Louisa Pancoast at Main Window DUMBO

Previewing – Pinch Back

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Louisa Pancoast will perform her movement-based art installation Pinch Back at Main Window in DUMBO September 10th at 7:30pm. This will be the final performance on view at this non-profit public art space in Dumbo. The performance was commissioned by Main Window as a companion piece for Evan Paul English’s Inexterior.

How do you see the relationship between the art installation and your movement-based performance?

I see the movement and the installation as two explorations of the same idea, two sides of the same coin. Visual communication and physical communication are two entirely different languages, and though some ideas will never have a one-to-one correspondence between the two media, both are able to translate the same collection of thoughts. I’ve been very fortunate to work with visual art and artists in the past, and my first thought going into these processes is, “okay, where am I valuable, and what is my side of this conversation?” Where could kinetic energy and a sense of duration advance some of the ideas latent in the work?

There are so many different moods present in Evan’s installation, my goal was to explicate some of them, and see what path they would take me down. Some funny, some pensive, some raw. In a sense, the installation was a launchpad for the movement, but the movement definitely has a life of its own, as well. It was also important to Evan and me that I find some way to visually integrate myself into the installation. He has all of this wonderful play with letting his composition spill out into the environment around the canvas, it only made sense for the paint to spill out over me, as well. I am the personal history of the painting, in a way. Inexterior is just that – it’s the external setting for the piece, and the miasma of the internal mood.

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Tell me about your process of working on and performing Pinch Back at Main Window.

My process developing Pinch Back was collaborative from the start. Evan opened his studio to me and we spent an afternoon chatting, looking at his collection of fabric swatches, and tromping around his roof garden as I took notes. I go back and forth between whether I start with music or find music as I go, but in this instance I built the world out of the sound score and then the structure of the piece emerged. The idea with the score was to add to this recent-past, campy, 60s-70s mood that lives in Evan’s fabric swatches. After I had the score set came many hours trying to write through and diagram my ideas, and trial and error in the studio. And a fair amount of laying on the floor – that was integral.

Though I had the dimensions of the window space and taped them out on the studio floor, it’s absolutely nothing like being in there. Having the spatial limitation was wonderful, in a way though. I had to think about how to exercise my three-dimensionality without much room to do so, and find a new network of pathways for my limbs. And it changes the texture of your movement – you have to be so delicate and precise without appearing too apprehensive. It’s been interesting, this experience of being on display.

It’s quite different being on a proscenium stage, or even an immersive show or larger installation. In all of those venues there is a sense of scale and stimulation that pulls the audience’s eye all over the space. In the window, it’s very much just me. Whether the audience catches it or not, they are privy to my sweat, my nerves, whether or not I bump the canvas, at an unfiltered and far closer range than they would be in a different performance setting. It’s equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. It was great to have Jeff (Jeff Wallace, the curator) and Evan’s complete trust; they granted me the space and the fertilizer and let me run wild.

All photo courtesy of the artist

Main Window, 1 Main Street, Brooklyn, NY Louisa Pancoast, Pinch Back, September 10, 7:30PM