DiverseWorks to Open New Exhibit 'The School for the Movement of the Technicolor People' on 4/30

DiverseWorks has announced the opening of its spring exhibition, The School for the Movement of the Technicolor People, on view in the gallery at 3400 Main Street, April 30 - May 28, 2016. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, April 30, 6 - 9 pm, featuring the performance Meadow, at 8 pm.

The School for the Movement of the Technicolor People is a large-scale installation and participatory performance platform developed by Los Angeles-based artist taisha paggett and dance company WXPT (We Are The Paper We Are The Trees) in collaboration with Ashley Hunt and Kim Zumpfe. The exhibition is comprised of a variety of large-scale architectural interventions, choreographic photographs, historical videos, slide projections, and sculptural objects that all form the basis for a participatory experimental classroom.

The structure of the exhibition is a five-week temporary school that begins with Meadow, a movement choir performance on opening night involving a looping, repeating score. Throughout the five weeks, the gallery will be set up as a classroom for research into a series of ongoing questions: What is a Black dance curriculum today? What does the city of Houston need that dance or movement can answer? and What do we want to see a place like DiverseWorks offer the city of Houston? The School... is made up of paggett, Hunt, Zumpfe, and members from the WXPT company in LA, as well as newly recruited company members from Houston: Adam Castaneda, Celestina Billington, Brittani Broussard, Caleb Fields, Abijan Johnson, Autumn Knight, Rosine Kouamen, Eternal Lokumbe, Norola Morgan, Lovie Olivia, and Kenneth Owens. Across the collaborators' many different backgrounds and positions lies a shared interest in the meaning of a Black and queer space at this historical moment, placing questions and urgencies at the center of this curriculum and collaborative artwork.

The project began in 2015 in Los Angeles after paggett formed WXPT, a one-year intentional dance company. paggett's idea was to shift the ways people of color and queer individuals are positioned within the dance field. She and the company-formed of both trained and untrained dancers-sought to forge new economies through resistance and togetherness utilizing the concept of a dance company.

In dialogue with paggett and the WXPT company members, Zumpfe and Hunt have created the overall exhibition design and architectural infrastructure, which is intended as part of the curriculum. A series of sculptural objects, images, and spatial arrangements were produced that generate choreographies for each viewer and participant. In the static images and video projections, Hunt draws upon his long-term collaboration with paggett around ideas of choreographicobjects and images that solicit movement. Zumpfe's practice draws on creating psychological spaces through an architectural and spatial excavation process. The temporary structures in the gallery are made from gathered materials from ReUse Warehouse and from dismantled houses and buildings-connecting the disappeared, invisible, and erased architectures throughout Houston.

Paggett and her collaborators were inspired by research into radical pedagogical platforms, such as the southern Freedom Schools of the 1960's and a 'school for colored youth' believed to be founded by a member of paggett's extended family in Kilgore, Texas. The School... considers the idea of a dance school that builds a curriculum responding to the limited positioning of Black and queer movers in the dance and art worlds. At a time when the United States is again confronted with the regular deaths of Black bodies, this nomadic school occupies temporary homes in art spaces where themes are taken up by community members and formed into a curriculum that collapses the roles of exhibition viewing and participation. Dance moves, protest forms, images, histories, and the everyday movement vocabularies ofsurvival and celebration that structure Black life all inform The School.

The School for the Movement of the Technicolor People was first presented at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) curated by Robert Crouch, as a seven-week program of events, workshops, classes, and rehearsals for the final performance. The Houston iteration, organized by DiverseWorks Curator Rachel Cook, builds upon the research from LACE and extends it into a Texas context.

The School for the Movement of the Technicolor People began as a conversation between paggett, Rodney McMillian, and Cauleen Smith.



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