Walker Art Center

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“A venture this artistically successful should be seen as a valediction to that part of their careers (with Cunningham) of these two supremely talented men.” -New York Times

Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener were two of the most stunning performers in the final iteration of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. In a groundbreaking co-commission with Experimental and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), the Walker pairs them with longtime Cunningham collaborator and visual/media artist Charles Atlas. The thrilling result is a live dance/technology hybrid featuring seven dancers and 3-D video that weaves together dance, sci-fi narratives, and live film segments (edited in real time by Atlas). Toggling between the corporeal and the digital, this revolutionary work disorients one’s sense of space and time in playful and unpredictable ways. Tesseract will be presented in the William and Nadine McGuire Theater Thursday-Saturday, March 16-18 at 8 pm.

Tesseract is a part of Merce Cunningham: Common Time Performances

Charles Atlas has been a pioneering figure in the creation of time-based visual art for over four decades, extending the limits of his media and forging new territory in a far-reaching range of genres, stylistic approaches, and techniques. Over the years he has made media/dance works, multi-channel video installations, feature-length documentaries, video art works for television, and live electronic performances. Throughout his career, he has consistently fostered collaborative relationships, working intimately with such artists and performers as Leigh Bowery, Michael Clark, Douglas Dunn, Marina Abramovic, Yvonne Rainer, Anohni, and most notably Merce Cunningham, for whom he served as filmmaker-in-residence for a decade from the early 1970s through 1983. His most recent large scale video installations have been The Waning of Justice (2015) at Luhring Augustine Chelsea; Cowboy Body (2016) at The Contemporary, Austin; and The Tyranny of Consciousness (2017) at The Venice Biennale. Since 2003, Atlas has been interested in exploring different contexts that exploit the use of live video. Instant Fame (2003-06), consisted of a series of real-time video portraits of performers and artists created live in the gallery space. Recent live video/installations include: ‘The Pedestrians’, in collaboration with Mika Tajima at The South London Gallery (2011), and ‘Charles Atlas and Collaborators’ at the Tate Modern (2013). Atlas has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, three “Bessie” (New York Dance and Performance) Awards, the Foundation for Contemporary Art’s Biennial John Cage Award (2006), and a 2016 USA Artists’ Gracie Fellowship.

Since 2010 Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener have created dance in response to complex and active spatial environments, often merging elements of fantasy, absurdity, and quiet contemplation into challenging multifaceted performance. After working together for years in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Mitchell and Riener developed a keen interest in the way abstraction and representation coincide in the body. Their collaborative work takes many forms, from site-specific installations, improvisational dances, and traditional proscenium pieces to highly crafted and intimate, immersive experiences. Historical influences and aesthetic forms collapse into a visually charged hybrid physical language. Together they have been part of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Extended Life Dance Development program, the New York City Center Choreographic Fellowship, and have been artists in residence at EMPAC, Mount Tremper Arts, Wellesley College, Jacob’s Pillow, and Pieter. Their work has been presented at MOMA PS1 as part of Greater NY, The Chocolate Factory, New York Live Arts, Danspace Project, the Vail International Dance Festival, REDCAT, ICA Boston, and the O Miami Poetry Festival.


Tickets to Tesseract are are $28 ($22.40 Walker members) and are available at walkerart.org/tickets or by calling 612.375.7600


Merce Cunningham: Common Time is organized by the Walker Art Center. Lead support for the project is provided by the Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Generous support is also provided by Agnes Gund and the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.

Major support for the Walker’s commissions and presentation is provided by the William and Nadine McGuire Commissioning Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Additional support is generously provided by Molly Davies, the Goodale Family Foundation, the HRK Foundation, Pamela and C. Richard Kramlich, the McKnight Foundation, Leni and David Moore, Jr./The David and Leni Moore Family Foundation, Linda and Larry Perlman, Barbara Pine, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and the Unity Avenue Foundation in memory of Sage and John Cowles. Media partner Mpls.St.Paul Magazine.

Tesseract (film) was commissioned and produced by EMPAC/ Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and co-commissioned by Triangle France.

Tesseract (live performance) was co-commissioned by the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center EMPAC/ at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and On the Boards.

Tesseract was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Tesseract was developed, in part, through residencies at EMPAC/ Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Watermill Center.

Photo: courtesy the artists