Pittsburgh duo slowdanger continues dance series with memory 7: farthest field | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh duo slowdanger continues dance series with memory 7: farthest field

click to enlarge A dancer draped in gauzy material is photographed from behind.
Photo: Anita Buzzy Prentiss
memory 7: farthest field by slowdanger
The Pittsburgh duo slowdanger has, over the past several years, unfolded a story through movement. The latest chapter of that story, titled the memory series, will play out at The Space Upstairs.

The creative forces behind slowdanger, taylor knight and anna thompson, will present memory 7: farthest field, a live duet performance described as "forming an ethereal capsule." Taking place Fri., Jan. 27 and Sat., Jan. 28, the show will include a film documenting memory 6, created in collaboration with Juliette Sutherland, a cinematographer who is also thompson's cousin.

In an email interview with Pittsburgh City Paper, knight and thompson explain that the memory series began in 2013 with memory 0: ... , and now consists of eight episodic works that can be experienced in or out of order.

"This body of work was an initial entry point to exploring how we would make work together," the email reads. "The spirit of this series manifests through a long-term interactive process that returns to past concepts, images, ideas repeatedly over our career, allowing for each work to inform itself and the next, sample itself, and evolve from one to the other."

They compare this process to a construction zone, the environment that, they say, also provided inspiration for the name slowdanger.

"With the memory series, we can come home to a process that is continually being stirred by our vast experiences in other creative processes of our own and as collaborators in others," they add. "It is a process where we can always pick up where we left off."

To that end, memory 7: farthest field picks up where memory 6, which will screen before the live performance, leaves off, with "a rebirth and re-entry."

They say that the memory series continues "to reflect the rhythms of life that we move through cyclically throughout our lives," including gestation, birth, growth, stagnation, degradation, death, and decay.

In terms of what to expect, slowdanger says memory 7 will play with the "abstraction of the body and its continuation through the landscape, surrealism, DIY aesthetics, womb-like ambiance, the crinkle of plastic, stark lighting and scene changes," as well as elements like "silhouette, sunset/dawn, voices, breath, footsteps, rhythm."

"It uses set design to further abstract and blur the body's relationship to its environment," they continue. "We want it to feel like the space between dream and waking, when you are not sure what is real and where there might be stark moments of hyper-specific clarity that fall back into a place that is both familiar and foreign."

They explain that memory 6 was "performed and shaped" at various festivals and touring engagements, then turned into a film during the pandemic. In contrast, memory 7 had a "much shorter process of development." It will also serve as a space for slowdanger to explore ideas for SUPERCELL, a larger, developing work set to premiere in December.

They add that concepts they discussed with their scenic collaborator, ProjectileObjects, for SUPERCELL were instrumental in producing memory 7.

"While we have had less time in the studio incubating this work, we think there is an immediacy and electricity to works that have a quick process," they say. "We have to move and make decisions from instinct and intuition. There can be beautiful moments that we may have removed or disappeared in favor of clarifying a larger concept if we had more time to stew with the work."
memory 7: farthest field. 8 p.m. Fri., Jan. 27-Sat., Jan. 28. The Space Upstairs. 214 N. Lexington St., Point Breeze. $20. farthestfield.splashthat.com

Cupid's Undie Run in Pittsburgh, 2024
18 images

Cupid's Undie Run in Pittsburgh, 2024

By Mars Johnson