Last month, Elizabeth Streb, Artistic Director of the Streb Laboratory for Action Mechanics (S.L.A.M.) had an inspiring public dialogue in Boston with Diane Paulus, Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theatre, about innovative ways of engaging audiences. We’ll share the video of this conversation as soon as it’s available – can’t wait!
Watch the above clip of the Brooklyn-based Streb Extreme Action Company and you can see why Elizabeth Streb is a natural to discuss engagement. Her groundbreaking work weaves action sports, acrobatics, and wild contraptions into mesmerizing dance. She recently engaged us with a nano-interview. Enjoy!
What artist do you most admire but work nothing like? Philippe Petit, Trisha Brown
What’s the best/worst day job you’ve ever had? I’ve never not-liked working- so I would restate the question to what was the ‘most arduous’ job I’ve ever held, and the answer to that would be cooking in NYC restaurants from 1975-1988-from age 25yrs to 38yrs.
If forced to choose, would you be a magic marker, a crayon, or a #2 pencil? I would be a #2 pencil because I like the smell and it reminds me of solving (or not) for hours on end Mathematical Problems.
How do you know when your work is done? I run out of time or money or get bored or all. Nothing else would act as the impetus for cessation of making a choreographic event.
What do you listen to while you create? I don’t listen to anything. Music is the true enemy of dance.
Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall? I don’t care which as long as all still contain time space and motion.
What films have influenced you as an artist? Das Boot, Stan Brakhage’s The Act of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes, The Way Things Go by Peter Fischli and David Weiss.
What are you currently reading? The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder/ Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs in Afghanstan by Greg Mortenson/ Warped Passages by Lisa Randall/ Notes on the Cinematographer by Robert Bresson
Have you ever revised your work on the spot, during a performance (intentionally, I mean)? Yes.
What’s the most embarrassing line of an artist’s statement you’ve ever written? “I’m searching for movement, its out there somewhere, I’ve got to find it” In a Dance Magazine article by Iris Fanger in the late 80s (even though its true).
Do you secretly dream of being a) a pop icon, b) an algebra teacher, and/or c) a crime-solver/writer a la Jessica Fletcher? No, I ardently dream of being who I am.
What’s the most surprising response to your art you’ve ever received? In 1985 in Basel, Switzerland-at the Kunsthause, Basel, when 195 audience members of 200, walked out on my show.
Like, what does your work MEAN? ‘Feeling the Move’ through ‘changing the ground.’
What’s next? The invention and staging of the first ever: ‘Moveical.’
Media: video promo from Elizabeth Streb’s STREB VS. GRAVITY tour, 2008.
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