Awkward Moments Series III was a three hour multi-disciplinary live installation and performance initiated by Mimi Xu and co-developed between twelve volunteer student artists from Oberlin’s Studio Art, Cinema studies, Dance, and TIMARA departments at Oberlin College and Oberlin Conservatory. Divided into six groups, each team was given specific artistic mediums, chapters and musical keys, and encouraged to collaborate as a means of altering fields of perception.
The three hour multimedia scenographic journey was divided in six installations providing the viewer with a unique type of synaesthetic experience. It resulted from the interaction of each medium – the dancing body, music, moving image, and poetry. A combination of projected moving image transformed the stage by giving it new kinetic dimensions. Underpinned by a six opus soundtrack, each chapter was "activated" for 30 minutes, then went on passive mode once finished, allowing the audience to experience the chapter visually even if they missed the active mode period. Awkward Moments Series lll is a work in progress with Oberlin College and Oberlin Conservatory, where together with the students, the creative possibilities of this nature continue to be explored.
Awkward Moments Series III was joined by collaborator and creative producer Anna Senno and the Oberlin student team was directed by Peter V. Swendsen.
Oberlin student artists include Natty Baker Salisbury, Tory Eichler, Dante Giramma, Gabriel Hawes, Mobey Irizarry Lambright, Griffin Jennings, Margaret McCarthy, Lena Rich, Tian Yoon Teh, MicaelaPirzio Biroli, Georgiana Johnson, Owen Ellerkamp.
Special thanks to: Andrea Kalyn, Michael Straus, Tim Elgren, Shane Davis, Kyle Hartzell, Abby Aresty, Marjorie Gold, Danielle Hinrich, Thea Boyd, Xuemeng Han Sarro, Albert Yaying Xu, Conservatory Audio TIMARA Department
Chapter I - Birth . Solitude
"Inspired by the extreme sensory sensitivity of infants and the obfuscation of sensory input while in utero. The visual and sonic materials create a sense of being surrounded by heavy liquids, as if drowning, creating a sort of aesthetic womb. The temporal structure of the piece in some ways emulates fetal development over time." - Natty Baker Salisbury and Griffin Jennings
Media: sound, video, installation.
Chapter ll - School . Social
"The essence of arguably the most "awkward” phase of life: school and initial social interaction. The chapter consists of dialogue reflecting a series of social exchanges and examples of awkward moments in the midst of socialization. Through projection, physical representation, audio and composed music, this chapter aims to convey the challenges and realities of the social and "school” stage of life." - Lena Rich and Micaela Pirzio Biroli
Media: words, sound, installation
Chapter lll - Work . Input
"What is the most idyllic relationship between work and the self? Is there a difference between necessary work and wasteful work? Nature driven work versus man driven work? A representation of the stage in our lives in which we confront what it means to be an individual but also part of the
collective. A juxtaposing of the dualities inherent in work as experienced by the individual, is there a use or value of what we do and available to the community? This is an experience of the individual trying to find its
place and function within the societal systems of our world." - Dante Giramma, Georgiana Johnson and Micaela Pirzio Biroli
Media: dance, video, sound, installation
Chapter IV - Decay . Deconstruction . Liberation . Routines
"When you finally have time to take a breath and reflect on what has happened, the luxury of space to remember what has been important to you, your body relaxes and you begin to fall apart, but also to expand outwards. There is much to be ascertained, or learned, or known You feel the world around you, holding you, until you melt completely and become a part of it, finding that it surrounded you all along. Always be governed by love. Be pushed and pulled by love" - Margaret McCarthy and Mobey Irizarry Lambright
Media: installation, sound, live performance
Chapter V - Death . End of perception of Time
"What marks the death of a human body varies: is it the train wreck of memories? Is it a point of stillness? Is it a celebration of oneness and peace? Some believe it is the cessation of the heart or the brain or the stillness of time. Death might not be the end of a life, but merely a stage of it. In this chapter, the jarring disturbance of death is followed by the tranquil, sedated state of what comes after this monumental, much feared mortality. When the center of life becomes so still that its environment looks alive, who bears witness to still life?" - Owen Ellerkamp and Tian Yoon Teh
Media: video, sound, dance, installation