Exhibition — Nov 6 until Nov 29, 2014

AUNTS: AUNTSforcamera  

Trouw - De Verdieping

AUNTS operates as a choreographic apparatus for organizing simultaneous performance and art activities in a shared space. It is based in Brooklyn, NY, where it hosts an ever-growing community of artists. This fall, the New Museum, in collaboration with the Stedelijk Museum and TrouwAmsterdam, is organizing a special international dance-for-camera edition of AUNTS as part of the Trouw Invites… exhibition series. The project AUNTSforcamera unfolds publicly through an open-studio production week at the New Museum (which took place on September 10-14, 2014), shared simultaneously by all participating artists and resulting in new dance-for-camera works exhibited as an immersive moving-image installation at TrouwAmsterdam (November 6-30, 2014) and the New Museum (December 17, 2014 – February 15, 2015). The exhibition presents new work by Cara Francis, IMMA/MESS, Vanessa Justice, Anya Liftig, Karl Scholz, Larissa Velez-Jackson, Gillian Walsh, Collective Settlement (Felicia Ballos, Jean Brennan, and Charnan Lewis), and collaborators Salome Asega, Chrybaby Cozie, and Ali Rosa-Salas, most of whom have never exhibited in Amsterdam before.

AUNTS was founded by James Kidd Leary and Rebecca Brooks in 2005 and is presently organized by Laurie Berg and Liliana Dirks-Goodman. Through AUNTS, artists come together to share the same space at the same time, negotiating the simultaneous presentation of their work in relationship to one another. 

The production and exhibition of AUNTSforcamera utilizes AUNTS to challenge the systems of autonomous control that characterize visual framing and the construction of time and space within moving-image production and display. The individual works commissioned and produced through this project uniquely engage the relationship between dance and moving-image media, both in terms of their creation as part of a shared open-studio process and their subsequent presentation as part of an AUNTS-organized installation, where the role that liveness plays within what constitutes an AUNTS event will be tested. With multiple aspects of this project taking place in various forms at TrouwAmsterdam and the New Museum, AUNTSforcamera reveals a community representing itself differently for different kinds of spaces, while embracing how different spaces enable different kinds of community experiences to occur.

Select works contained within AUNTSforcamera include: an interactive game utilizing hacked Kinect software to reward players for learning the original Harlem Shake dance; an interactive social media platform featuring a downloadable app to accumulate eight-second viewer-generated dance videos into a single-channel loop; a multi-channel sculptural installation reconstituting the dancing bodies of its creators into a single “exquisite corpse” moving-image form; and a single-channel video combining hand-dance and shadow puppetry with aerial footage shot by an AR Drone flown inside the New Museum Theater. A complete artist list, including descriptions of the nine commissioned works, follows below. New material produced with artists and audiences at the New Museum and Trouw will be added to the exhibition in each location.

Follow and contribute your own dance-for-camera content to this project at Ocho.co: #auntsforcamera and #trouwforcamera

The opening of Trouw Invites… New Museum: AUNTSforcamera (November 6-30, 2014) kicks off with a special transnational AUNTS event on November 6, BYOC! (Bring Your Own Camera!—Where the Audience Controls the Frame), performed in the New Museum Theater and transmitted to Trouw via livestream, where the camera will be controlled by the New York audience. For this program, fifteen artists, including AUNTSforcamera participating artists, will share a selection of short, long, and durational performances arranged and coupled in different unrehearsed combinations. The last two hours will segue seamlessly into a dance party at both venues, with Elias Mazian presenting a DJ set at TrouwAmsterdam. Earlier in the evening at Trouw, opening remarks by Trouw Invites… and New Museum curators (Hendrik Folkerts, Stedelijk Museum; Johanna Burton, New Museum; Travis Chamberlain, New Museum) will precede a discussion about the project with the organizers of AUNTS.

Following the exhibition at TrouwAmsterdam, the exhibition at the New Museum (December 17-February 15) concludes with a one-night-only, top-to-bottom takeover of the Museum by the organizers of Trouw (F.K.A. Trouw@New Museum, February 6, 2015) featuring two simultaneous dance parties in the New Museum Sky Room and New Museum Theater, with light installations by Trouw’s resident lighting artist Meeus van Dis and a lineup of Trouw DJs who are based in the greater New York area. This event will be the first organized by the Trouw team (f.k.a. Trouw, f.k.a. Club 11) following their departure from their current location at the end of this year.


Cara Francis: REMOTE
REMOTE is a single-channel video combining hand-dances and interviews with aerial footage shot by an AR Drone flown inside the New Museum Theater—a comment on the mass market appeal of civilian surveillance products in light of how such devices are used in warfare.

STAGING STAGES is a single-channel split-screen work for which IMMA/MESS invented a new extreme and dysmorphic drag look during each day of production, echoing the artist’s process of preparing to perform at a nightclub. Each new look was then used to generate an improvised dance that was performed for camera and recorded in a single take at the end of the day. These takes have been joined together to appear as a single never-ending dance of physical and psychic transformation.

Vanessa Justice: Dancing the Edits
Dancing the Edits is a multichannel video made from an experiment in perception: The artist enters into specific somatic states and uses a handheld camera to capture and edit previously recorded footage of her choreography as it's played back on multiple monitors. The original footage is shown next to the edited versions and a video documentation of the editing process.

Anya Liftig: A Very Something or Other
A Very Something or Other is a single-channel, single-shot, extreme close-up dance video in which the dancer uses her face (and no other part of her body) to manipulate miniature props—an exploration of the face as a terrain for choreography, ballet, and non-verbal storytelling, where expressions become abstracted while scale is distorted.

Karl Scholz: #auntsforcamera
#auntsforcamera is an interactive social media platform that utilizes the downloadable app Ocho Video to record eight-second video clips. Users may record and tag a video with #auntsforcamera to become part of a sequenced single-channel video installation that will accumulate over the course of the entire project from September 8, 2014 to February 15, 2015.

Larissa Velez-Jackson: Star Crap via Lens
Star Crap via Lens is a three-channel video installation featuring three single-shot recordings of the same hour-long improvisatory score performed sequentially in a single evening by Velez-Jackson, Tyler Ashley, and Talya Aylat. The camera moves between perspectives of dancer and spectator, representing the dancers’ absurd attempts to observe and comment on themselves performing as they grow increasingly exhausted.

Gillian Walsh: Archiving working at AUNTS
Archiving working at AUNTS is an intimate two-channel work that uses private videos as both a form of personal archiving and a site for voyeurism. Here, the artist’s practice of using her participation in AUNTS events to develop, test, and document raw material for other performances becomes the subject of a critical inquiry into the value of objectifying process. 

Collective Settlement (Felicia Ballos, Jean Brennan, T. Charnan Lewis): drawing a line with my body straight to you
drawing a line with my body straight to you is a three-channel sculptural work created by three choreographers using the format of “exquisite corpse” to generate unique videodances for three different parts of the body (head, torso, and legs). The videos, displayed on a stack of three CRT monitors, offer a moving-image representation of the dancers’ bodies reconstituted as one figure.

Salome Asega, Chrybaby Cozie, and Ali Rosa-Salas: Original Harlem Shake Game
Original Harlem Shake Game is an interactive video game, utilizing hacked Kinect software, in which users are rewarded for how closely they come to performing the original Harlem Shake, a dance that originated in Harlem and has been subsequently misappropriated by a recent YouTube meme.


AUNTSforcamera is organized on behalf of the New Museum by Travis Chamberlain, associate curator of performance and manager of public programs, with Laurie Berg and Liliana Dirks-Goodman, organizers of AUNTS. The full program of AUNTSforcamera consists of:

  • September 10 – 14, 2014: AUNTSforcamera Production Week: Open Studios
  • November 6, 2014: AUNTSforcamera Opening Event: BYOC! (Bring Your Own Camera!)
  • November 6 – 30, 2014: AUNTSforcamera Installation: Trouw
  • December 17, 2014 – February 15, 2015: AUNTSforcamera Installation: New Museum
  • February 6, 2015: F.K.A. Trouw@New Museum


De Verdieping, TrouwAmsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, AFK, SNS Reaal Fonds, Stichting DOEN, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, IAmsterdam, Stadsdeel Oost, ABN AMRO, and Lloyd Hotel.