Brigid McAuliffe

In Residence: September 7 – October 23, 2009
Exhibition: opens Thursday, October 22, continues through November 11, 2009
Learning Lab: Clear Lake Middle School

Encore Performance
Dance/live cinema performance and new media exhibition
Brigid McAuliffe, Amanda Bishop (Flamenco)
6pm and 7:30 pm in Suite 120

Brigid McAuliffe culminates her two month residency with Embody, an exhibition/installation which uses percussive dance as a vehicle to explore cultural identity, history, and empowerment in generations of women. The work, a dynamic mix of projected images and sound, features a multi-channel video/audio installation to showcase and integrate each woman’s dance and dialogue. Audio fluctuates between the sounds of dance and the dancer’s voices, to create a resonating pulse in the gallery. McAuliffe: “Embodiment is usually understood as providing the ephemeral – a spirit, feeling, vision, or otherwise – with a tangible or visual form. Embody explores the complex meanings of this term to generations of female dancers who experience embodiment of a certain spirit or feeling while dancing. They articulate this feeling as being unique to dance: it is one that arises when they are wholly immersed, mentally and physically in the flow of movement, performance or practice.”

During the process, McAuliffe interviewed female dancers who practice Spanish Flamenco, Mexican Folklorico, West African, American Jazz Tap and Native American dances (Northern Traditional, Jingle Dress, and Fancy Shawl). Although very distinct from one another, these dances have some major elements in common. They utilize the feet as a percussive element, share certain gender dimensions, and speak to cultural identity and empowerment, history, tradition, and change. Using these interviews as a starting point, McAuliffe created a series of interwoven physical and time-based pieces that engulf the viewer’s senses and place them inside the flow.

McAuliffe worked with eight girls from Clear Lake Middle School in a series of Learning Labs at PlatteForum. Students interviewed the dancers about the cultural, personal and social significance of their practice and created flip-books and animated films about their experience. These works are displayed in the gallery.

About the Artist
In 2008 McAuliffe was an artist in residence at el Levante in Rosario, Argentina, where she created a documentary and installation expressing the significance of the Tango to a community of dancers in Rosario. Although this was the first time she explored dance through a lens and through participants voices, she has always had a deep interest in the powerful, ephemeral experience of music and dance. McAuliffe is also interested in the way cultural identity and personal histories are preserved, evolve and become embodied in dance. Where sports and music are often dominated by men, dance is often led by women. Dance is an art form (and sport) where women can find empowerment through expression, physical strength and the discovery of self Embodyis a project that incorporates all of these interests as well as a chance for her to share and create with a future generation of women. McAuliffe’s solo and collaborative work has been shown nationally and internationally. She has studied and shown work in Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy. She was an artist-in-residence and exhibited twice in Rosario, Argentina. She is currently working on a collaborative, interactive audio/video installation at the Denver Art Museum, which will open in November. In addition to her visual work, she is also a musician, playing accordion, glockenspiel and singing in Denver’s electro-folk quintet, Bela Karoli. She often composes and performs original scores to her video and live cinema performances. She is currently completing her MFA at the University of Denver in Electronic Media Arts Design.