[ISEA2016] Artist Statement: Megan Young (Meglouise) — Scores For Distributed Dancing

Artist Statement 

Public Art. Interactive System, Performance, and Digital Archive, 2016. FRIDAY 17:00 – 19:00
On the Bridge over Cornwall Road [Going to the Run Run Shaw Media Center]

“Scores for Distributed Dancing” is an iterative project that accumulates over time and through presentation in diverse spaces. It engages viewers as participants and performers as facilitators of experience. This durational event appears from within everyday interactions and highlights the preexisting movement systems of public spaces. Social programming modifications are printed on playing cards in the form of logical operators. As participants attempt their scores, the system responds. Participants change the tone and pace of the space through a collaborative phase shift. The intervention displays how small, accumulated actions deliver results on a grand scale.
Every project space is digitally documented with pre- and post-rupture layered into an experimental video portrait for online archives and exhibition display.
This work addresses the nature of identity formation as it intersects acculturation and social structures. Our bodies are our first tools for experiencing the world, and yet how we see or interpret the world is filtered through the lens of our physical experiences. For that reason, culturally enforced physical precepts (like crossing legs when sitting, or looking down when near strangers) become inextricably linked to our sense of self. If we are consistently told to take up less space in our physical actions, we can come to believe that we do not need, or worse, do not deserve to take up as much space as others. To further complicate the delicate relationship of body and identity, we are living in a posthuman world where our physical experiences are often augmented by technological advances. The logical operators of programming parameters bind our interactions with screen-based media. Simply put, we can only perform a predetermined set of actions with a pre-programmed set of responses when interfacing with responsive media systems. We become accustomed to performing within a pre-set group of actions.
Scores for Distributed Dancing hacks the body in the same way other projects hack technology. It breaks the congruity of everyday, introduces new parameters, and provides positive feedback for what might otherwise be perceived as failure. It de-emphasizes virtuosity of movement in dance-like contexts and affirms the refined expertise of everyday actions. The project exposes the rule-based parameters of social interactions and even personal movement choices. Scores for Distributed Dancing presents these concepts in an experimental and emergent digital format.

  • Megan Young or Meglouise (USA) believes that physicality is our most potent resource and she includes it as an essential ingredient in all her work. She craves sensation, gain insight from interaction, and understand that effort makes her stronger. These virtues inform MegLouise’s deeply personal, highly sensitized movement pieces. Physicality has a power beyond the purely visual realm. It comes with implications of consent or resistance. When physically consenting, without thought, to the structures and systems around us, we lose agency; our actions can lose potency. MegLouise’s work highlights the moments of choice in everyday actions, common habits, and social practices. She recognizes walking, sitting, waiting, and greeting as trained communicative actions. She appreciates the living codes embedded in even the smallest actions and share that reverence through an interdisciplinary arts practice. MegLouise ruptures physical norms, dedicate time and space for movement re-education and highlight subtlety as a mighty tool. Her work is firmly situated within contemporary social contexts. It includes installations of mediated bodies, movement+media performances, and experimental films. The essential fulcrum of the work is grounded in the minds and bodies of the  viewers. MegLouise develops original movements for each new piece and resist codified forms. The raw physical material is culled from ongoing research of human behavior, including empirical studies of social and experimental psychology combined with nonlinear personal explorations. She gives viewers deep access to her work through proximity and by enlisting them as co-conspirators. They experience her offerings through the interface of their  bodies.  meglouise.info

Full text and photo (PDF) p. 190-192

Development of this project is supported by artist MegLouise’s 2016 Creative Workforce Fellowship. The Fellowship is a program of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture. Funding for the Fellowship program is made possible by the generous support of Cuyahoga County residents through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.