A performance-based docent/audio tour

THIS PAGE LEFT INTENTIONALLY BLANK deconstructs the role of the docent and museum audio tour via an encounter with theater and dance, subverting and reconsidering how the docent typically leads viewers to observe art in the museum context. By democratizing all aspects of the museum space, Big Dance offers a museum tour that interrogates, without hierarchy, the entire physical journey through the museum toward one single artwork, as a contemplation on seeing. The piece strives to disrupt, awaken, dismantle, confuse and thus revivify the viewer’s perception of art, to animate the act of looking, extending the life of a work of art into a physical, imaginative, kinetic, theatrical and intellectual space. The tour dynamically examines how language and movement affect our imaginations and can sensitize our seeing mind. It replaces viewing art through the lens of fact, data and history for a more personal perception through the use of misdirection, alienation, confession, kinetics and obfuscation.

Wearing headphones, in a group limited to twenty people, the audience meets in the lobby of the museum and tours the space listening to the docent’s talks and instructions, eventually concluding in the presence of a single work of art. Stairs, walls, doorways, other bodies, and objects along the way are examined as valuable and prismatic. Costume and sound collaborate to awaken our senses to the particular work of art we encounter in the culminating section of the tour. TPLIB strives to induce a crisis of individual perception that examines the role of art and seeing.

April 13- 17, 2016

University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts
CounterCurrent Festival 2016 @ The Menil Collection
Houston, TX

Mass MoCA: Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
February 10, 12 and 13, 2016 at 12pm and 3pm

Created by Big Dance Theater/Tei Blow

Conceived and directed by Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar
Choreography Annie-B Parson
Sound Tei Blow
Costumes Suzanne Bocanegra
Artistic Advisor Jeff Larson

Performed by Tymberly Canale

Produced by Aaron Mattocks
Production Manager Brendan Regimbal

TPLIB is made possible, in part, by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards program. Developmental support provided by MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 
TPLIB was developed in part during a residency at the Baryshnikov Arts Center (New York, NY). A creative residency was also provided by the Chocolate Factory Theater, as part of the Hatchery Project, with lead support by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and additional funding by the National Endowment for the Arts.
TPLIB received additional funding from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New York Theater Program; and was also funded, in part, by the Big Dance Theater Creation Circle, lead individual contributors committed to the development and support of the company’s newest works.