LIGHTLAB: THE ARCHIVE

The Archive: A resource for documenting each Lightlab event.

LIGHTLAB 01 | THE SPACE UPSTAIRS | 6.27.2013

MODULES (David Bernabo, Taylor Knight, Jil Stifel)
ANNA THOMPSON
MARIO ASHKAR

The first Lightlab event was an intimate affair at The Space Upstairs. Pittsburgh CrossCurrents' Jane Vranish wrote, 

"I am wallowing in talented young artists these days, who are bowling me over with their adventurous spirit. The latest came at The Space Upstairs for the first in a new experimental series featuring some of Pittsburgh’s best and brightest, called LightLab. Taylor Knight (only 23) put together an improvisational concept about truth and lies. It started, though, with Dave Bernabo, who seems to be on fire these days — he’s everywhere. Dave started with a seemingly innocuous introduction. But what words were real and which were fake? He toyed with audience, beginning a program without a defined start (and finish, as it turned out). Jil Stifel and Taylor seamlessly joined him with spooky flashlights. There followed some Clapper moments — lights on, lights off. Then some percussive treatments, picking apples, a little synchronization — loved the changes in texture and tone, without losing that original concept. It continued with Mario Ashkar’s film, supposedly one that he gave to his “students,” a lecture on veiled women. Protests. “Dealt a Burqa.” And, yes, excerpts from the t.v. series, Designing Women. Mario haltingly, almost comically talked over and under it all. The first section was the strongest with confusing, yet interesting layers. It would be great if the second, a grouping of American women in scarves, and the third, a seemingly disconnected film, could build on that treatment. Anna Thompson’s solo began as she emerged, her head covered in a bouffant cloud of tulle — mostly singing (plaintively) and disrobing (slowly). But it was still compelling. And when she stood there, naked and vulnerable, she exhaled, as if unafraid at thought of concealing nothing. Or was she?"

LIGHTLAB 02 | WOOD STREET GALLERIES | 9.20/21.13

MAREE REMALIA
JASMINE HEARN
MARK C. THOMPSON
TAYLOR KNIGHT
RIVA STRAUSS
JENNIFER KELLER
JIL STIFEL
MODULES (David Bernabo, Heather Mull, Garret Jones, Gordon Kirkwood)
SHANTELLE JACKSON (NYC)

Preview by Adrienne Totino, The Examiner
Review by Adrienne Totino, The Examiner

This was Lightlab's first two-nighter. Of the first night, Pittsburgh CrossCurrents' Jane Vranish wrote,

"A NEW LIGHT. Wood Street Galleries often graciously shares its installations with performances pressed against vivacious contemporary backdrops in the intimate space. But LightLab, progressive collections of independent artists co-curated by David Bernabo and Taylor Knight, put most of the focus on experimental movement recently. Maree ReMalia has been reworking her slants series and this version’s “slant” had a delicate, but deliberate touch with its miniature projection. Jasmine Hearn, so ethereally connected with musician TIm Vernon, and Riva Strauss’ gritty film choreography tended to meander, though. Pittsburgh veteran artist Mark C. Thompson’s excerpts from flight from himself, a retrospective of a man, was, surprisingly, classic mime that nevertheless still touched the emotions. Overall this is a new and welcome avenue for artists to stretch their muscle, a benefit for the Pittsburgh scene."

Totino wrote,

"Overall, “LightLab” was an impressive show as a new addition to the dance scene. Bernabo and Knight hope the series will continue to investigate the future of dance as it grows and changes through experimentation. With that in mind, they succeeded quite well."

LIGHTLAB 03 | PEARLARTS STUDIO | 3.20.14

TAYLOR KNIGHT/ANNA THOMPSON (dance)
COPPICE (CHI) (music)
MODULES (David Bernabo, Jeff Berman, Raquel Winnica Young, Lenny Young) (dance/music)

LIGHTLAB 04 | STUDIO 609 | 5.16.14

JULIETTE SUTHERLAND (film screening)
CONNOR HESTDALEN (performance)
TAYLOR KNIGHT (dance)
DAVID BERNABO (film screening)

LIGHTLAB 05 | STUDIO 609 | 6.21.14

ANNE GUTHRIE / BILLY GOMBERG (music)
DAVID BERNABO (lecture)
ZAK KRUSZYNKSKI / EVAN RICHARDS (electronic furniture)

Setting up some electronic wood.

LIGHTLAB 06 | STUDIO 609 | 7.3.14

JASMINE HEARN with ANNA THOMPSON (dance) 
LISA MARIE JAKAB (art lecture)
DAVID BERNABO / TAYLOR KNIGHT (dance)
JHON R STRONKS (dance)

LIGHTLAB 07 | MILLER GALLERY | 9.27.14

SLOWDANGER
MAREE REMALIA with DAVID BERNABO
JIL STIFEL

Preview by Steve Sucato

LIGHTLAB 08 | THE SPACE UPSTAIRS | 5.8.15

TIM BARNES / JEPH JERMAN (music)
PEARLANN PORTER / LAMBERT JOHN (dance)
MODULES (David Bernabo, Anna Thompson, Taylor Knight, Ru Emmons-Apt)
SLOWDANGER (?)

Tim Barnes and Jeph Jerman preparing their stations.

LIGHTLAB 09 | THE SPACE UPSTAIRS | 8.28.15

S+VOIS (NYC, dance)
CONNOR HESTDALEN (poetry/performance)
FLUX (OH, dance)
SHILOH HODGES (NYC, dance)
MORGAN HAWKINS (NYC, dance)
JEAN-PAUL WEAVER (PGH, dance)
slowdanger (PGH, dance)
ROBERTA GUIDO (poetry/performance)
DAVID BERNABO (PGH, dance)

In response to Lightlab 09. Adrienne Totino wrote

"A few years ago, local artists, David Bernabo and Taylor Knight, created the LightLab Performance Series in an effort to give voice to the experimental movement. Bernabo’s background is largely in music and visual art, while Knight received a degree in dance from Point Park University. Their styles and interests mesh, though. Bernabo developed his own untrained movement style over the years. And Knight solidified a reputation as a musician under the moniker, slowdanger, with his partner, Anna Thompson.

LightLab shows are often stripped down and low-key, without major lighting or costuming. The works happen in site-specific locations, most locally, but some out of town. Friday night, The Space Upstairs in Point Breeze (home to The Pillow Project) hosted the 9th event. In addition to the featured performance, five-minute slots were filled with other dancers, musicians, and writers in an open-mic fashion.

Connor Hestdalen, a poet with Persian Pittsburgh, collaborated with ukulele player, Jeremy Mikush, in a short reading and musical improvisation. Roberto Guido also shared poetry, humorous and poignant with a feminist perspective. Hannah Barnard performed a movement improvisation alongside Flux (Darnell Weaver) on live viola; the two communicated with artistic grace.

Jean-Paul Weaver also danced, moving lightly with his signature long lines and ethereal quality. Bernabo performed a short piece that had a running motif. He used various objects, like bells and containers of grains, to create contagious and uplifting rhythms. Shiloh Hodges impressed the audience with seamless fluidity and a candor about her performance.

The featured work was choreographed by S+Vois (Shantelle Jackson) from New York City. Knight and Thompson met Jackson years ago when she danced in Pittsburgh, and have stayed connected ever since. The three of them performed at Dixon Place this past spring and discussed a possible Pittsburgh show then.

Acts was the result, a 3-section group piece shown intermittently throughout the evening. These snippets were choreographed in a short, four-day residency and included Jackson, Thompson, Knight, Hodges, Flux, and Morgan Hawkins.

The work was dark, both literally and figuratively. The performers wore all black and danced under low light. S+Vois entered first. She moved toward the audience in a stumbling way, her boots weaving a pattern of heavy footfall. The rest of the cast crept in behind her in an equally eerie walk forward. They encircled S+Vois and helped ease her fall to the floor. From hands and knees, the performers eventually rose up, creature-like, and lightly stomped their feet as the lights faded.

In the next section, four performers faced the back wall, shaking and gasping in a startling, yet moving moment. They eventually moved as a clump, collapsing in on on each other with struggle. This led into a beautiful unison floor phrase that continued as a solo by Hodges. The section lent itself to the description S+Vois provided of the work – “…an experiment in undoing duality, an opening of space and an allowing of self-riddance.” The somewhat volatile nature of the opening contrasted the expansiveness of the ending.

In the final section, Thompson danced a solo of simple and clear shapes. Her arabesque crumbled then morphed, sleepily. She accompanied herself by singing about the malleability of memory. Knight then joined her. The two shared weight in sparse partnering phrases that showed their interdependency.

A quartet of wavy arm gestures followed. The dancers then pressed seamlessly into handstands that melted into the floor. Flux entered, playing the viola. Individual solos crescendoed with his music. The dancers left the stage while Flux continued to play, and the lights went out.

Acts worked well as vignettes, but would also succeed as a fully developed show of its own. S+Vois’s choices were certainly compelling, and worthy of more material. LightLab continues to be a vehicle for noteworthy artists."

LIGHTLAB 10 | THE SPACE UPSTAIRS | 11.10.15

TIM DAISY (CHI, music)
tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE (PGH, music)
FLEUR (PGH, music)

LIGHTLAB 11 | THE SPACE UPSTAIRS | 1.29.16

CHRISTIANA AXELSEN (NYC, dance)
JASMINE HEARN (PGH, dance)
ANTHONY WILLIAMS with D.S. KINSEL (PGH, dance/art)
DAVID BERNABO AND RU EMMONS-APT (PGH, dance)

LIGHTLAB 12 | THE SPACE UPSTAIRS | 2.26.16

KENSAKU SHINOHARA Shinohara (Japan/NYC, dance)
JIL STIFEL (PGH, dance)
D.S. KINSEL (PGH, performance)
 

Kensaku Shinohara (Japan/NYC)
http://www.kensakushinohara.com/
feat. Anna Thompson, Taylor Knight, and Roberta Guido

Jil Stifel (PGH)
http://www.jilstifel.com/
feat. Michele de la Reza 

d.s. kinsel (PGH)
Gestural Abstraction of Self
watch, join, and help d.s. kinsel create a masterpiece of himself! this performance of inclusive action painting will take audiences to the innermost corners of the artist's subconscious and shift aesthetic focus from final product to process of creation. by painting unconscionably and spontaneously Kinsel will create a powerful arena of raw emotion and action. reaching out to the audience through visual language and personal connection..

LIGHTLAB 13 | SPACE GALLERY | 3.11.16

MODULES (PGH, dance)
RU EMMONS-APT / CONNOR HESTDALEN (PGH, dance)
ROBERTA GUIDO (PGH, dance)

LIGHTLAB 14 | THE SPACE UPSTAIRS | 4.14.16

JoyPostell (Baltimore)
Al Rogers Jr. (Baltimore) 
slowdanger//blackmermaid (a collaborative exploration between Jasmine Hearn and slowdanger)
Gh0S+ (PGH)

 

LIGHTLAB 15 | WOOD STREET GALLERIES | 11.30.16

Maree ReMalia (DC/Vermont/PGH) / Hyunjung Lee (South Korea)
Jasmine Hearn (NYC/Pittsburgh)
MODULES (Pittsburgh)
Celeste Neuhaus (Pittsburgh)

 

LIGHTLAB 16 | METTĀ: A HEALING ARTS COMMUNITY | 04.13.17

Gregory Manley: Something To Do
"Something To Do is an exercise in how theater starts."

Gregory Manley is the producing director for City of Play, the commissioner of the Circle Rules Federation, and the owner of Heathside Cottage. Performance credits include The Mettawee River Theater Company, the WarHorse North American Tour, The Dance Cartel, 600 Highwaymen, and The Talking Band. He is a graduate of the Experimental Theater Wing of New York University and is originally from Oakland, California. 

Kim Baraka: Struction 

"Struction" is an ode to all of us who go through the cycle of building, destroying, and rebuilding again and again. Rebuilding from psychological or physical chaos, loss of ideals and loved ones, ruins of war, questionings of identity and relation to the world... It is inevitable that one has to be scattered into pieces to stand taller and wider.