Live Installations of "From With and Beyond the Cube: Variations of Trisha Brown’s 'Locus'"

Please join in an evening of live installation performance across UNCSA’s campus that feature a series of multidisciplinary responses to Trisha Brown’s iconic dance, "Locus" (1975). The event will be 8:45-10 p.m. Tuesday, May 11, weather permitting.
Installations which include dance, film, photography and poetry are designed to provide immersive, yet socially distanced experiences and will loop throughout the evening. Joining us with be Kimberly Fulmer (B.F.A. Dance '16) and member of the Trisha Brown Company. Maps and program information will be available on the Library Plaza and elsewhere via QR code.

Map of Beyond and Within the Cube

Lean more about the live installation

Last spring, when asked to set a work of Trisha Brown’s on the students, "Locus" immediately sprung to mind. Designed to occupy a 54" cube elongated to the height of each dancer, the solo which could easily be learned and practiced whether in the studio or at home was an obvious choice given the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Brown devised the movement for "Locus" using an alphanumeric system in which she assigned each of the 26 letters of the alphabet to a point of a virtual cube with the 27th central point designating the spaces between words. Working with autobiographical text, she generated four solos spelling out the text, gesturing with various parts of her body to the corresponding points in space. Though the movement stems from an autobiographical source, the choreography is non-narrative. The system was merely a device designed to disrupt habit, displace the notion of “front”, and democratize the use of space.

As the summer months unfolded, it became increasingly clear to me that to merely replicate "Locus" in its original form felt tone deaf to the moment. I met with a self-selected group of students over the winter break to discuss how we might approach "Locus" in ways that felt relevant. None wished to focus too squarely on the pandemic, systemic racial injustice, climate crisis, or the humanitarian crisis at the border. Dance, they told me, is their refuge.

Upon their suggestion, we decided instead to center our work around the theme of gratitude. The students selected texts that were meaningful to them and generated material using Brown’s choreographic system. Like "Locus" the material yielded from this process stands separate from the source itself.

Sites 2a (Filmmaking sound stage pool), 3 (Library skywalk), 4 (Library Café), 5 (Library Plaza), 7 (Daniels Plaza garden) and 9 (Drama corridor viewed from above) are improvised composites of Brown’s original "Locus" material, and original movement material re-contextualized in various spaces to offer new perspective. These are what we call the Short Tethers in that they live closely related to the original "Locus". 

Four students took this work further by exploring how Locus might fuel their own creative research.  Sites 2b, 8 (SAAB building) and 10 (Parking lot off Chapel Street near Workplace building) are what we call the Long Tethers in that they were seeded by Locus, but allowed to grow freely and bear no aesthetic resemblance to the original.

Finally, sites 1 (Filmmaking's New Digital Media Building) and 6 (the "Elephants") are the work of Cinematographer and Sound Designer, Gabrielle Walden who was an integral part of the artistic and logistical development of this project throughout the semester. These sites include original footage from this project as well as archival footage from the Trisha Brown Company.

The installations begin at 8:45 p.m. and loop every 10 minutes. We invite you to enjoy them in any order and at your own pace and meet us at the Library Plaza at 9:50 p.m. for a closing event. For your safety, please be aware of maintaining social distance and observing maximum capacity when listed.

Contact: Abby Yager

Updated May 10, 2021

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