Carnegie Mellon University
October 28, 2019

CMU Residency Artists Create Performance Exploring Control, Empathy

By Margaret Cox

Margaret Cox
  • Miller Institute for Contemporary Art
  • 412-268-4754

Carnegie Mellon University's Miller Institute for Contemporary Art will present a "Bearance," a performance by Matty Davis and Ben Gould at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 16, the Braddock Carnegie Library, 419 Library St., Braddock, Pennsylvania, 15104.

"Bearance" is the culmination of a two-week residency by Davis and Gould. It is the second work in an evolving collaboration between the pair, who created "Carriage," a site-responsive work that radically explores control and empathy that was performed in 2018 in New York City, Chicago and Las Angeles.

"Beginning in solitude in the library's gymnasium, the performance will use 'Carriage' as an energetic and emotional primer, readying new territory for evolving desire and possibility," Davis said. Gould added that by "harnessing tools learned through our commitment to shared challenge and discovery, 'Bearance' aims to unbury and make felt relationships between sensation, structure and meaning."

Davis is an artist and choreographer originally from Pittsburgh. Often collaborative — with other people, the land and histories — his multidisciplinary work begins with the body and the mining of physical and psychological resources. Unpredictable relationships and undertakings are navigated through risk, trust, and intimacy in search of personal and interpersonal transformation. His work has been presented at Palais de Tokyo, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Max Ernst Museum and Printed Matter. He has taught movement and performance workshops throughout the United States.

Gould is a visual and performance artist based in New York. After developing Tourette Syndrome four years ago, his studio practice has come to harbor a growing investment in the body — exploring resistance, the loss of control, and how energy is transformed and transferred. He was a 2015 Ox-Bow Fellow, and has been an artist in residence at Queenslab, Kickstarter Headquarters, Lightbox and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.

"We sense the world through this skin of ours. It is the surface that brokers our relationship to external forces and translates them as pain or pleasure. Violence and intimacy both necessitate that our skins touch and communicate," said Liz Park, curator of "This Skin of Ours." "I wanted to explore this organ as a site of injuries and repair, conflict and connection. At the same time, I wanted to think about the surface of an artist's chosen material — whether it be canvas, plywood or vinyl — as a kind of skin."

The artists in the exhibition explore pain and hurt, redemptive possibilities of healing, and the meeting of private and public lives through their unique lens. The exhibition is a proposal to experience the works as a collective sensing organ, pulsing with color and texture, and having the capacity to feel and empathize with the pain of others as well as the pleasure from tender touch.

"This Skin of Ours" also features Kader Attia, Victoria Fu & Matt Rich, Byron Kim, Kiki Kogelnik, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, and Wilmer Wilson IV. The exhibition will be on display through Sunday, Nov. 17, There will be a conversation with Kim and the poet Carl Phillips at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31, co-sponsored by CMU, the Center for the Arts in Society with support from the University of Pittsburgh, Center for African American Poetry and Poetics.