Seeking Dance Artist Collaborators for Upcoming Terrain Biennial / The Martin Exhibitions
Chicago-based artist Michael Workman's Ghost Army is a featured art project of the 2021 Terrain Biennial, and part of the upcoming exhibition “Source Recursions” at Chicago West Town neighborhood art space The Martin.
Ghost Army is a multivalent personal art project, intended to prompt mourning for the more than 600,000+ Americans needlessly lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to those unmourned who go unclaimed to this day. Workman is dedicating this project to his uncle Mark Workman, who died in the late 1980’s, one of the first victims of the A.I.D.S. epidemic, who was shunned for his homosexuality by his family, and whose grave goes unrecognized and without a stone marker to this day.
ALLEN THE CHALK LINE GHOST is depicted as the chalk outline shape typically seen in crime scene photos, which were historically never actually used for police evidence but were, in fact, used by news photographers to visualize victim's bodies for readers.
Allen the Chalk Line Ghost was originally conceived of as a figure to be used for dance notation, and as a figure that could be drawn on a page á la Remy Charlip's "Airmail Dances," which recipients of the drawings could then use to reproduce specific "anchor" positions for developing their own unique dance movements. Drawings of new anchor positions are ongoing and, when collected, comprise a Dance of the Lost that can be performed by anyone, using the anchor positions as starting points and improvising their own movement between them.
For some time now, variations on the Allen figure have been distributed as a sticker project throughout Chicago, and the character also appears in a work-in-progress graphic novel by the artist, Allen images from which can be viewed here. Anyone may download the sticker template here to distribute on their own, formatted for Avery 5163 mailing label sheets (make sure to use weatherproof labels or they fade quickly), with ten 2" x 4" stickers per page.
NOW, for the Ghost Army Project, I invite all dance artists working solo or in a group of any kind to create dances based on the existing range of "anchor positions" available so far, coming up with your own improvised movement phrases as you move into and out of each position, from any and all of the Allen and Ghost Army from the Allen and Ghost Army images here. Please note that each anchor position you employ should be distinctly recognizable in your documentation.
Dances will be shared both on the artist's website, on social media and as part of this year's Terrain Biennial materials. In addition, we eventually hope to produce both a book detailing the Ghost Army project as part of a graphemological study series situated within a larger practice of written choreography, also a recurring subject of the artist's interest, some past examples from which can be viewed here.
Performances may also be filmed *at* the upcoming exhibition "Source Recursions" at West Town art space The Martin, where new Ghost Army anchor positions will be premiered Sept. 30-Oct. 10, with an opening reception Oct. 2, 6-9pm. Dances filmed there and elsewhere will also be presented as part of the online portion of this exhibition. Additional details on the exhibition and a full schedule of programming are available here.
Each performance included in this iteration of the Allen the Chalk-Line Ghost series may be completed anywhere, though performances may also be filmed in Chicago on the sidewalk in front of any home, apartment or space participating in this year's Terrain Biennial. Please visit https://terrainexhibitions.org for a map of all participating Ghost Army locations.
Performances may also be staged anywhere on the streets where a Ghost Army sticker, or wheat-pasted poster has been put up. Each and all of the places where these stickers and posters appear are considered "memorial spaces" for those lost and unmourned. Some anchor positions may only be discovered by seeking them out on the city streets, and new positions will occasionally be added to the Ghost Army section of the artist's website throughout the run of the Biennial.
If there is sufficient material for an expansion of the project into a larger, centralized performance of Dance of the Lost, we hope to eventually be able to also produce a definitive dance performance where all the select collaborators are paid for their work.
PLEASE DO NOT POST YOUR VIDEOS ONLINE PRIOR to their publication by the artist, or they will be considered previously premiered.
There is no minimum or maximum time length for the dances.
You will be asked to upload your video, along with you c.v. that of any collaborators, and to provide some additional information.
You may submit up to 5 variations of their Ghost Army interpretation. We reserve the right to not include any submissions that are not sufficiently clear video, or for any other relevant reason.
No submissions will be accepted after Nov. 1, since it will be too close to the end date of the Biennial, and videos submitted earliest will be included in all available programs.
Thank you for participating in the Ghost Army project!