Choreographer Jonah Bokaer, who has become increasingly recognized for his unique collaborations with emerging and established visual artists, filmmakers, and scientists, will present the world premiere of “Occupant,” a work he created with his long-time collaborator, visual artist Daniel Arsham, at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts during Art | Basel Miami, December 6-8. The dance will be seen in preview at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C., November 8-10.
“Occupant” is inspired by Edward Albee’s witty and provocative 2001 play of the same name, in which the playwright pits the now-dead, wildly flamboyant sculptor Louise Nevelson against an anonymous interviewer for posthumous questioning. What ensues is a debate about Nevelson’s life and art.
Bokaer’s “Occupant” takes place on a monochromatic, blue-hued stage where Arsham’s small sculptures—comprised of 35mm cameras, super 8 cameras, and reels of film cast in white plaster—glow eerily. Dancer Tal Adler-Arieli will perform the role of the Man, and Valda Setterfield will perform the role of Woman, while CC Chang embodies the emotional/intellectual exchange between the two. The score is by Jesse Stiles.
Bokaer’s fall and winter schedule is filled with events that attest to his wide range of intellectual and creative explorations. October 4 marked the U.S. theatrical release of Alan Brown’s feature-length film, “Five Dances,” for which Bokaer choreographed five original works. The film was screened at Cinema Village in Manhattan. Following this showing, Bokaer flew to Amsterdam to perform a site-specific work during the October 12 opening of Daniel Arsham’s solo exhibition at the Ron Mandos Gallery. The Amsterdam performance was followed by an iterative edition of the same dance at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery in London, where Arsham had another opening on October 14, during the London Frieze Art Fair.
On November 19, Bokaer will present the European premiere of “SEQUEL” at the Cannes International Dance Festival. The solo was created in collaboration with 2002 Whitney Museum Biennial video and installation artist Irit Batsry, who was awarded the 2002 Bucksbaum Award . Her rich imagery provides the kinetic backdrop for the dance.
In between performance dates, Bokaer continues to travel back and forth to the Ferst Center for the Arts, where he is collaborating with a team of developers at Georgia Institute of Technology to develop a new mobile application that enables collaborative movement-based experiences using a mobile phone. Those who will be called upon for their expertise include architects, physicists, App developers, and explorers of “augmented reality” software. The project, which is expected to be completed in 2015, is funded by a $150,000 grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.