BCNM students collaborate on ZERO1 Biennial performance piece "Tulle/Tool"

04 Sep, 2012

BCNM students collaborate on ZERO1 Biennial performance piece "Tulle/Tool"

Ashley Ferro-Murray, P.h.D. Performance Studies, DE in New Media, UC Berkeley
Erin Colleen Johnson, MFA, Certificate in New Media, UC Berkeley

September 14,2012 6pm - 12am
South First Street
(between San Carlos and Reed)
SoFA District, San Jose

BCNM students, Ashley Ferro-Murray and Erin Colleen Johnson recently collaborated on "Tulle/Tool," a performance piece commissioned by ZERO1 Biennial.

"Tulle/Tool" is a prosthetic dance between tulle netting and a human agent. It explores the way that technological prosthesis can simultaneously empower and objectify the body. It is the contemporary appropriation of an anachronistic feminist device that seeks to ask the question: What is technology and what does it do to our identity?

In 1832 French ballerina Marie Taglioni dawned the first tutu to dance the ballet La Sylphide. The tutu is made of tulle, light fabric that consists of strong hexagonal stitching. The light and strong makeup of the dancing skirt allowed for Taglioni to move around the stage more freely and to jump as high as her male counterparts. Since the nineteenth century, however, the tutu and its characteristic tulle technology has become the iconographic symbol of the female ballerina as sexual object.

This performance is a new media artwork for which tulle is a movement sensor. By way of stripping digital devices from the performance environment Ferro-Murray and Johnson focus on the physicality of the human body as it has always interacted with objects. They take away the devices that are often staged as trendy fetish objects to think metaphorically and historically about bodies, movement sensors, and prosthetics.

This project was commissioned by ZERO1 Biennial with suport from the James Irvine Foundation and UC Berkeley Center for New Media.