rehearsal is a convening for artists and art workers to lead a group through a participatory experience to incubate an idea, question, or practice. This project was developed to support artists and art workers without graduate degrees through community, critique, and a shared platform, in response to a lack of resources for emerging artists to develop their work in a social context.
In August, we wrote eight artists and art workers, inviting them to spend a weekend with us. We asked each participant to prepare by considering their practice as a toolbox:
Which tool would benefit from being applied in a social context? How might others benefit from a demonstration of that tool? Share one of those tools with the group.
We workshopped each participant’s idea among the organizers before the retreat to begin making space for incubation. Several months later, on a warm November morning, rehearsal began. We boarded a train to Amagansett, seated in one car. For the next three days at Crush Curatorial, we remained together—cooking, sleeping in shared rooms, doing laundry—until parting ways again in the city.
We started the weekend by learning about curatorial and community organizing work from Karen. Then Mira asked that we empty the pockets of our packed bags and write narratives about the objects found there. Justin led us through an investigation of the complexities and histories of color and natural dyes. Afterward, Sunny asked us to consider the meaning embedded in our signatures. The next day, we walked the grounds with Cloud to contemplate the role of nature in activism. Lili prompted us to gather and archive our receipts. We made lunch and did the dishes before creating costumes from shared cloth, role-playing as elements of a painting for Kira’s video. Lai Yi asked us to create our own databases and then dance them out.
In quiet moments, we stepped inside a landscape revealed by a camera obscura built by Eliza and shared stories around a campfire. As the sun rose on Monday, we went on a walk with Horizon Tours, led by guides Katie and beck, to begin unlearning how to see the horizon. We reflected on our forms of critique and facilitation with Josie. Then we took the train back into the city.
While rehearsal is considered a platform for performances, it is also a performance in itself, an arena for play, one that has required choreography on the part of the organizers, and contributions from each participant.
Suggested further readings, references, and resources: