The Getty Center
Ever present / Never twice the same / Ever changing / Never less than whole
Free Fall for the Camera by Brendan Fernandes
Online screening, followed by a conversation between the artist and Joshua Chambers-Letson, professor of performances studies, Northwestern University
Date: Friday, August 28–Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Admission: Free, pre-register to watch at getty.edu/freefall
The link to the video will also be posted on this page on Friday, August 28 at 10 a.m. PT and be available to watch on demand until Tuesday, September 1 at 11:59 p.m. PT.
In Free Fall for the Camera, an ensemble of dancers create kaleidoscopic moments that serve as remembrances of the lives lost in the tragic 2016 mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, which targeted the Latinx and LGBTQ+ community. The film evolved from elements in Free Fall 49, a site-specific performance Fernandes presented at the Getty Center in June 2017. A feat of endurance across three hours, eight dancers on raised platforms scattered across the museum courtyard emulated the movements of club dancing as music lured the audience into a dance party. At random, startling intervals, the music suddenly stopped and the dancers fell to the ground, snapping the crowd out of the present into a stark state of reflection. This was repeated 49 times—each a moment of silence for the victims of the Orlando shooting. These "unmistakable moments of memorial and resurrection," reported Frieze magazine, were actions that took on a "dual meaning, comprising both people of color living in the spectre of seemingly random physical violence but also, perhaps, queers of colour hitting back."
Now in 2020, four years have passed since the tragedy in Orlando, yet national conversations surrounding intolerance and acts of violence against difference have only intensified. After the screening, Fernandes will discuss the project with Joshua Chambers-Letson, a writer and performance theorist based out of Northwestern University, who researches and teaches courses in performance studies, critical race theory, political theory, and queer of color critique.
Brendan Fernandes (b. 1979, Nairobi, Kenya) is an internationally recognized Canadian artist working at the intersection of dance and visual arts. Currently based out of Chicago, his projects have shown at the 2019 Whitney Biennial (New York); the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York); the Museum of Modern Art (New York); The Getty Museum (Los Angeles); the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa); MAC (Montreal); among a great many others. He is currently artist-in-residency and faculty at Northwestern University and represented by Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago. Recent and upcoming projects include performances and solo presentations at the Noguchi Museum (New York); Monique Meloche Gallery (Chicago); the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto); and the Museo De Arte São Paulo (São Paulo). www.brendanfernandes.ca
Joshua Chambers-Letson is a writer and performance theorist who researches and teaches courses in performance studies, critical race theory, political theory, and queer of color critique. He is the author of After the Party: A Manifesto for Queer of Color Life (NYU Press, 2018) and A Race So Different: Law and Performance in Asian America (NYU Press, 2013–winner of ATHE's Outstanding Book Award in 2014). Academic writing has appeared in edited volumes and journals including Social Text, Political Theory, Criticism, Cultural Studies, MELUS, and women & performance. Art writing has appeared in catalogues for Teching Hsieh's exhibition at the 2017 Venice Bienale and the Chrysler Museum/Grey Art Gallery's Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera, as well as Dirty Looks, The Brooklyn Rail, ASAP/J, and the Walker Reader. With Ann Pellegrini and Tavia Nyong'o he is a series co-editor of the Sexual Cultures series at NYU Press. He received his PhD from New York University in 2009 and was a postdoctoral fellow at Wesleyan University's Center for the Humanities from 2009-2010.
Electronic musician Holly Herndon and her ensemble presage a sonic future that connects human and machine to realize new definitions of beauty. Her dance-inflected experimental music investigates the nature of humanity in the digital age–including her 2019 album PROTO, made in part with artificial intelligence. Drawing from folk traditions of East Tennessee, Berlin's radical club culture, and her Stanford graduate studies on machine learning and music, Herndon's complex and riveting music promises a unique sunset performance on the Getty's outdoor stage.
September 7, 2019
Celebrate California plant culture with a special program inspired by 1970s Los Angeles and Plantasia, the iconic album made for plants and the people who love them. Worldwide curiosities guide Atlas Obscura and Brooklyn's Sacred Bones Records teams up with the Getty's Ever Present series to delve into the plant-centric cultural movement behind Mort Garson's cult-classic electronic 1976 album Mother Earth's Plantasia. Join us for a day filled with music, workshops, and presentations that explore the influence of plants on art and culture in Los Angeles.
July 28, 2019
For this Sunday event, New York and Berlin-based composer and artist Colin Self—known for combining voice, body, and digital technologies to explore gender, communication, and our relationships to the biological and the technological—performs on the Tram Arrival Plaza. L.A. native Mandy Kahn is a noted poet and librettist who also collaborates with composers on inventive new works, such as Yuval Sharon's celebrated opera Hopscotch. Kahn presents a selection of immersive pieces that interact with the architecture of the Getty courtyards and feature a cast of singers and performers. Composer Ben Babbitt, known for work with Weyes Blood, Angel Olsen, and How to Dress Well, creates a multi-channel sound installation for Robert Irwin's Central Garden, with live singers and a quadrophonic ambient soundtrack.
July 13, 2019
Inspired by the exhibition The Wondrous Cosmos in Medieval Manuscripts, Ever Present brings together a group of artists who integrate the intergalactic into their varied work. Like their medieval forbearers, they quest for new artistic, analytic, and spiritual ways of understanding our connection to the cosmos. Performances include music by vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and Vedic astrologer Deradoorian (known for her work with Dirty Projectors), choral scores translated from the constellations by experimental artist and composer Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs, an interdimensional ritual by A.S.T.R.A.L.O.R.A.C.L.E.S with live music accompaniment by ambient composer Ana Roxanne, a planetarium-style visual lecture on the multiverse by artists Jennifer Moon and laub, and site-wide energy work by multidimensional artist and Afrofuturist Jordi.
May 25, 2019
Join electronic composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith in the lush environment of the Central Garden for a unique guided meditation experience set to the sounds of her album Tides: Music For Meditation And Yoga. Raised on Orcas Island off the coast of Washington state, Smith's compositions are surreal yet rooted in nature. A series of breakthrough experimental albums utilizing the Buchla 100 synthesizer—an instrument that allowed her to combine the organic elements of her upbringing with the technological prowess gained from her studies at Berklee College of Music—earned Smith international acclaim by the likes of Pitchfork, NPR, Rolling Stone and SPIN. After several world-wide tours that brought her from major European festivals to the Hollywood Bowl, Smith found inspiration composing music for a more understated context: her mother's yoga practice. Nine tracks of densely layered prismatic tones are interwoven with field recordings of natural sounds for a music that ebbs, flows, and connects the listener to frequencies both environmental and internal.
Designed to be interactive, this hour-long guided meditation to the album is not a performance, but an experience. Feel free to bring your own yoga mat or blanket for the grass surface. A limited number of yoga mats will be provided. Opening set by Cool Maritime and Emily Sprague.
How to Get Here
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