience, PPL performances swing violently between the hyper-structural and the indeterminate, dealing with causation, reaction, conception, cognition, and active human practices of construction and reality-projection.
In addition to and often as social performance work, PPL researches social construction and communal cognition by performing organizational actions ranging from the production of operas through the organization of conferences on philosophical and disciplinary questions. These larger and longer-term PPL projects have many layers, existing as clouds of interviews, public “Focus Workshops,” interactive surveys, theoretical writings, video, participatory frameworks, hand-made props, public meetings, installation elements, roles, and pieces of through-written music and text. These projects have a collective, public form, culminating as hyper-complex and tightly wound long-form “operas,” often rehearsed over a period of 6-10 months and performed in collaboration with audiences, artists, and “non-artists” from all over the world and from many different walks of life.
Here’s PPL’s website. And here is PPL-founder Esther Neff’s current main project MARSH.