The Olimpias Performances Research Projects
Research projects on
- Social Somatics: Performance, Embodiment, Politics (Journey to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin and WEFT participatory performances, Helping Dances summer series, Salamander summer series)
- Feminism, Embodiment, Disability, Poetry, Performance (FEDPP): a practice-as-research project supported by the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan. (includes Spherical soundpoem, with Misha Penton; Under the Echo chapbook, with Lisa Steichmann; and a sculptural installation project with Sadashi Inuzuka)
- Indigeneity/Disability/Fictocriticism/Performance (Jan 2013 practice-as-research symposium: Native Women Language Keepers)
Dear everybody, Olimpias collaborators and Bay area friends,
This is our first Olimpias summer email of the year, inviting you into our new project, Salamander, a project to find our disabled beauty emerging from the deep, the wild aesthetic of water, deforming ourselves through sleek unhinged control. Here be dragons.
We would now like to invite you to small-scale swim dates in various pools around the Bay, at various times. If you are interested in participating in our actions, and would like to be on the invite list, or like to suggest accessible pools, rivers, lakes and such, just email firstname.lastname@example.org. The sessions are designed to be intimate, up to five people at a time. Together, we'll work out what it will all be, how it can be accessible for different bodyminds, and how we can help each other fly and dream. No in-water engagement required, if that's not right for you. We explore salamanders in other ways, too, and our engagements will include creative writing workshops both local and cyber.
Much love to you all, Neil Marcus and Petra Kuppers
A Radiant Approaching, 3 mins, 2013
A meditation on language, skin, speech difference, and communication. Fragments of longing, belonging and being in place, with lines of Robert Kelly's Mont Blanc, Linda Norton's The Public Gardens, and James Thomas Stevens' and Caroline Sinavaiana's collaboration Mohawk/Samoa: Transmigrations.
Neil Marcus' Special Effects, 9 mins, 2013
More than a document of the early days of the disability rights movement, Neil Marcus' collection Special Effects: Advances in Neurology is also a window into California zine culture of the 1980s. Art in revolution: social justice, the human growth movement, art in the everyday. From flourishing dystopia to speech storms, Neil documents living artfully in Berkeley, California, and in Disabled Country. Link to free online reading commons where you can read and annotate the whole book: www.publicationstudio.biz/books/93.
Disability/Culture: Research in Motion, 22 mins, 2012
What does disability culture mean to you? Are there many disability cultures? Watch some of our answers, recorded during three days of workshops and discussions at the University of Michigan Initiative on Disability Studies Spring Conference 2012: Disability/Culture: An Arts-Based Research Symposium. We explored Embodiment/Enmindment/Aesthetic Access/Interdependence /Community. With additional material recorded at the Olimpias Disability Culture Summer Retreat 2012.
Keynote for Disability Studies section, Pacific Rim Conference on Disability and Diversity, Hawai'i, April
Death to the Puzzle Piece - Anti-Autism Awareness Week perfomrance action, with Melanie Yergeau and Neil Marcus, Michigan, April
Keynote at Corpo(realities) Graduate Symposium, Indiana University, March
Presentation for Eastern Michigan University's Women's History Month,March 14th: The Anarcha Project
Muriel Rukeyser conference, March - WEFT
Access Living and Bodies of Work: Disability Culture Salon: The Olimpias, Chicago, March 8th - talk and Helping Dance
Eco-Poetics conference, Berkeley, February - talk and Helping Dance
Throughout the summer, Bay Area: Helping Dances performance actions, public parks
Disability Culture and Community Performance: Find a Strange and Twisted Shape (Palgrave, 2011) and Somatic Engagement (Chainlinks, 2011, at Small Press Distribution table) at MLA Seattle, January 2012
January 26th: Neil Marcus and Petra Kuppers: International Disability Culture presentation, Global Scholars community, Rackham Auditorium, University of Michigan
January 27th: Neil Marcus and Petra Kuppers: Olimpias workshop as part of Sexpertise: conversations about relationships, communication, sex and sexual health, University of Michigan
January 31st to February 2nd: Disability/Culture symposium, University of Michigan
February 16-18th: WEFT Olimpias participatory performance as part of Queering Dance Congress on Dance Research conference, University of Michigan
February 27th: CounterPulse, SF: Dance Discourse Project #12. Shifting ground: examining the complex terrain at the intersection of dance and aging. Roundtable with Jess Curtis and Mary Armentrout.
February 28th: Somatic Engagement reading at Pegasus Bookstore, Berkeley
March 16-18: Festival of the Moving Body, SUNY Stonybrook
March 20th: Somatic Engagement reading, University of Michigan
April 13-14: English Language Notes conference, 'Shape of the I,' curated by Julie Carr, University of Colorado at Boulder
May 18-20: WEFT at Open Engagement, Portland, OR
Society for Disability Studies, Denver, June: WEFT performance and a paper on the FEDPP project
The Aging Body in Dance. – Zur Ästhetik und Politik des Körpers im Vergleich von europäisch-amerikanischen und japanischen Tanzkulturen. June 28th to 30th, Freie Universitat Berlin.
First week of July: meeting with disability studies scholars, activists and artists in Cologne, Germany
3rd Olimpias Summer Retreat, Harbin Hot Springs, July 13th-15th
July 30th to August 5th: Keynote at Theatre for Social Change/Interactive Theatre Preconference, Association for Theatre in Higher Education conference, Washington D.C.
October 30th-31st: Keynote, Arts Activated, Sydney, Australia
November: California College for the Arts, Community Arts Graduate Seminar
Are you currently, or have you ever been a manual laborer in a factory? Has someone in your immediate family? Among your elders? In your wider social field? What were some of the physical actions you, your family member or someone else touching your life engaged in? How do they relate to you now? These are the questions that will lead us into a new Social Somatics action set at the San Francisco Art Institute, December 2nd 2011, noon, in the courtyard, as we'll trial run The Olimpias' WEFT participatory performance.
The Olimpias WEFT action set emerges from my experiences as a family member of people who worked in textile factories. I am noting often how unaware many people are about how material is actually made: jersey, cotton, or the kind of contemporary synthetics that make up the clothes most of us wear every day. In this action, I wish to not just draw attention to this estranged relationship to an everyday material and its mode of production, but to actively intervene into it, by changing participants? embodied relationship to their clothes. I hope to offer experiences that make items strange, offer some space between cloth and skin. The actions aims to activate connections between sensuality, sexuality, gender performance, care and clothes ? in particular when we check each other?s labels, get involved with each other?s bodily boundaries, all common actions for many disabled people and carers. Together, we place ourselves into different spatial registers of intimacy, near and far, local and global.
Disability narratives are part of this in many ways. My grandfather was my opening into the factory: he was the night watchman, having lost a leg in the war, and his gait on the concrete floor is part of my sensory memory. I remember well how I as a child dove into large chemically smelling carts of fabric remnants, how I played under industrial looms, and made pocket money in the factory. I remember burning my fingers into blisters when my job on the assembly line included smearing hot glue onto car door fabric. And I remember the cigarette smoke and the alcohol fumes that accompanied the breaks for the assembly line crew, industrial accidents, vibration syndrome and its effects on manual dexterity. Together, and interdependently, helping each other, we will weave these memories and participants' experiences into a new globally aware fabric.
The actual performance consists of a number of participatory actions, with accessibility woven into the instructions. If the weather permits, we'll do the actions outdoors. At the end, there is a sharing circle.
Somatic Engagement: the politics and publics of embodiment. Edited by community artist, scholar, and dancer Petra Kuppers (author of Disability Culture and Community Performance), the book opens with Arnieville, a Californian protest camp of disability, homelessness, and poverty activists. From there, a series of enactments welcome trespass and incursion in the name of survival. Amy Sara Carroll on the Transborder Immigrant Tool, a GPS phone that uses poetry to lead the disoriented and thirsty to water caches and safety sites in the US-Mexican borderlands. Devora Neumark on washing Tali Goodfriend’s hands in Lebanese olive oil outside the hotel where Colin Powell speaks to the Jewish National Fund, hands gliding over one another in the middle of an angry public protest. Christian Nagler on writing an experimental novel while conducting an oral history of agricultural labor practices and migration patterns at the site of the Panamerican Highway in El Salvador. Georgina Kleege on touch and blindness as she discusses Katherine Sherwood’s paintings of magic and the human brain, paintings that Sherwood began after her stroke ten years ago. Eleni Stecopoulos on the healing quest as research and the complexities of cultural appropriation. Amber DiPietra and Denise Leto on the collaborative connections of breath, body, pause, pain, and form. Somatic Engagement is an exploration of how relation and support play out in breaths, steps, and touch.
128 pages; 12 color plates
Free PDF of Introduction
Can be ordered at Small Press Distribution.
Green Arcade, SF, December 15th 2011
Pegasus Book Store, Berkeley, February 28th 2012
As part of Disability/Culture graduate class, University of Michigan, March 20th 2012
The introduction is available for free on-line: it starts in an AXIS workshop, and visits with the 2008 Sins Invalid performance, locating Olimpias work in its local performance cultures. Wtih love to all our disability culture friends... The posted PDF is without footnotes. If you'd like to receive the footnotes and can't order the book for your local library, please contact us, and we're glad to provide the notes.
with water burns sun (Butoh inspired dancevideo, 2009)
Journey to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin (participatory performance, 2011)
Cripple Poetics: A Love Story (poetry performance, 2010)
also on YouTube, earlier Olimpias videos:
Earth Stories (work with mental health system survivors)
Geometries (young adults, public installation video projected on city walls in central Manchester)
Disabled Lilacs (speech difference and poetics)
This year, catch Olimpias performances, workshops and lectures at the
Olimpias at Word and Deeds, February 28th, Kunststoff, SF
Olimpias at the Movement, Somatics and Writing Symposium, Feb 17th to 19th, 2011, University of Michigan
MIT Dance and Technology meet-up (April 22nd to 24th)
Bay Area National Dance Week (Somatics/Expression series, 4 weeks starting April 26h, Subterranean Arthouse, 7-9)
Open Engagement, Portland (May 13th-15th)
Performance Studies international, Utrecht, NL (May 25th to 29th)
4-day workshop on experimental community performance, Dance Bar, Goteburg, May 31st to June 3rd
performance at Goteborg LGBTQ festival, June 3rd
Society for Disability Studies (San Jose, June 15th to 18th)
West Coast Contact Festival (Berkeley, July 5th to 10th)
Dance Camp - an Unconference (The Garage, SF, July 9th)
American Dance Festival (Durham/Duke, July 12th)
International Federation of Theatre Research (Osaka, Japan, August 7th to 10th)
one day workshop and performance at Levier, Montreal, CA (September 9th and 10th)
residency at Bucknell College, PA (last two weeks in September)
Beauty is a Verb reading at Work Gallery, Ann Arbor, November 9th
FEDPP workshop at the National Women Studies Association Conference, Atlanta, November 12th
WEFT performance action at SF Art Institute, December 2nd
Somatic Engagement Launch Party, Green Arcade, SF, December 15th
Cripple Poetics at California State University San Marcos, December 8th
November 24th: Cripple Poetics performance at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
November 25th: International Disability Culture: Sharing Resources. Lecture at the Donald Beasley Institute, University of Otago.
Master Classes in Disability Culture Dance, Dunedin, New Zealand, Dance Department, 23rd and 24th of November.
November 19th: Disability and Dance: a Networking Meeting. Christchurch, New Zealand.
Faculty Seminars & Masterclasses with
Associate Professor Petra Kuppers, University of Michigan, fellow at the Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University
Queensland University of Technology
Creative Industries Faculty, and Creative Industries Faculty Equity Committee,
invite you to attend one or more of a series of seminars and masterclasses with
visiting scholar Petra Kuppers.
SEMINAR – “Community Arts: Practices, Processes, and Challenges”
Petra Kuppers (University of Michigan) and Brad Haseman (QUT)
Monday 4th October 2010, Z2 The Hall
In this seminar, Petra Kuppers and Brad Haseman will discuss community arts and cultural practices, shifting paradigms and processes for engaging diverse communities in arts and cultural practices, and the challenges faced in creating innovative, experimental work which engages with themes of health, communication and culture.
Time: 4pm-6pm, Monday 4th October 2011
Venue: Z2-226 The Hall, Level 2, Z Block, Creative Industries Precinct, QUT
RSVP: email@example.com by Friday, 1 October 2010.
SEMINAR – “Inclusivity in Creative Arts Education”
Petra Kuppers (University of Michigan), student respondents Kate Lanigan, Ange Ackerly and Anja Homburg, chaired by Bree Hadley (QUT)
Tuesday 5th October 2010, Z2 The Hall
In this seminar, presented by the Creative Industries Faculty Equity Committee, Petra Kuppers will discuss issues in relation to inclusivity in creative arts education, including pedagogical conventions, institutional, staff and student expectations, and the creation of physically, psychologically and socially safe pedagogical spaces.
Time: 12pm-1pm, Tuesday 5th October 2011
Venue: Z2-226 The Hall, Level 2, Z Block, Creative Industries Precinct, QUT
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, 1 October 2010.
“Journey to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin – A Participatory Score”
Petra Kuppers and Neil Marcus (The Olimpias)
Wednesday 6th October 2010, OC 406
A co-created ritual, and a nourishing re-imagining of memorialisation, this participatory performance score focuses on the Peter Eisenman Memorial in Germany, and the lawsuits that surrounded it – the disabled people of Germany sued for disability access to the site, and lost.
Participants will approach these topics, and the emotions, experiences and memories they raise for each person, through doing, together, and through a sharing circle. The co-created experience will unique to the group of people who gather in this specific moment, and in this specific location, to participate.
The Masterclass, followed by a discussion with Petra and Neil, will offer scholars and artists interested in community arts, disability arts, disability culture, trauma, memory and history a unique opportunity to engage with this performance score, and the methods developed by The Olimpias.
Time: 10am-1pm, Wednesday 6th October 2010
Venue: OC 406, Level 4, O Block, Kelvin Grove Campus QUT
RSVP: email@example.com by Friday, 1 October 2010 – places limited.
Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activist, a community artist, an award-winning writer, and Artistic Director of The Olimpias. Petra was a fellow in Community Dance at the University of Otago, New Zealand, a research fellow in Contemporary Arts at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK, an artist-in-residence at Tramway Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, Scotland; at SymbioticA in Perth, Australia; the San Francisco Poetry Center; and at many more universities and art centers in the US, Europe and beyond. She was named a life-time member of the national UK Millennium Awards Fellowship 'for talented individuals who strengthen and enrich their communities.' This year, Petra is at the Australian National University in Canberra, working with fellow disabled artists. Petra has written extensively on disability and dance, community performance, embodied poetics, and contemporary performance aesthetics, and she teaches at the University of Michigan in the United States.
Neil Marcus is an icon in US disability culture. In the 1980s and 90s, he performed his stage show "Storm Reading" over 300 times all over the US, the UK and Canada. Parts of it were on Maria Shriver's Sunday Today Show. Neil has also written and performed other plays in the SF Bay Area, and is a frequent guest in Butoh and Contact Improv Festivals. His poetry has found its way to many people, on the back of fridge magnets, policy statements for NGOs, university reading lists, and many people's private stash of important things to know about life. Neil is still recognized in the street for his role in an episode of ER. Mainly, though, Neil engages in his own street theatre show, singing, clowning and performing in the everyday. His book of poems, Cripple Poetics: A Love Story, co-written with Petra Kuppers and with photos by Lisa Steichmann, appeared in 2008 with Homofactus Press.
The Olimpias is an artists' collective and a performance research series. The artists explore art/life, cross-genre participatory practices, arts for social change and disability culture work. The award-winning Olimpias installations, performances, dance videos and workshops have been presented internationally, and have recently explored such topics as slavery medicine, contemporary health care inequalities and art practice; sensuality, aging and disability; cross-cultural disability conceptions and notions of beauty in Butoh performance. Olimpias work addresses its audiences directly, and engages them gently and with care, to create a more inclusive future together.
October 13th: ' Performance Studies Seminar, University of New South Wales, Sydney:
Research Talk: Butoh/Dance/Sensation: The Chorus of Performance Writing'
This meditation on somatic writing shares the touch of trembling muscles, of choreography. Choreo, khoreia: chorus. Graphy, graphia: writing, as reassembling, as reterritorializing.
October 15th: Participant in What Can Fictocritical Writing Do? Australian Association of Writing Programs workshop, University of New South Wales, Sydney
October 19th: School of Critical Inquiry, Australian National University,
Drama Studio, 12-1.30, Olimpias Performance: Journey to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin
October 29th: Humanities Research Institute, Australian National University,
1-2.30: Research Talk: International Disability Culture
Note to friends in the Southern Hemisphere: From September 1st till December 5th 2010, Petra Kuppers and Neil Marcus will be on a trip in Australia, on a fellowship at the Australian National University in Canberra. Planned trips include visits to Sydney, to Adelaide, to Horsham for the Awakenings Festival, and to Darwin, for the Australian Disability and Development Consortium conference, September 15th-17.
Olimpias Events August 2010:
Madrona MindBody Institute, Fort Worden, Port Townsend, WA, in collaboration with Goddard College
Journey to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. Participatory Performance (and discussion) with The Olimpias: Neil Marcus and Petra Kuppers
Two performances on Thursday, August 26, 4:30-6pm and 7:30-9pm
at Madrona MindBody Institute
In these performances, we will co-create a ritual experience, a nourishing re-imagining of memorialisation. Embodied memory, experimental community art, personal investment, engagement and comfort, approaching difficult topics from a place of richness, activating ourselves towards future(s). We'll approach these topics through doing, together, and through a sharing circle.
August 13th: Olimpias performance as part of Bare Bones Butoh Presents Showcase 18, 8 pm, Studio 210.
August 8th: Feminism/Disability/Embodiment/Poetry mini-research symposium
Olimpias Events July 2010:
Olimpias mini-workshops/one on ones by Olimpias collaborators, as part of ADA celebration, San Francisco City Hall, July 26th, 12-3.
2nd Olimpias Summer Camp, Sierra Hot Springs, 22nd to 25th of July.
This year, we are once again off to Sierra Hot Springs, driving up in two cars from the Bay Area on Thursday, 22nd of July, one leaving in the morning, one later. We'll meet at Sand Harbor State Park on Lake Tahoe, a wonderful and accessible place in a gorgeous spot. From there, we're off to Sierra Hot Springs, about 40 mins away, and we'll put up tents together. There are other local places to sleep if tenting is not your bag.
Friday and Saturday, we'll hang out in hot springs, massage each other and do other body, mind and soul work, and create small art workshops for each other (so far, we have gentle dance work, visual art/painting, poetry and fiber arts/costume making). There is space for all of us, and we will practice respect and love. There's also plenty of time to just hang out and do your own art thing, working on your personal project. This is a time for recharging, for community building, and for dreaming. On Sunday, we're once again off to Sand Harbor and a cooling swim, and then it's time to go back home.
The retreat programming is free and welcoming to all. The camping fee is $27.50 per person per night (which includes use of all facilities), day rate is $20 if you are not staying overnight. Food is available at the Camp. Access issues will be dealt with communally, and people with different kinds of capacities will be at hand to work out the complexities of crips in nature.
Scholarships of $50 are available for those who need them.
More info: contact Petra at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sierra Hot Springs: http://www.sierrahotsprings.org/
Sand Harbor State Park: http://parks.nv.gov/lt.htm
West Coast Contact Improvisation Festival, Berkeley, 8th Street Studio:
- Olimpias Creative/Expression session as part of Somatics Strand: Saturday, July 3rd, 1.30
- Fundamental Class: Delicious, Sunday July 4th, 2.30-4.30
Enjoy the contact of skin on skin, the gradual release of weight, the deliciousness of touch. We start small, and build from there, and sense each others' beauty. In this class, we will pay attention to breath and the small movements of life, first in ourselves, and then in contact and partnering. We will open up a space where we can share the connections we find, and dance with an audience (of fellow workshop participants).The class will allow you to find not only your own dance, but also expression in the circle of a supportive, small audience: show your ability to connect and be with another in improvisation. Even if you have never shared yourself this way before, you will be safe and welcome. All bodyminds welcome, including people with pain, fatigue and mobility issues.
Performance of 'I am Salmon', Saturday, July 3rd, 8 pm and 10 pm. Poetry by Neil Marcus, Music by Dax Pierson, Sound assembly by Sadie Wilcox, dancers Petra Kuppers and Neil Marcus
Photographs: Nick Kane
Ongoing Olimpias Community Jams, Subterranean Arthouse, Wednesdays, 4-6
Olimpias Events May/June 2010:
June 9th to the 13th: Talks about Olimpias Projects at Performance Studies international, Toronto, CA
June 3rd: Petra performs 'Invagination and the Beloved' at Fabled Asp Crip Salon
May 27th: UC Riverside, Dance Department: Anarcha Workshop/Sharing, 11.10-12.130, P.E. 110
May 25th: Stanford University Dance Department: Journey to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin
Bare Bones Butoh, May 8th, Studio 210, Cesar Chavez, 8pm, 'Invagination and the Beloved' with Neil Marcus, Sandie Yi and Petra Kuppers.
Olimpias Events April 2010:
The Poetry Center
at San Francisco State University
Thursday APRIL 29 — Saturday MAY 1
THE POETICS OF HEALING
three-day OLIMPIAS ARTISTS RESIDENCY
a series of programs with special guest artists
and disability culture activists
Petra Kuppers • Neil Marcus •
Sadie Wilcox • curated by Eleni Stecopoulos
Thursday April 29, CRIPPLE POETICS: A LOVE STORY
a reading/performance by Petra Kuppers and Neil Marcus
• 3:30 pm @ the Poetry Center
HUM 512, San Francisco State University, free
Friday April 30, EMBODIED POETICS: Visual Arts—Performance Arts
OLIMPIAS ARTIST talks with Petra Kuppers and Sadie Wilcox
• 7:30 pm @ Subterranean Arthouse
2179 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, $10 ($5 student/low income, no one turned away for lack of funds)
Saturday May 1, BURNING workshop and performance
@ Subterranean Arthouse, 2179 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
• Participatory Workshop 2:00–5:00 pm
$10-20 sliding scale ($5 student/low income)
• Performance 7:00 pm
$10 ($5 student/low income)
SFSU students free, no one turned away for lack of funds
We have invited artists and disability culture activists Petra Kuppers, Neil Marcus, and Sadie Wilcox, of the performance collaborative The Olimpias, to lead us in exploring the body of community and the rich poiesis our singular embodiment affords. To rethink and create collaborations between and across art, healing, and somatic practice. To work, as Neil Marcus writes, “with this key idea: disability is not a brave struggle or courage in the face of adversity, disability is an art.”
Come and explore with us the poetics of bodily fantasies in this Olimpias Disability Culture happening. Accept a touch, put words in your mouth in this somatics/expression exploration: what does it feel like to speak of cancer or environmental toxicity? Locate yourself. What happens when bodies change, undergo transformation, expose themselves? What happens as you let images and poetry of poison and healing roll down your veins? Move with us, be moved by us. Gentle movement improvisation, butoh, contact, ritual, video, visual art and poetry.
• PETRA KUPPERS is a disability culture activist, a community artist, Artistic Director of The Olimpias (www.olimpias.org) and Associate Professor of English, Women's Studies, Theatre and Dance, Art and Design, at the University of Michigan. Her books include Disability and Contemporary Performance: Bodies on Edge (Routledge 2003), The Scar of Visibility: Medical Performances and Contemporary Art (University of Minnesota Press, 2007), Community Performance: An Introduction (Routledge, 2007), and, together with Neil Marcus and photographer Lisa Steichmann, the poetry collection Cripple Poetics: A Love Story (Homofactus Press, 2008). http://www-personal.umich.edu/~petra/
• Who is NEIL MARCUS? Neil is an icon in US disability culture. In the 1980s and 90s, he performed his stage show Storm Reading over 300 times all over the US, the UK and Canada. Parts of it were on Maria Shrivers Sunday Today Show. Neil has also written and performed other plays in the SF Bay Area, and is a frequent guest in Butoh and Contact Improv Festivals. His poetry has found its way to many people, on the back of fridge magnets, policy statements for NGOs, university reading lists, and many peoples private stash of important things to know about life. Neil is still recognized in the street for his role in an episode of ER. Mainly, though, Neil engages in his own street theatre show, singing, clowning and performing in the everyday. http://www.olimpias.org
• SADIE WILCOX is an artist and educator in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received her MFA from the University of Michigan School of Art & Design. Her video work has been included in screenings at Harvard University's Carpenter Center for the Arts in Cambridge, the Center for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, and Extravagant Bodies Film Festival in Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia. She was recipient of the Best Documentary Award at the XII Black International Cinema in Berlin, Germany. Sadie currently serves as Program Manager for BayKids, a nonprofit organization that provides filmmaking opportunities for hospitalized youth. She teaches art in the Community Education Department at the San Francisco Art Institute and works as a teaching artist at the Asian Art Museum. http://www.sadiewilcox.com
• ELENI STECOPOULOS was born in New York, NY. A poet, she is the author of a chapbook, Autoimmunity (Taxt, 2006) and the full-length collection Armies of Compassion (Palm Press, 2010). Her poems and essays have appeared in Chain, Ecopoetics, Harvard Review, Open Letter, Xcp: Cross Cultural Poetics, and the blog of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among other venues. With the Poetry Center at San Francisco State University, she received a two-year grant from the Creative Work Fund, through which she currently curates an interdisciplinary program series and is writing a book on the poetics of healing. She is on the faculty of the Language and Thinking Program at Bard College, and she lives in Berkeley.
THE POETICS OF HEALING
project sponsored by the Poetry Center, San Francisco State University
curated by Eleni Stecopoulos, supported by the Creative Work Fund
Olimpias Events March 2010:
March 19th: Journey to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin
(presented as part of the
Cultural Studies Association Conference, UC Berkeley), Subterranean Arthouse,
Subterranean Arthouse, 2179 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
Friday, March 19 at 6:30 pm
Friday, March 19 at 8:30 pm
This participatory performance score is a nourishing re-imagining of memorialisation.
It focuses on the Peter Eisenman memorial in Germany, and the lawsuits that
surrounded it: the disabled people of Germany sued for disability access to the site, and lost.
(Journey, University of Michigan February 2010, Photograph Tim Householder)
Saturday March 20th, 2-4, also Subterranean
a reading/performance/improvisation with Denise Leto, Amber DiPietra, Eleni Stecopoulos and Petra Kuppers
Event co-sponsored by the Subterranean Arthouse, the Institute of Research on Women and Gender (University of Michigan), and the Disability Studies Program, University of California, Berkeley.
New essay published on Olimpias experimental performance practice: '“your darkness also/rich and beyond fear”: Community Performance, Somatic Poetics and the Vessels of Self and Other', M/C Journal, Vol. 12, No. 5 (2009) - 'disclose'
Olimpias newsletter December 13, 2009
CA$H Choreography Grant Award!
Theater Bay Area granted Petra $2,500 for her work with the Olimpias on the ‘Journey to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin’ project.
Pushing Limits radio show
Neil Marcus, Petra Kuppers, Lakshmi Fjord and Amber DiPietra were the focus of an episode entitled ‘Dancing with Disability’, an experimental collage of poetry and performance, on December 4. You can hear it here.
Disability Culture Workshops
with Neil Marcus and Petra Kuppers
Two Sundays, December 20th & 27th, 2009, 3-5 pm
Subterranean Arthouse, 2179 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
Suggested donation: $15, no one turned away for lack of funds
Come and explore with us through movement the fantasies, potentials and tensions of our new Olimpias score. What happens when bodies change, undergo transformation, expose themselves? What happens as you let images and poetry of poison and healing roll down your veins?
No experience necessary, we do not require a commitment to more than one workshop, we honor all forms of embodiment and identification, and we want to learn about access and respect together.
Olimpias residency at University of Michigan
February 9th-12th, 2010
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
In this week, The Olimpias are in residence at the Duderstadt Performance Studio, in conjunction with a Collaboration, Creativity, and Poetry graduate seminar. On one day that week, we will stage 'Journey to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin' for the camera, and we are looking for community participants for this event. The actual experience is ritualistic, comfortable and comforting (not a downer at all). We have now staged it three times, always with very positive results and repeat invitations. This Duderstadt experience will be specifically set up to be photographed, whereas all other performances of the event aim to be photography-free spaces of immersion and experience.
Journey to the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin
This participatory performance
score is a nourishing re-imagination of memorialisation. It focuses on the Peter
Eisenman memorial in Germany, and the law suits that surrounded it: the disabled
people of Germany sued for disability access to the site, and lost.
Subterreanean Arthouse, 2179 Bancroft (between Fulton and Shattuck, less than 10 mins walk from UC Berkeley). Friday, March 19th, 6.30 and 8.30.
SFSU Poetry Center/Poetics of Healing Olimpias residency
April 29th - May 1st 2010
SFSU Poetry Center
We will create a Burning workshop/performance
More information will be forthcoming
Info about Poetics of Healing:
The Poetics of Healing: creative investigations in art, medicine, and somatic practice
Project curated by ELENI STECOPOULOS
Supported by the CREATIVE WORK FUND
“Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.”
"We associate the myth of Orpheus with poetry, yet Orpheus also symbolizes the wounded healer. A rich field of correspondence lies between creative and medical practice, in the ways we name, respond to, and treat our conditions, individual and collective. In the Asklepion, the ancient Greek health center, patients were treated with dreams, words, and songs. Poetics refers to theories of making, the art of how things are composed. Healing, too, is an art of composition, the art of making one(self) whole. I look at poetics and healing as sympathetic arts: they both have to do with relation, or how things are connected. They're both arts of the whole.
"Healing my own illness provided me with an extraordinary context in which to explore the body’s poiesis, affording me the gift of having to enter [my] own experiment? (Morris Berman.) Now, with The Poetry Center, I want to create a collective experiment, a public forum where different practices can be put into conversation, to make possible an interdisciplinary exploration of method, scientific and creative, medical and poetic, in ways that might be mutually generative and unexpected.
"What might happen if we asked doctors to look at the art of their practice? What might happen if we asked poets to consider the somatic and therapeutic dimensions of their art? to talk to each other about the words of medicine and the medicine of words?"
- Eleni Stecopoulos
Supported by a two-year project grant from the Creative Work Fund, the Poetry Center presents throughout 2009-2010 a series of programs under the title The Poetics of Healing: creative investigations in art, medicine, and somatic practice. Curated by San Francisco poet and scholar Eleni Stecopoulos, the project brings together innovative writers, artists, and medical practitioners doing parallel work within altogether different traditions and practices.
Guest participants read, perform, and discuss their own work, talk with each other, and engage with audiences. Throughout the project, Eleni Stecopoulos is writing an original book on the subject (incorporating material by other participants and as arising out of the public forum) to be published late 2010 by Factory School.
Update November 2009:
A new Olimpias project, focused on the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. First performance as part of Geographical Assemblage: Mythological Landscapes of the Body, 27th November, Subterranean Arthouse, Berkeley
Purgatory Possible Projects at ArtsLab, Arts and Bodies, November 5th and 6th, 9.30 - 4.30, Duderstadt Video Performance Studio, University of Michigan, free and open to the public. Thursday morning with Sophia Lycouris, Stefanie Cohen, Lisa Steichmann, Petra Kuppers, Jina Kim and others.
Update October 2009:
FOCUS Film Festival, CSU Chico, October 20th-21st. 'water burns sun' 1st prize experimental category, filmmakers will be present.
Burning. A Participatory Performance. As part of Butoh Dance 50th Anniversary Festival, October 17th, Subterranean Arthouse. Class 1-3, Performance at 7
Daredevil, Disability's Seduction and Olimpias video installations: a keynote at San Francisco State University's Cinema Studies Graduate Student Conference, October 15th-17th. Keynote at 7pm, Coppola Theatre, Oct. 15th
Anarcha Presentation at Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference, Michigan State University, Oct
Cripple Poetics Performance, Duderstadt Video Performance Studio, University of Michigan, Oct 1st, as part of Arts and Bodies
Update September 2009:
Cripple Poetics. Concord Cafe, 937 Bloor Street, Toronto, organized by York University and University of Toronto Graduate Students
Update, July 2009:
Performance Event: Burning
A Disability Culture Project, led by Petra Kuppers and Neil Marcus
Subterranean Arthouse, Bancroft Ave (between Shattuck and Fulton), Berkeley Wednesdays 8, 15, 22, 29 of July, 7-9 pm,
performance sharing with gallery exhibit: Friday, July 31st, 7-9 pm
Come and explore with us through movement the fantasies, potentials and tensions of our new Olimpias happening/score/script. Put words in your mouth: what does it feel like to speak of cancer, of leprosy and environmental toxicity? What happens when bodies change, undergo transformation, expose themselves? What happens as you let images and poetry of poison and healing roll down your veins? We have a script, not a linear play -- scenes emerge from it like flowers out of earth.
No experience necessary, we do not require a commitment to come to all workshops or the sharing, we honor all forms of embodiment and identification, and we want to learn about access and respect together.
Space rental donation suggestion: $10, no one turned away for lack of funds.
Update, May 2009:
water burns sun
Production Still: Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang
- American Dance Festival Dance for the Camera selection, July 2009, Durham, North Carolina.
- Dance Film Festival, Society of Dance History Scholars/Dance Critic's Association, June 2009, Stanford University, CA.
- First Prize, Finnish National Gallery, Disability Film Festival 2009.
- San Francisco Art Institute, February 2009.
We're now working on a companion videodance which will be shot at Lake Tahoe, July 2009.
Burning is the opening performance of the Earth Matters on Stage Festival, Eugene, Oregon, 21st May 2009, University of Oregon, Villard Hall, 7.30.
Update, January 2009:
Burning workshop/masterclasses/performances at Tramway International Arts Center, Glasgow, Scotland, April 20th - 26th 2009
We've been working on a dancevideo, water burns sun, which will be part of future Burning installations.
January 23rd: Workshop Screening of new Butoh Dance video, San Francisco Art Institute, 1pm, San Francisco Dance Center, 5pm
Crew and Performers: LissaIvy Tiegel, Sadie Wilcox, Mayuko Ayabe, Eboni Hawkins, Neil Marcus, Leslie Schickel, Music: Dax Pierson/Robert Horton, Petra Kuppers
October/November 2008: Upcoming Artist's Talk Dates in Australia
(in addition to multiple fora and focus groups throughout metropolitan and rural Victoria, with the Cultural Development Network, as part of the Arts and Disability Research Project)
Thursday, Oct 9th, University of New South Wales, Law Building, 1.00
Monday, Oct 13th La Trobe University, Melbourne, 6.00
Saturday, Oct 25th, Poetry Reading at Awakenings Festival, Horsham, 10.00
Wednesday, Oct 29th Community Arts Network, Adelaide, 5.00
Thursday, Oct 30th, University of South Australia, Poetry Reading, 1.00
Saturday Nov 1st, dance workshop with No Strings Attached, Adelaide, 1-3
Sunday Nov 16th, dance workshop with Weave Dance Theatre, Melbourne, Brunswick Town Hall, 2-4
Thursday Nov 20th, Poetry Reading for ArtsAccess, East Melbourne Library, 3.30-5.30
Friday Nov 21st, Dance Jam at Dancehouse, Carlton, 5.3-7
Nov 24th -27th: various talks and workshops in Alice Springs
Nov 28th: Anarcha Presentation at After Effects conference, UNSW, Sydney, 12.00
September 2008: The new Olimpias show is up and running, and open for people to come and join: Burning. Read about the invitation.
September 2008: Our new poetry book is out!
Cripple Poetics: A Love Story. by Petra Kuppers and Neil Marcus. With photos by Lisa Steichmann. More excerpts. FAQs. Amazon link. Review by Carrie Sandahl
September 2nd, Pegasus, Berkeley
October 5th, University of Hawaii, Manoa. Poetry as Performance workshop.
Most performances this year will have elements of our book in them, like this Butoh one below , or our recent performances as part of the Disability Pride Arts and Culture Festival in Portland, Oregon; and a Disability Dance fest with Axis and Dandelion in Oakland.
Olimpias at BUTOH San Francisco Benefit, May 31st
Check out our new videopoem on YouTube, Disabled Lilacs
Tiresias Project: Disability and Erotics
The Tiresias DVD is out. Contact us if you would like a free copy.
Tiresias received the Pamela K. Walker award at Superfest 2008!
Tiresias Community Performance
Feburary 20th, Duderstadt Video Performance Studio, University of Michigan
A collaboration with the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living, funded by the Ginsberg Center.
As part of the 2008 Michigan Tiresias, we are running workshops at the AACIL from the 23rd of January onwards. If you are interested in participating, contact us.
Sample of a 2007 Tiresisas event:
Invitation: please join us for Tiresian Rites, in a circle at UC Berkeley, Saturday, 4th of August, 12 noon. We’ll look for depth together, for celebration, exploration, and sharing.
can you bare your body/soul
can you become visible
where do you take your place among humans
do you dare show your self
your hearts desire
Please bring yourself, your art/life, and food to share in our picnic!
Our Saturday will be part of the Tiresias Project by The Olimpias, a national disability culture series (www.umich.edu/~petra). In the Tiresias project, we explore issues of disability and erotics. The figure of Tiresias penetrates Greek drama - the hermaphroditic shape shifter who has lived both as a man, as Zeus's priest, and as a woman, as a prostitute of great renown.
Tiresias is a crip art project - and much more than that. In our project, we take Tiresias out of the background fabric of history. Now Tiresias and his disability, her undecidable bodily status, the malleability of his body, gender, her tri-pedal step and his blind/seeing eyes become the focal point of disability cultural work.
What does it mean to find empowerment through a trickster figure? At the heart of our project are images, sounds and words of seduction: an erotics of encounter with disability’s non-binary difference which problematises conventional notions of disabled people as tragic, sexless or deficient.
In the past months, we’ve had performance and photography sessions in a theatre in Michigan, and an exploration of naked bodies and natural environments in Rhode Island. For our Berkeley stop, we would like to investigate the moment of becoming naked, of opening. In our circle in a public space, we invite you to step into the middle and show us something of yourself: physically, poetically, in thought, spirit or body. We will spin our circle, see what happens as we move from vanity to being, from fear to joy and back again. Lisa, our photographer, will make images of these moments of disclosure, but none of these photos will be shared with the public without your express permission, after you’ve been send jpgs of them. You can participate and decide not to have any images of your performances released. We are interested in these moments of decision, not (only) in the photographic products. To give you a sense of previous Tiresias explorations (of nudity), we have put three of our images up online, at http://www-personal.umich.edu/~petra/tiresias2.htm. For our Saturday circle, there is no expectation of nudity, although we’ll support any and all expressions of ‘becoming naked,’ or supporting others in doing so.
Please join us! If you would like to read more about Tiresias, and our ideas about him/her, please email us.
Anarcha Project News
2008: A number of Anarcha publications are out: a DVD, a website with the journal Liminalities and more! Let us know if you want a copy of the DVD.
The Anarcha Project has received funding through a grant from the The Global Ethnic Literatures Seminar, sponsored by The University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; The Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs; The Office of the Vice President for Research; and The Rackham School of Graduate Studies.
Campus residencies in Ann Arbor and Detroit: December 2006
Anarcha Research Symposium : April 4/5 2007, University of Michigan
Anarcha Installation: Sedimentations Conference, May 2007
Davidson College, North Carolina (February 2007)
University of California, Berkeley (March 2007)
University of Washington, Seattle (May 2007)
Miami University. Ohio (February 2008)
Anarcha in Montgomery, Alabama
The Olimpias are using performative research methods to engage intersections between black history and disability history.
Remembering Anarcha and the Medical Plantation
Sunday, 14th May 2006, 5-7
Theatre, Taylor Center
Auburn University Montgomery
Black history, disability
studies and performance scholars work on
remembering Montgomery women Anarcha, Lucy and Betsey.
Come and join us for a discussion of Anarcha and J. Marion Sims, the
gynecologist who used slave women as experimental subjects while he
was searching for a cure for fistula.
We would love to hear from you what you know about this story, what it
means to you, how you remember it locally, how the local sites are
marked. And we would love to tell you how we go about using
movement, words and visuals to connect Anarcha's story to disability
history and black history.
Petra Kuppers (Associate
Professor, English, Theatre, Women's Studies, University of Michigan,
Anita Gonzalez (Associate Professor, Theatre and Dance, State
University of New York – New Paltz)
Carrie Sandahl (Associate Professor in the School of Theatre at Florida
State University, Tallahassee)
Art Projects in New Zealand, July 2005-Februrary 2006
community arts projects at the Otago Community Hospice, Dance with a Difference sessions particularly open to people who experience pain and discomfort, disability culture history performance work with former residents of institutions at the Truby King Reserve (grounds of the former Seacliff Hospital), Story/Movement exchanges at public libraries and community centers.
For a description of the whole Coastal Mapping project, got to the communityarts.net site, and this article.
Scar Tissue: A Body of Work
- Perishable Theatre, Empire Street, Providence, June 18th 2005, 6-8, free entry
- Gallery Presentation: Sarah Doyle Gallery, Brown University, 26 Benevolent Street, Providence, April 30th - May 6th 2005
Reception: May 6th, 6-8 - All are welcome!
The artworks we create through dance, writing, sculptural work and photography focus on a re-vision of the scar: on our bodies' ability to change and grow, to connect to the environment in unfamiliar ways, and to emerge as new landscapes.
(Amy's Scar, The Olimpias, 2005)
(manipulated photograph from Scar Tissue workshop session, photographer Martha Kuhlman, 2005)
The Tracks Project
We all leave marks in our environment - some of these marks are direct, like
tracks in the snow, earth, grass, sand and water, some more
subtle. Our presence, our limbs, wheels and crutches, our way of being influence the landscape.
Through community arts workshops, we will explore some of the differences with which disabled people enrich our wider social world.
We move differently, we inhabit our world differently. Our differences present another view of the world, and of wha.t it means to lead a fulfilled life - and our shared world is richer for these different perspectives.
What: The TRACKS Project: A digital photo/poetry exhibition
Where: The Sarah Doyle Gallery, 26 Benevolent Street, Providence
When: April 30th - May 6th, 2005
Artist's Reception: May 6th, 6-8
Where: Women's Center at Bryant University
Bryant Center, 3rd Floor, 1150 Douglas Pike, Smithfield
When: November 30 through January 15, 2004
Gallery Hours are Monday through Friday, 9am - 5pm
Opening & Artist Reception: 4pm, Tuesday, November 30, 2004
VSA arts of Rhode Island and The Olimpias are presenting The TRACKS Project: A digital photo/poem exhibition featuring artwork that celebrates Rhode Island's disability culture and provides new visual perspectives on the connections between landscape art and access.
'This exhibit of extraordinarily compelling works are the realized images of
a group of 17 community artists, from over a dozen RI cities and towns, coming
together to explore themes and motifs of what it means to have a disability.
At a series of workshops held in numerous Rhode Island locations - ranging from
Burrillville's Community Center, to Middletown's Norman Bird Sanctuary, through
Warwick's Goddard Park and stretching down to Westerly's Misquamicut Beach -
they crossed Rhode Island through all seasons. They explored their world through
dance, photography, earth art, and creative writing to construct this unique
body of visual and written work.'
- Olimpias Approaches in New Mexico: DEATH POEM RISING
sponsored by CFA PLACE Program & VSA North Fourth Art Center
Creative Research & Community Practice
for CFA Students from ALL Disciplines
with visiting artists
Eiko & Koma (Butoh Performers)
& Petra Kuppers (Community Performer)
Saturday & Sunday
APRIL 9th & 10th 2005
DELICIOUS MOVEMENT - Sat., April 9 10:00-12:00
Carlisle Gym - South Arena, University of New Mexico
Free & Open to the Public
DEATH POEM - Sat., April 9 7:30-9:30p
Reception following with Q&A from Eiko & Koma
South Broadway Cultural Center
RISING: An Evolving Community Performance - Sun., April 10
Drop-In any time between 12:00 and 5:00
Free & Open to the Public
Rio Grande Nature Center
For more information
- The Olimpias in New Zealand
Olimpias Director Petra Kuppers receives Inaugural Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. She will take up her position in July 2005, and will lead performance workshops in cancer settings. She hopes to research approaches to healing, movement and disability culture in European-derived, Asian-derived and Maori communities on New Zealand's South Island.
Further Information about Caroline Plummer, the young woman whose vision of the power of dance has made the fellowship possible.
Information about Petra's talk at Dance Canopy Auckland, New Zealand, July 2005
- The Olimpias at the Chicago Women's Performance Art Festival 2004
October 24th, Links Hall, Chicago, 8 pm
Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren and Petra Kuppers present: A Bare Bone Tune
Tunnels and scars, tissue and membranes--these are the bodily materials and bodily sites that occupy space in this performance by two disabled performance artists. Bony protrusions and proliferating tissue emerge in sounds and sites, as the mechanics of baring and tuning meet hard edges. Spaces of deafness and spaces of pain meet. Text and movement articulate the richness of disabled embodiment.
- The Olimpias Site-Specific Dance Series 2004/2005
- Snow Paths - a site specific dance performance, date and location to be announced
- The Autumn Forest - a site-specific dance performance, October 31st, 5.30 pm
'on the edge of': The Autumn Forest
Samhain: Join The Olimpias dancers for an evening performance intervention
on the edge of the forest. Forest myths, fleeting events, lights shining in
the dark and glimpses of magic bodies unite in a celebration of autumn, and
the changes of the season. The performance is part of a series of site-specific
dances 'on the edge' - in sites that connect different environments, spaces
in transition, border-countries.
The performance lasts about 15 minutes, and ends in a sharing of food and drink. The performance is weather dependent - light rain won't stop it, but sustained bad weather will mean cancellation.
Entrance is free, but if you can, bring a non-perishable item for the Rhode Island Food Bank.
Location: Lincoln State Woods
Time: 6.30, October 5th
- Siren - a site-specific dance performance, September 12th 2004, 5pm
|This performance is part of the Wind Sea Sky
sculpture festival on Easton Beach, Newport.
No entry fee, but please bring a non-perishable item for the Rhode
Island Food Bank.
How does the Siren live? Ignoring the horror stories of drowned
See also Sirens 2003
- The Olimpias receive Rhode Island Foundation Award
Petra Kuppers/The Olimpias have been awarded a 12.000 dollar grant from the Rhode Island Foundation, as one of 9 artists to receive New Works funding in 2004. In collaboration with VSA Rhode Island, she will work with other disabled artists in Rhode Island's rural spaces, investigating the theme of 'Tracks'. What traces are left behind by different, non-normate forms of embodiment?
In various workshops over the year, we will explore temporary earth art, photography, video and movement work. The project will culminate in a traveling exhibition. Video artist Agnieszka Woznicka from the Rhode Island School of Design will collaborate with us in a video documentation to accompany the exhibition.
If you are a New England artist, and would like to be part of one or more of the workshops, contact email@example.com.
- New Book Published: Disability and Contemporary Performance
Partly as an outcome of The Olimpias Performance Research Series's work, Petra
Kuppers's book, Disability and Contemporary Performance: Bodies on Edge, has
been published with Routledge Press, December 2003. Thanks to all of you out
there, my disability community, for your generous help, inspiration and ideas!
Especially, many thanks to the artists I discuss in these pages!
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