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Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Premiere

Grisha Coleman’s echo::system — treadmill dreamtime, running in place, a collaborative project drawing its audience into an immersive multi-media performance and installation. Coleman, formerly a dancer with Urban Bush Women, marries her background as a writer and scholar, with her artistic expertise composing, performing and developing choreography. This project builds on her five-piece series echo::system — a response to our current global crisis of humans’ inability to reflect upon our impact on the natural world. The dynamic performance features a nomadic group exploring and experiencing a desert environment through blind faith in their machines (treadmills). Caught in a paradox of walking without traveling, the dance-driven narrative leads performers on a vision quest to seek knowledge of the evolutionary future of their species.

The performance is coupled with a daytime interactive installation available from 11 AM – 5 PM in the YBCA Forum. The installation is designed for active participation, giving the public access to treadmills that when activated display a digital simulation of a landscape, inviting audience members to reflect upon their own impact on the natural world. treadmill dreamtime, running in place in conjunction with YBCA’s Public Square on April 16 invites artists and citizens alike to inquire and explore the balance of human behavior and resilient ecologies.

The Desert


  • GRISHA COLEMAN, (project lead) Composer and choreographer in performance and experiential media, her work explores relationships among our physiological, technological and ecological systems. She works as an Associate Professor of Movement, Computation and Digital Media at the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the School of Dance at Arizona State University. Her current work echo::system http://www.echo-system.net is a springboard for re-imagining the environment, environmental change, and environmental justice. Part of this multi-platform work has been presented at the International Society of Electronic Arts Dubai (ISEA 2014), ArtXScience Pasadena City of Art and Science Festival, and the 2011 New Media Art Triennial at the National Art Museum in Beijing, China. The work has been collaboratively developed with an interdisciplinary team of artists, researchers, scientists, architects, animators and performers. Ms. Coleman’s work has been presented and supported nationally and internationally by numerous grants and awards most recently including a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) ‘Arts in Media’ Award (2012), a Surdna Foundation ‘Thriving Cultures’ Award (2014), The Mohr Visiting Artist at Stanford University (2014), and artist fellowships at The MacDowell Colony, The Rockefeller Center in Bellagio, Italy (2015) and most recently by a commission from the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC).

  • MONSTAH BLACK (performer) is known for his multi-dimensional funk drenched audio, dance and visual designs, blurring the lines of genre and gender. His aesthetic reflects pop culture of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. He’s performed internationally from Art Basel, Miami to Brazil, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, the New Media Performance Festival in Moscow and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City. He is currently an Artist In Residence at Dixon Place in New York City, where he is being commissioned to build his new work entitled HYPERBOLIC! (the last spectacle).

  • ANITRA BROOKS (performer) is a singer-songwriter, musician, actor and educator. A graduate of Brown University and the Integrative Sound and Music Institute, she has toured the US and world with Drama Desk Award-nominated puppet performers and masked musicians Big Nazo, Drama Desk Award-nominated “bad-ass masters of vocalogy” Hotmouth, and with the dance and live music performance installation echo::system. In her fifteen years in New York City, she has performed at such venues as the Public Theater, Belasco Theater, LaMama, HERE Arts Center, Kraine Theater, Ohio Theatre and National Black Theatre. She has also been featured in numerous TV and radio commercials, TV shows and soap operas. As a recording artist, she has released two albums of original music: Flood in 2008 and I Walk in Your Light in 2015. www.anitrabrooks.com

  • SHERWOOD CHEN (performer) has worked as a performer for artists including Anna Halprin, Xavier Le Roy, Min Tanaka, l’agence touriste, Sara Shelton Mann, inkBoat, Ko Murobushi, Dohee Lee, Liz Santoro and Christine Bonansea. Sherwood co-founded dance collaborative Headmistress with Amara Tabor-Smith, and leads workshops internationally in the studio and in natural and urban landscapes. For over twenty years, he has contributed to Body Weather research initiated by Min Tanaka and his associates.

  • MIKO DOI-SMITH (performer), originally from Southern California, began dancing while attending the University of Hawaii. She has performed and worked with various choreographers and companies including Ballet X, Charles O. Anderson/Dance Theatre X, Kate Watson-Wallace/Anonymous Bodies, Liz Lerman, Philadanco and Ralph Lemon. In addition to her life as a performer, she has been a registered nurse for over twenty years and teaches yoga in Philadelphia.

  • JONATHAN GONZALEZ (performer) is a NY-based artist working in performance, sound design, and production. He is currently a New York Live Arts Fresh Tracks artists with collaborator EmmaGrace Skove Epes (2015-16), BAX/Dancing While Black Fellow (2015-16), and has shown work at BAAD! Blaktinx and OutLikeThat festivals, Danspace Project, Socrates Sculpture Park, Loisaida Center, Wild Project, XL Nightclub, and JACK. He has had the pleasure to work with Patricia Hoffbauer, Cynthia Oliver, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Ni’Ja Whitson, Will Rawls, and Katrina Reid.

  • MARGUERITE HEMMINGS (performer) is Jamaican born, raised in New Jersey, and has been living in NYC for the past 10 years. She graduated from Columbia University in Education and Urban Studies. As a dancer, Marguerite specializes in street styles, social dances, hip hop, and dancehall, and has been trained in modern and West African. She currently teaches Experimental Dancehall, a term she has coined to capture her love of dancehall/reggae culture, music, and dance as well as her love for movement exploration, improvisation, and challenging norms and expectations of how we express ourselves.

  • RON RAGIN (performer) writes, sings, composes, and makes interdisciplinary performance work that integrates sound, text, and movement. His creative interests include music of the African Diaspora, embodied ancestral memory, improvisational creative processes, liberation aesthetics, and the development and maintenance of spiritual technologies. Ron grew up in Perry, Georgia and received his musical training at the Saint James Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. He’s had the honor of performing with brilliant souls like Amara Tabor-Smith and Laurel Butler, studying his crafts with luminaries such as Joy Harjo and Brenda Wong Aoki, and being a soloist on Christopher Tin’s Grammy Award-winning album Calling All Dawns.

  • ANTHONY SHEVLIN (performer) is a Brooklyn based artist; he hails from the Sonoran desert where he studied dance at Arizona State University, under the Direction of Simon Dove. While there he had the privilege of working with remarkable artists such as Mary Fitzgerald, Thomas Lehmen, Ashleigh Leite, and Eileen Standley.Anthony is interested in participating and creating work that revolutionizes and empowers itself in a reflexive process of honest inquiry and interrogation, challenges and believes in his physicality, and deeply values the process of creation as research that contributes to a broader discourse; he believes in dancing with human-ness, faultless and free. When not making his own work or involved in other collaborations, he dances for Gaspard & Dancers and Dishman + Co. in NYC.

  • EMILY AUBLE (projection design) is an artist and designer whose work explores diverse models of collaboration. She builds bridges between the crafts of film, theater, and fine art to translate ideas into new and unique forms. She received her MFA from CalArts in 2011 and continues to live and work in Los Angeles, California. Selected credits include: Associate Video Designer, ‘Rocky Das Musical’ 2012; PropMaster, Ryan Trecartin - Venice Biennale films 2013; Co-Creator, ‘Visions in HD’ - Southern Machine Exposure Project 2013; Set Decorator, ‘Speech & Debate’ 2015; Production Designer, ‘Rom.Com’ 2015.

  • VITA BEREZINA-BLACKBURN (3d animation design) is a visual artist working with motion capture and 3D computer animation for film, performance and installation. Her works have been featured at MIT Museum, Dance Theatre Workshop, on PBS, at animation festivals in the US, Brazil, Poland, Italy, Czech Republic, Russia, and the Netherlands. Berezina-Blackburn’s collaborative works with choreographers, such as Bebe Miller, have been featured at Danspace Project, The Kitchen, Wexner Center for the Arts, PICA, Red Cat, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She is currently on staff at the Ohio State University’s Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design. DARAGH BYRNE (sensor design) is a Research Scientist in the Visible Process Lab at the School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University, where he explores the design of experiential media systems through process-oriented methods. At CMU, and in his previous role as an Assistant Research Professor at Arizona State University’s School of Arts, Media and Engineering, he manages the NSF Funded XSEAD project which seeks to support interdisciplinary collaboration by bridging arts and design perspectives with science and engineering to foster innovation and advanced outcomes. He defended his PhD at Dublin City University in August 2011, holds a M.Res. degree in Design and Evaluation of Advanced interactive Systems from Lancaster University and a BSc. in Computer Applications from DCU.

  • GIA CACALANO (choreographic assistant), originally from NYC, is an educator, choreographer, improviser and performer, currently based in Pittsburgh, PA. Ms. Cacalano’s career spans 35 years and she has worked with countless acclaimed and renowned companies, both nationally and internationally. She has received numerous accolades, honors, and nominations for her independent solo and ensemble work. Ms. Cacalano continues to serve on esteemed panels and as an adjudicator.

  • ONOME EKEH (writer) was born and raised on both sides of the Atlantic, OE started out as a painter, gravitated towards design and fell in love with cinema. Somewhere in the collusion, she went digital… She has produced works for film, theater and radio and is the recipient of several fellowships including support from the Jerome Foundation, Kunstlerhaus Buchsenhausen, and the Greenwall Foundation. She has written for literary, film, and technology journals in the U.S. and Europe. As a dramaturge, she has worked on projects such as David Thomson’s “Venus”, Okwui Okpakwasili’s “Bronx Gothic’, as well as collaborated with artists such as Kate McGarry, Carl Hancock Rux, Knut Asdam, Clarinda Mac Low and Paul Boocock. She is the creative director of Featurezoo, a New York based digital boutique agency.

  • BRANDON GIORDANO & COLLIN WEBER (costume design) of James Veloria Studio in Brooklyn, NY, sell, rent and create custom pieces for personal use, theater, film, and photo shoots. James Veloria Studio was created by Collin James Weber and Brandon Veloria Giordano as an outlet for their expanding personal archive and creative design ideas. echo::system’s wardrobe design was inspired by many things including early Margiela, desert beetles, and Nicolas Roeg’s film The Man Who Fell to Earth. To peruse and shop their archive, check out: www.jamesveloria.com.

  • WALTER KITUNDU (music composition) is a sound artist and instrument builder, photographer, performer, installation artist, and designer (print, web, environmental). He is the inventor of a family of Phonoharps, multi-stringed instruments made from record players that rely on the turntable’s sensitivity to vibration. As an artist, he has created hand-built record players powered by the wind and rain, fire and earthquakes, birds, light, and the force of ocean waves. He received a MacArthur Fellowship for his work in this field.

  • STEVEN KLEMS (projection design) is a video designer based out of Los Angeles California. His work has been seen both domestically and internationally in the worlds of film, theatre, television, fine art and theme parks. Originally from Berkeley, CA, he holds a Masters in Design from the California Institute for the Arts. His interests range from drama to music to computer interactivity. He originally got into video design because he was “trying to make computers dance”. His work on the echo::system project can be seen as an extension of that same line of inquiry.

  • MICHAEL KRZYZANIAK (software design) is a Ph.D. candidate in Media Arts + Sciences at Arizona State University. He studies human-robot interaction in musical contexts, and build machines that play musical instruments. He develops techniques that allow the machines to learn how to play by listening to humans play. He also studies human movement and develops responsive audio environments for dance works.

  • TONY MULANIX (lighting design) is a multi-disciplinary artist and lighting designer based in New York City. He brings his sculptural, immersive lighting environments to the fields of theater, dance, music, and multi-media installation. Tony has designed for national and international venues, ensembles and institutes including: P.S. 122, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Arcane Collective, La MaMa, Jean Cocteau Repertory, evidEnce Room, REDCAT, The Actors’ Gang, Boston Lyric Opera, Compagnia de’ Colombri, The Guggenheim, Eyebeam, University Settlement, and Carnegie Mellon. Tony received his MFA from California Institute of the Arts.

  • TONY OBR (sound design) is a composer, sound artist, and media designer whose work attempts to redefine the boundaries of musicality and the place of sound in music. He frequently works in the development of interactive systems for dance performance and art installation along with his solo musical work as tsone. His work has been heard in the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts, Phoenix Art Museum, Haas Gallery of Art, and on a variety of international record labels including Home Normal, Tessellate Recordings, Stereoscenic, Tsuku-Boshi, Audiotalaia, Dark Era Tapes, and Pocket Fields.

  • JOHN ODUROE (spatial design) received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Carnegie Mellon’s School of Architecture in 2003, and completed a Fulbright scholarship in 2006 at the University College London, Department of Geography. John’s design work is fueled by an interest in the relationships between space, architecture, and identity; more specifically, he is fascinated by the idea that spatial expressions of cultural, ethnic, and racial difference can serve as interesting sources of inspiration for generations of architectural forms and experiences. In addition to architecture, John explores these concepts as an artist, published writer, and installation designer.

  • DAVID TINAPPLE (interface design) is an assistant professor at Arizona State University’s School of Arts, Media + Engineering. Part artist, designer, and engineer, David’s work is about discovering and creating new interactive experiences that support human performance in complex settings. In his creative practice, he builds and exhibits interactive sculptures, responsive media environments, and audiovisual experiences. In his design practice, he creates and deploys new tools to support attention, perception, and collaboration. David takes the perspective that art and engineering are mutually reinforcing and complementary modes of investigation that together allow for the creation of works that act as hypotheses about the impacts of technology change.

  • MEGAN KENDZIOR (project manager) is a New York based dance maker and arts advocate. She is the Development Manager for Movement Research and works as an administrative and project consultant for Grisha Coleman, iLAND (interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature & Dance), and Donna Uchizono, among others. Her choreographic work offers buoyant explorative scores that allow imagination to blend with environmental influence, abstract narrative and historical inquiry. Her work has been presented by Danspace Project and New York Live Arts (Fresh Tracks), among other venues in New York, Florida, North Carolina, Illinois, Virginia, Montana, Washington DC and in Israel.

  • JACK BEUTTLER (production manager) is a Bay Area native who studied philosophy at UC Berkeley. Some companies he’s designed for include Dance Theatre of San Francisco, ODC/School, Lorraine Hansburry Theatre, Post:Ballet, LEVYdance, Lamplighters Music Theater, LINES BFA and Training Programs and is a recipient with GERALDCASELDANCE of the 2015 Lighting Artists in Dance Grant. He has also worked for ODC/Dance and Theater, Oakland Ballet, Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, Hope Mohr Dance, Composers Inc., Fluid Hug-Hug, REDCAT and others as a Production Manager, Stage Manager and Technical Director. He’s the Production Manager for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho and a freelance designer in San Francisco, where he continues to be a Giants fan from before they were good.

  • LAI YI OHLSEN (project intern) is a full stack developer and urban/modern dancer currently working in engineering management and arts administration. She will graduate with a B.S. in Computer Science and Minor in Art History from Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University in May 2016 with a completed thesis that explores the intersection of choice making within improvisational movement and algorithmic design.