THIS PAGE LEFT INTENTIONALLY BLANK will deconstruct the role of the docent and museum audio tour viaan encounter with theater and dance, subverting and reconsidering how we experience art in themuseum context. Through a performative examination of how we see and talk about art, and what we bring to the art that we see, the piece strives to disrupt, awaken, dismantle, confuse and thus revivify the viewer’s perception of art, animating their imagination around viewing. The project will extend the life of one selected artwork into a physical, imaginative, kinetic, theatrical and intellectual space through the use of misdirection, alienation, confession, obfuscation, and dance, theater, sound and costumes.

Big Dance Theater’s first project outside the theater, THIS PAGE LEFT INTENTIONALLY BLANK (TPLIB) will be part performance, part installation, part takeover of an art museum or gallery, staged around an existing work, involving two (2) performers dressed as docents. A radical transformation of the present gallery model into a performance realm using found elements, the performance/tour will occur in cohesion with the natural ebb and flow of daily museum activity.

Through a sly, understated use of theatrical elements, and with an aim to find new entryways into viewing art work through inserting subjective perspective, experiences and commentary into the viewer’s experience of an artwork, TPLIB strives to induce a“crisis”of perception that revivifies the viewer’s perception of not only the artwork itself, but art in relation to our lives. In contrast to the art historical perspective, the piece aims to relate the work to the viewers’ imaginative lives, their sensory systems and their bodies.

The event includes costumes and a complex sound score heard through an“audio tour ” headset. The Work is site specific, in that it is an installation in an existing museum and is tailored in advance for that building and climaxes around the intense viewing of one particular art piece. The tour folds in the museum itself, through the journey to the art work, and culminates in a meditation on this one work. Theperformance occurs during museum hours, with some short breaks.

A proposed structure: the audience is directed through the museum by way of an audio tour, plus two docent/performers who serve as stewards, guides or shepherds. There is theatrical play in the sense of beginning a journey, a flight or something auspicious. The lobby is treated as if it’s a theatrical space to be examined. The audio guide will consist of sound design that combines voices and music with discrete parts. Almost like a piece of choreography, the group of viewers walk to the music throughout the gallery,ascend stairs to music edited to fit the flight and, guided by the docents, stop to view the wall of the building, or something mundane treated with an analytic and detailed viewing to awaken the eye. Portable folding stools the audience sits in front of the selected work and listens to the audio guide anddocent. In this case, the typical fact-based guide will be replaced by other sources, sources subjective and sometimes strategically“wrong”or elusive, sometimes directing the viewers’ attention to form through live dance material enacted by the docents, or a text-based interaction between the docents,allowing the audience to find its own way into the work. The viewer is led through various ways of seeing the work, as the performance event interrupts, affects and alters perception of the artwork on view.


April 13, 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.