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Defender Picks


At the Threshold of the Visible

“Every beginning is cheerful; the threshold is the place of expectation,” Goethe once noted. At any given performance, audiences are typically good-natured and generous at the start, eager for their expectations to be met. Beginnings are easy. Then comes that certain moment in a piece when one feels the audience swing — whether into disappointment, delight, contemplation, or bewilderment. It happens in the bat of an eye. Derek Brueckner’s “Collaborative Studio” exploits and extends this moment at the threshold.


Refusing to divorce process from result, Brueckner’s new work insists that the threshold is when and where creativity is expressed and meaning is made (and sometimes lost).


Brueckner uses two cameras to document in real-time the interactions between the human form, mirrors, and scattered paper on the stage. This live interaction is projected back onto the performers via a live-feed. The result is a simultaneous and dizzying duplication of bodies, images of bodies, images of images, shadows, and shadows of shadows.


It is part playground, part surreal dream, part digital entrapment.


The piece is filled with thresholds that are all rendered visible at once. Mirrors reflect and refract the moving bodies. Paper obscures or highlights bodily movement. Live video recordings are projected back onto the very things they are recording. Sound, whether from the rustling of paper or the vocal exercises of a singer, echo throughout. Amidst all of this, performers instinctively interact with the multiple layerings of themselves as well as with each other.


“Collaborative Studio” is intentionally not polished or rehearsed. Rather, it argues that art also resides in the opposite: the experimental, the playful, the unexpected, the unrehearsed, the un-rehearse-able. Moreover, the piece deliberately includes many parts of the creative process that often remain hidden: practice, experiments, things that don’t quite work. As a whole, it gestures to the hours of labor this all requires. It is this incorporation of everything that allows room for performers to explore, and audiences to witness, when and how bodies make meaning.


It is clear that Brueckner resists the understanding of art as a single finished product, or of the artist as isolated creative genius. In his brief stay as Artist in Resident at Art Klub, Brueckner has managed to bring together various members of the local community (dancers, singers, curators, painter, students, etc.) by taking on the role of facilitator and sometimes mentor while being a visitor. This spirit of collaboration, openness, and respect is what makes the piece work.


Derek Brueckner is a visual artist based in Winnipeg, Canada. He also teaches in the School of Art at the University of Manitoba and co-hosts a weekly arts radio show on CKUW 95.9FM. “Collaborative Studio” is one stage of a larger project, which will culminate in a set of meticulously realist paintings based on stills from these experimental studio sessions.


At the Thursday exhibition & performance, expect performances from Kaeti Frady (circus artist), Ryuta Dutah Iwashita Suderman (dancer), and Cecile Savage (singer), as well as many other impromptu and audience participants.



Collaborative Studio

Art Klub, 1941 Arts St. 

Thursday (7.27), 8PM-10PM

Open to the public, donations are accepted for performers and Art Klub

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Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.


Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

Alexis Manrodt

B. E. Mintz

Stephen Babcock

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