Literature Program

Friday, April 2, 2004

Co-sponsored/co-presented by:
NY Foundation for the Arts

Charles Dennis

Mr. Remote and  Homecoming

Presented at:
Hallwalls Black 'n' Blue Theatre

Mr. Remote
A short performance by Charles Dennis

A video documentary by Charles Dennis
Presented as a public service by the Artists & Audiences Exchange program of NYFA.

Homecoming (2003, 56 min.) chronicles the origins and evolution of New York City’s Performance Space 122 and the downtown dance scene it helped spawn. Shot on the occasion of P.S. 122’s 20th anniversary in 2000, the video takes a close look at ten leading postmodern choreographers who created seminal works at P.S. 122, including four known to Buffalo audiences from their residencies and appearances at Hallwalls in the1980s and early ‘90s: Ann Carlson, Yoshiko Chuma, Dancenoise, and Ishmael Houston-Jones. Produced by their fellow choreographer and performer Charles Dennis, himself a co-founder of P.S. 122, this hour-long documentary places their work within the context of a larger community of artists who were instrumental in expanding the boundaries of contemporary dance and performance. Homecoming follows these choreographers as they returned to P.S. 122 for a special taping of selected dances from their repertories and captures their reflections on both their work and their relationship to the institution that nurtured them. In addition to these interviews with artists, the documentary features new and archival performance clips, performance stills by Dona Ann McAdams, original music by John Zorn, critical commentary by Deborah Jowitt of the Village Voice and Jennifer Dunning of the New York Times, and additional interviews with Joseph Melillo (executive producer of the Brooklyn Academy of Music), Mark Russell (artistic director of P.S 122), and Russell’s P.S. 122 co-founders Charles Moulton, Tim Miller, and Dennis himself.

Preceding the screening, which he will introduce, Charles Dennis performs as Mr. Remote, a man in love with his home electronics. Mr. Remote enters his home, pulls out his remote and turns on the lights. He hangs his coat and uses the remote to turn on his radio. He makes himself a martini, sits down, aims the remote again and turns on his TV. After channel surfing and finding nothing of interest, he turns on his video camera and begins to watch himself. He plays with his camera, treating it as a mirror, friend, and lover. He dances a duet with his own electronic image, projected on a wall behind him. Music from his radio—jazz, hip-hop, muzak, rock, and pop—provides the soundtrack for his actions. He records his actions, plays them back, and falls in love with himself.

" ...Mr. Dennis’s imagination is as agile as his moving body…closer to club art than art video, the piece has the dynamic energy of dance itself, a rare thing in video dance. [He] plays with real, imagined and video time with quietly dazzling wit and comfortable humanity. Mr. Remote looks beautiful and is a great deal of fun…the results are hilarious" (New York Times).

"Perfectly and scarily captures the seductive demonics of our increasingly virtual world" (Village Voice).

Charles Dennis was awarded a 2003 Fellowship in Performance/Interdisciplinary Art from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), whose sponsorship makes this appearance possible. He has also received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art, and the UCLA National Dance Media Fellowship Program.

Some publications related to this event:
March, April and May, 2004 - 2004