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"Catherine Sullivan: Five Economies (big hunt/little hunt)"
2002-05-05 until 2002-06-16
Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago
USA United States of America
Although she has worked in a variety of media, Sullivan's primary focus has been creating original theater and video works that lay bare dramaturgical conventions and the mechanics of expression. Her true media are performers or agents of expression be they actors, dancers, or musicians. Sullivan refers to her performances as "second order drama."
They consist of re-staged moments of dramatic or performative tension taken from sources as disparate as Ted Nugent lyrics and Trisha Brown choreography. Five Economies (big hunt/little hunt) is a two part work whose main component, the Big Hunt, is a five part video projection (15 minutes running time). Screened along a single wall the length of the gallery, the silent, black and white footage consists of re-staged and choreographed scenarios based on a variety of sources including several popular films, including "The Miracle Worker", "Marat/Sade", "Persona", "Tim", and "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" as well as imagined episodes from the true story of Birdie Jo Hoaks, a 25 year old woman who tried to cheat the welfare system by passing as an orphaned 13 year old boy.
The question relevant to all her staged performances is, how does expression work. How does a performer literally inhabit emotional memory? What are the formal characteristics that allow for the transmission of expressive or emotive content? But Sullivan is less interested in deconstructing theatrical conventions than she is reconfiguring codified forms of expression to explore, in her words, "the body's capacity for signification."