Behind the Scenes: Erika Vogt's Artist Theater Program

In preparation for Erika Vogt's Performa Commission Artist Theater Program, Performa Magazine published an April 2014 interview between her and artist Adam Putnam that first appeared on After all Online, exploring the many elements that came together to produce Vogt's Performa Commission Artist Theater Program.

Below is an excerpt from the interview:

Adam Putnam: In the past your role in creating the ATP has been one of sequencing moving images, much like a curator arranges an exhibition, but for this latest version of ATP you are piecing together not just video and sound but sculptural props and written texts. It feels like you’re stepping into the role of a theatre director. I was privy to a few meetings you were having at EMPAC and I was struck by how much you’ve taken on in that role. Does this feel new for you? Or does it feel natural to do all of this?

Erika Vogt: With the past two screenings, it was very similar to a drawing process. The way the space and work unfolded in the programme was inspired by Danièle Huillet’s and Jean-Marie Straub’s film Every Revolution Is a Roll of the Dice [1978]. I wanted to compress the space and time of an exhibition and to have each individual artist contribute a very distinct work. It doesn’t feel strange to work as a director. I think the difference is that a director can have a more artistic approach, as you are working with an artist as an artist. If a curator were to say we need to take forty minutes out of your work, it would be like, ‘fuck you!’. But if the director said you have to do this, because it’s the content of the whole work, and because you’re working with another artist, it’d be a different response. I was really interested in this idea too of layering all these mediums together. The layering can be chaotic, as when I’m layering my videos. I take so much video and when you put it all together it looks like murky gray paint – which is fine; I know that some painters like Amy Sillman will take that and put it back into their paintings. I’m curious about having all these things layered over together – so at times they are really murky and at times the picture they form is very acute, like the detail of an object.

Read more here.

Image credit: Erika Vogt, Artist Theater Program, 2014, featuring Adam Putnam, Flora Wiegmann, and Shannon Ebner and artwork by MPA, Erika Vogt, Silke Otto-Knapp, Flora Wiegmann, and Shannon Ebner; photo by Ryan Jenkins, courtesy of the artist and Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York. Erika Vogt, Artist Theater Program, 2014, featuring Math Bass, Allison Clark, Seantel Chamberlain, Ellen Foster, Alisa Silkelianos-Carter and Mark So and artwork by MPA, Erika Vogt, Silke Otto-Knapp, Flora Wiegmann, and Shannon Ebner; photo by Ryan Jenkins, courtesy of the artist and Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York.