Citywide has frequently appreciated the way the North Brooklyn and Bushwick art scenes are coming together. We’ve painted a picture of individual artists scrapping together to instill bygone industrial regions with beauty and poetry. We’ve admired these communities for providing evidence of the heart and purpose emitting from a generation of artists that many have ascribed a bleak future to.
It’s a gross misestimation to believe that arts in New York and Brooklyn in particular have been “played out,” have been “sold out.” The individual artists that collaborate in collectives such as Norte Maar prove that there is a pool of ingenuity brewing in the streets, the lofts, the studios, the reclaimed spaces of Brooklyn. The fact that emerging artists with incredibly different backgrounds such as Paul D’agostino and Audra Wolowiec are working with experienced art producers and curators such as Jason Andrew and Julia K Gleich (co-founders of Norte Maar) shows that Brooklyn– and Bushwick in particular– is a place for people with the hard-to-grasp questions of today to go and explore previously untouched concepts and perspectives.
These are all artists contributing work to The Brodmann Areas premiering April 12th at the Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn, a new ballet produced by Jason Andrew and directed by Julia Gleich which pontificates on the sensory faculties of the human brain at the very same time that it produces the very stimuli in its audiences of the various mechanisms it represents via multiple art forms. It is an all-encompassing sensory experience based on the region of the cerebral cortex called the Brodmann Area, a structure closely correlated with vision, movement, language, and memory. The ballet is choreographed to both simulate and stimulate brain activity. Aspects of the performance also include video projection meant to hypnotize the spectator in correlation with the movement of the dancers. One portion of the performance asks the audience to focus on a point beside the stage and observe the activity of the performers in the periphery. At one point a dancer attempts to recite the number pi up to as much as 250 decimal points with movements corresponding to each particular digit. Music director Ryan Francis has put together a soundscape of cerebral music by Henri Dutilleux along with original music composed to correspond with the themes of the program.
It is a thoroughly thought-out and invested event of performance and spectatorship that poses questions as it proposes interpretations. Listen to the interview to hear the project’s directors and performers talk about the motivation for putting the ballet together, their own brain experiences in carrying it out, and their personal ideas on art and the human brain. It’s amazing.