MCA Chicago Seeks Performers for Danny Giles Work

Still from the artist’s 2015 video dead(air).


The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago has put out a call for participants for an upcoming performance accompanying Danny Giles’s 2015 video work dead(air). The museum and the multidisciplinary artist, who’s based in the city, are seeking around 10 experienced performers, dancers, and artists between the ages 16 and 65, and people of color are encouraged to apply.

Prospective performers “must be able to navigate a darkened space, hold poses for 10 minutes or longer, and memorize simple choreography” for the November 8 performance, which is part of a program called “MCA ’68: Art & Violence, Then & Now.”

The call for performers says that participants will “assume positions of apprehension, escape, and death” and that “the work borrows gestures from contemporary protest movements” and utilizes forms of avant-garde dance. The choreographed presentation will take place in the same space as the audience, though dancers won’t necessarily interact with viewers.

dead(air) shifts between real and fictional accounts of state violence, and when the piece debuted in 2015, the artist was the sole performer to accompany it. January Parkos Arnall, the curator of public programs at the MCA, Chicago, told ARTnews in a phone interview that, given the perpetuation of violence in the years since the debut of dead(air), Giles “wanted to think about expanding the piece and incorporating multiple bodies.”

Since this is the first time the artist will include a group of performers with the piece, he’s still “playing with the form” of the presentation, which “may change as performers move with him in the space,” according to Parkos Arnall.

Performers will receive a $50 stipend; interested parties should send a headshot and short bio to by October 26.

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