Meredith Neuman, Sara Grace Powell, Tyler Ashley
past present futures
November 22nd, 2014
The Knockdown Center
On November 22, NYPAC presented past present futures, an evening of performances held in collaboration with And The Villagers Never Liked You Anyway, an exhibition and archeological survey conducted by Sorry Archive under the direction of Dr. Ulf Hueber. past present futures was an experimental presentation curated by Samuel Draxler: over three performances, temporal borders are broken and the seam between times is blurred.
Pierre de Fermat, writing a note in the margin of Diophantus' Arithmetica in 1637, claimed to have discovered “a truly marvelous proof... which this margin is too narrow to contain.” The historical record is insufficient to verify whether Fermat had actually solved the problem, or if the statement was pure bravado. Scientific methodology, like that of an archeological excavation, allows a form of history to be reconstructed — "now” being a fog that slowly overwhelms access to an unmediated past. The recovered materials, as relics of another time, yield certain information about their production. This information is recovered in spite of its present context. This friction between times is what happens when past and present speak at one another, when they misrecognize each other, when the borders collapse under extravagant claims and counterfactuals, when ghosts brag of feats and historians get their hands dirty. Fictive archeology, mysticism and the occult, ritualized action: these conflicting methods each connect with the present by narrating the past.
For past present futures, Meredith Neuman reprised Witch-hunting: What's In It For Me?, guiding the audience through the identification and elimination of witches that hide amongst us (no previous experience necessary). Sara Grace Powell led the audience on a paranormal walking tour along the site’s absent infrastructure. The evening culminated in Tyler Ashley's presentation of an excerpt from KIDNAP ME, a mix of dance, performance, and live drawing that constitutes an “experiment in duration.”
Tyler Ashley is a choreographer and performer based in Brooklyn, NY. He has had the pleasure of working with Elizabeth Streb, Walter Dundervill, Larissa Velez-Jackson, Biba Bell, John Jahnke, Sahra Motalebi, Yackez, Enrico Wey, Benjamin Kimitch, Michael Ingle, and Rakia Seaborn. Ashley’s own work has been presented by Performa11, Friends of the High Line, Times Square Alliance, NYPAC's Fire Island Pines Performance Series, and Strange Loop Gallery. His work has also been seen at AUNTS, Columbia University, Danspace Project, Dixon Place, JACK, Gina Gibney Dance Center, Arts@Renaissance, CAGE, and The Wythe Hotel.
Meredith Neuman's performance roots are in Chicago, with groups such as Cardiff Giant and Theater Oobleck. Toward the end of her time there, she turned increasingly to solo work. For the past ten years, she has been conducting a long-form, multi-media, experimental piece playing a professor of literature at a small New England university. Breaking with the example set by an obscure Dadaist during his two-year performance as a librarian, she has set artistic scruples aside and regularly cashes her paychecks.
Sara Grace Powell has maintained a steady practice of performance and otherwise over the past few years. While she was a student at Barnard College, she curated exhibitions at AMO Studios, PostCrypt, and 111 Front Street. She has exhibited and performed at such venues as Muddguts, 99 Cent Plus, Peninsula Art Space, Brooklyn Fireproof, A.I.R. Gallery, the 8 Ball Newsstand, the Last Brucennial, as well as various vacant and semi-public spaces throughout the city. Currently, Powell exists in New York.
past present futures and And The Villagers Never Liked You Anyway are kindly hosted by the Knockdown Center. Special thanks to Michael Merck, Vanessa Thill, Claire Mirocha, Joie Estrella, and Dr. Ulf Hueber. More information about And The Villagers Never Liked You Anyway is available at Sorry Archive.