August 18, 2016

Mountain, Fire, Holding Still

(Press Release)

MEDIA CONTACT                                                                                                                        
Desiree Zenowich
Getty Communications
(310) 440-7304

Produced by dance artist taisha paggett and sound artist Yann Novak

Photo of taisha paggett by Lisa Wahlander (l). Photo of Yann Novak by Chris Wormald (r), courtesy of the AxS Festival.

"Mountain, Fire, Holding Still.”
Saturday, August 27, 2016, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

LOS ANGELES - On Saturday, August 27, the Outer Peristyle garden at the Getty Villa will transform into a performance space for the free daylong program Mountain, Fire, Holding Still.” This artistic collaboration is part of the Getty Museum’s ongoing invitation to contemporary artists to respond to the Getty’s collections and sites through compelling interactive programs.
“Mountain, Fire, Holding Still.” is a ten-hour performance and sound installation by taisha paggett and Yann Novak exploring concepts of race, time, beauty, and loss in the communal spaces of the Getty Villa Outer Peristyle garden. The site-specific project serves as a meditation on death, labor, and blackness in antiquity as it relates to the contemporary body, and a performance-as-vigil for past and future lives.
“Yann and I have a shared interest in the experience of the performance, in bringing people together and making that togetherness more substantial by getting one’s sense of time and space to shift,” says paggett. “What frames my work is this sense of how the performer and the audience can simultaneously contribute to a shared experience.”
paggett adds, “There’s something political about bringing people together to create contemplative spaces, particularly in this time in which desire to share and produce and be a part of public space intersect with a new reality, the fear of flying bullets, the fear of becoming another victim of public violence. There’s something important about the slowing down and the parsing apart, creating space for this perpetual tenuous state.”
“I think of myself as a sound and visual artist. My work is rooted in experience, so I use sound, light, and projection to focus awareness on the present moment,” says Novak. “I like how sound and dance communicate experience and transcend written and spoken language.”

The performance/installation features costume and object design by visual artist Gregory Barnett. paggett’s choreography was created in collaboration with movement artist Marbles Jumbo Radio.
paggett and Novak recently spoke about their collaboration and inspirations on The Getty Iris blog:
About taisha paggett
taisha paggett is a Southern California-based queer Black artist whose individual and collaborative works for the stage, gallery and public space take up questions of the body, agency, and the phenomenology of race. paggett’s work seeks to de-center and reframe certain Western choreographic conventions and the ways in which bodies and spaces become normalized in both dance practices and the actions of daily life, by colliding them with socio-political metaphors and meaning. paggett’s work interrogates fixed notions and representations of Black and queer bodies through the construction of idiosyncratic structures and scores in which those subjects also become agents. paggett’s work has been presented at Danspace (New York), Defibrillator (Chicago), Commonwealth & Council (Los Angeles), LACE (Los Angeles), the Whitney Museum (NYC), the Doris McCarthy Gallery (Toronto), The Studio Museum in Harlem, and Diverseworks (Houston), amongst other sites. As a dancer, paggett currently works with Every House Has a Door, Meg Wolfe and with Ashley Hunt through their ongoing collaborative project, On movement, thought and politics. In previous years, paggett has done extensive dance work with David Rousseve/REALITY, Victoria Marks, Kelly Nipper, and Stanley Love Performance Group, amongst others.  Project support has come through the generosity of programs including Choreographers in Mentorship Exchange (CHIME), University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA), the Headlands, National Performance Network (NPN), Clockshop, and the Multi-Arts Production Fund (MAP) in conjunction with LACE, amongst others. paggett teaches in the Dance department at UC Riverside, holds an MFA from UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures/Dance program, and was a co-instigator of the LA-based dance journal project and discursive platform, itch.
About Yann Novak
Yann Novak is a sound and visual artist living and working in Los Angeles. Through the use of sound, light and space, he explores how these intangible materials can act as catalysts to focus our awareness on the present moment and alter our perception of time. Novak’s work, whether conceptual or rooted in phenomenon, are informed by his investigations of presence, stillness and mindfulness. Novak has presented his installation work at Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena; The Broad, Los Angeles; Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles; The Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles; Lawrimore Project, Seattle; Modern Art Museum of Medellín, Medellín; SFMoMA, San Francisco; Soundfjord, London; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York; among others.  His performance works have been experienced at the AxS Festival, Pasadena; Decibel Festival, Seattle; Forward Festival, Washington; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Human Resources, Los Angeles; LACMA, Los Angeles; Mutek Festival, Montreal; Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena; Oboro, Montreal; Resonant Forms Festival, Los Angeles; The Stone, New York; among others.
About Marbles Jumbo Radio
Marbles Jumbo Radio re-constellates the queer body from the margins to the center through dance, physical practice and discussion-based platforms that engage with the politics of place, belonging, and embodiment.  They are a CHIME grant recipient, and with mentor Simone Forti, created the performance practice Ice Bergs (2007-2009).  Marbles’s recent collaborations include performance for Meg Wolfe’s New Faithful Disco, Andrea Geyer’s video installation Truly Spun Never and Johanna Breiding’s installation, We Love Our Parents, We Fear Snakes, along with sound artist Yann Novak.  Central to their work is responding to the needs of genderqueer and trans identified people of color, which has included co-facilitating trainings with Fresh! White in the Bay Area, the woods and studio project with taisha paggett in conjunction with Pieter in Los Angeles, and their upcoming workshop, Wrecking Walden, as part of the SEEDS festival at Earthdance in Massachusetts.
About Gregory Barnett 
Gregory Barnett is an interdisciplinary performing and visual artist based in Los Angeles.  His recent work includes A Home For Wayward Satyrs, at The MOCA: Geffen Contemporary; Edenic Idyllic: I Can Take You To Heaven, Let Me Take You To Heaven, a series of interactive performances based on the adolescent game "Seven Minutes In Heaven" at ArtWorks Theatre; If This Were Any More Camp You Would Need A Tent/ This Is What I Want/ Our Technicolor Dream Dance, a VistaVision inspired public use dreamscape park at Human Resources; and Thrust Into A Better You, a durational gyration score centered around sweat soaking the crafted sheepskin panel it was executed on at The Hammer Museum.  Gregory is known for his employment of encoded imagery via costume and prop.  Blending historically accurate referencing with visual poeticism, these objects work to frame the non-linear narratives immanent in art making.  In addition to his own projects, Gregory has created tangible elements for various artists including choreographer Meg Wolfe, Ann Magnuson, award winning burlesque performer Diamondback Annie, Rupaul, and Lady Gaga.

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Visiting the Getty Villa
The Getty Villa is open Wednesday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Tuesdays and January 1, Thanksgiving Day and December 25; open on July 4. Summer hours through Aug. 27, 2016: Saturdays open until 9 p.m. Admission to the Getty Villa is always free. A free, timed ticket is required for admission. Tickets should be ordered in advance, or on the day of your visit, at or at (310) 440-7300. Parking is $15 per car, but reduced to $10 after 3 p.m. Groups of 15 or more must make reservations by phone. For more information, call (310) 440-7300 (English or Spanish); (310) 440-7305 (TTY line for the deaf or hearing impaired). The Getty Villa is at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, California.
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