By Amy Wells
Musicians and dancers from both sides of the Atlantic will come together for an improvisation performance at 8 p.m. Monday in Glidden Hall.
Marina Peterson, assistant professor of performance studies in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts, is the creator of a yearlong CircumAtlantic Improvisations series. She was inspired, she said, by a book she used in a spring-quarter class, "Cities of the Dead: Circum-Atlantic Performance," which looks at how cultural arts from Africa, Europe and the Americas have combined to create and shape history.
Participating artists and their specialties include Austrians Werner Moebius, computer and electronic music, and Mariella Greil, dance; and Americans Gene Coleman, bass clarinet, and Marina Peterson, cello.
A panel Q&A with the performers about interdisciplinary practice in the arts will follow the performance.
Also planned is a workshop that will introduce participants to improvisation techniques and how to incorporate them into artistic practices. That will be at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday in Putnam Hall 134.
Workshop participants may participate as musicians or dancers.
"I hope [the performance and workshop] will inspire students to ask questions about artistic and international exchange through improvisation," Peterson said. "It also is an opportunity for community members and students to meet people they can collaborate with in the future."
The visiting performers are diverse in their interests and expertise.
Moebius' works incorporate computer-generated music and remixes. He has performed at the Eighth International Biennale in Cairo and Whitechapel Art Gallery in London.
Greil's dance performances are inspired by collaborations with artists in other disciplines and experimentation combining past and new media technologies.
Coleman is a composer and musician who has created more than 40 works for a variety of instruments and ensembles, often using complex notations and improvisation in the same score. He is artistic director of the experimental music group Ensemble Noamnesia, which performs in Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
Peterson plays primarily new and improvised music and collaborates with artists working in a range of media including dance, radio, electronics, painting and film. She has a doctorate in anthropology and a performer's certificate in cello, and teaches performance studies that use critical approaches to space and time, the body, transnationalism and ethnography. She has performed in the United States and Europe and is a member of Ensemble Noamnesia.
"I hope this particular kind of music and dance will expose the students to something they are largely not seeing at the university or in the Athens community," Peterson said. "I hope it opens their minds and potentially turns them on to something new."
Both events are free and open to the public.
CircumAtlantic Improvisations is a new arts initiative funded by Arts for Ohio. Supported by the Vision OHIO plan, Arts for Ohio strives to incorporate the arts into campus culture by providing all students with free admission to nearly all College of Fine Arts events and expanding arts opportunities on campus.
Peterson said additional events featuring visiting artists from the U.S. and Europe are being planned for winter and spring quarters.