Jun 5, 2009

Interview with Jill Sigman from Jill Sigman/Think Dance

Okay so all you folks up late, trying to figure out what you’re going to see at Bushwick Open Studios tomorrow and Sunday…or if you’re reading this on Saturday and maybe even Sunday Jill Sigman is a must see. It’s very refreshing to have someone like her in our hood. Ever feel like if you’ve seen one dance performance you’ve seen ‘em all? Well not with this girl! I don’t know about y’all but I’m keeping my eye on her because she’s riding this crazy wave that’s bringing dance, performance art and mixed media into a “post apocalyptic landscape” called now and the future.

Jill Sigman is a choreographer and mixed media artist who is trained in classical ballet with a background in Analytic Philosophy. Over the years she drifted into modern dance and eventually created her own sort of idiosyncratic way of moving. She founded her company, Jill Sigman/Think Dance about 10 years ago. Her recent work involves lots of layering of video, live music, text, objects and any other things that enhance the meaning of her work. She aims to create work that helps people to think about things that are going on in the world; that are immediate and of pressing concern. Sigman started working in her space (right across from Archive Cafe) about a year and a half ago. Although her studio is a visual arts studio and not a movement studio she finds lots of value in it because she feel likes the visual artists who share her space definitely help inform her work.

Jill; Brooklyn born and raised finds it ironic that while she moved away from Brooklyn to get away from the nest, all of her friends over the past few years have moved here. Sigman wholeheartedly believes in the borough and is attached to the culture and messiness of it (Bushwick specifically); however she understands that a big reason why several artists are here is because of economics.

Sigman found out about Open Studios through Arts in Bushwick’s fabulous marketing and promoting. For her first BOS performance Jill had an open rehearsal and she put up some videos and photos. This performance actually made her realize how much of a gift BOS is to the artists in this community. It happened that the week after the BOS show she was having a performance and because of her involvement in Open Studios several people who’d seen her work the week prior returned to see more.

For this year’s Open Studios Sigman will be showing movement scores created through inspiration of recent found objects, that she later manipulated in various ways. One of her colleagues described some of these objects as, “post apocalyptical emotional packages.” These movement scores will also be part of the exchange that she is doing as part of Re-Imagining Utopia in New York City. Sigman says that the project with MRX Austria is very fitting at this time; when she found out the central theme that she would be working with for this weekend would be about the balance of hope and despair, she felt like it was the direction she was already going in with her work that she is currently focusing on. With this piece (which is completely experimental) Sigman is playing with the idea of the body: body politic, geographic body, body of Brooklyn, human body etc. So she is covering her own body with moss, purified water packets amongst other objects and like a “refugee she is searching for the place where it’s all ok, where she can put down all her stuff and find roots again.” Expect to see this performance Saturday and Sunday around 4pm—there will be an installation of objects up both Saturday and Sunday from 2-6pm.

Jill would like to say great job to Arts in Bushwick! The work that AIB is doing has allowed her to experiment in ways that she normally wouldn’t have. She has been able to depart from her normal way of production and truly experiment.

“It is very liberating as a movement artist, in this context [Open Studios]...People are looking from a different perspective. And it’s refreshing that when I put up my visuals people find value in that and I don’t always have to be dancing when people come to the studio. In the dance world/community generally people tend to look at mixed media art and they have a hard time having things occupy two boxes at once. The people who come through are part of the contemporary media culture. Arts in Bushwick has convinced me that you can do things here and there will be an audience for it.”Jill Sigman

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