DRAWING LIFE by fred hatt



Blacklight body art at a party at Collective Unconscious, NYC, 1999, bodypaint and photo by Fred Hatt

I’m involved with several events over the next few days.  Click on “Calendar” for details.

Sunday the 14th:  Opening for Spring Studio 18th Anniversary Show, featuring hundreds of artists.  Spring Studio, NYC, starts 6:30.

Sunday the 14th:  Blacklight Body Painting Dance Party at St. George Healing Arts, Staten Island, 6 pm on, donation suggested.

Tuesday the 16th:  KAMI, live music by Gregory Reynolds and butoh dance by Mariko Endo with video and light by Fred Hatt, part of a multi-media program also featuring Ben Miller and Orin Buck, at the Gershwin Hotel, NYC, 8 pm, $10.

Monday the 22nd:  New choreography by Jung Woong Kim, featuring special light effects by Fred Hatt, at Movement Research at Judson Church, NYC, 8 pm, free.



Still from Fred Hatt's video for "Ka=Fire Mi=Water"

Still from Fred Hatt's video for "Ka=Fire Mi=Water"

This week in New York there are two performances I’m associated with and recommend.

On Sunday, October 18, at 8:30 pm, Monkey Town, Brooklyn’s immersive video cube bar/restaurant presents a program of Music and Butoh (Japanese avant-garde dance).  My elemental video imagery is part of the performance Ka = Fire  Mi = Water, by dancer Mariko Endo with live music by Gregory Reynolds.  “Kami” is a Japanese word for God.  Its syllables are the words for fire and water.  It suggests a conception of spirit as a circulation of rising and falling energies, and that’s about as good a description of what this piece is about that I can offer.

Also running from tonight through the 18th, Seeing Place Theater‘s production of Keith Bunin’s play The Credeaux Canvas is presented at the Bridge Theater at Shetler Studios.  This is an intense little story with complex, nuanced characters, and its depiction of young New York bohemians is rich and real.  The lead actress is Anna Marie Sell, whose portrait by me graced the cover of American Artist Drawing Magazine last Spring.   Anna Marie models for an artist in the play.  The director of this production is the multitalented Lillian Wright, also an actress and a great model I’ve worked with many times.  Lillian was the model for my light painting photograph below, which was used for the postcard and program for this show:

Lightpainting for "The Credeaux Canvas", 2008, photo by Fred Hatt

Lightpainting for "The Credeaux Canvas", 2008, photo by Fred Hatt

To keep up with my performances, exhibits and events, check the “Calendar” page on this blog.


Blind Sight

Journey, 2009, still from video by Mana Hashimoto

Journey, 2009, still from video by Mana Hashimoto

I’ve collaborated with many dancers and performers over the past fifteen years or so, creating projected imagery and other visual elements to integrate with live performances.  Among all of them, my collaboration with dancer Mana Hashimoto has been unique.

Mana, who trained as a musician at the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston, lost her sight completely as a young adult.  Since that time she has pursued an international career as a solo dance artist, while raising a daughter as a single mother.  Despite all her challenges, Mana has a beatific smile and a funny laugh.  Her performances are personal journeys, often involving interactions with hard and awkward objects.  She also leads workshops on “Dance without Sight”, guiding her students to explore their own environment and to observe the movement of others through touch and the other non-visual senses.

I’ve collaborated with Mana on several performances.  Mana has a strong visual imagination and always has visual ideas for her pieces.  With other collaborators, I show them things and see what they think, working towards realizing their ideas.  With Mana I have to describe everything to her, trying to convey to her the total visual effect of the images I am providing in combination with her movement and presence on stage.

Mana’s newest piece, called Journey, is being presented at CRS in Manhattan tonight through Sunday (May 1-3).  It incorporates video that Mana shot during her travels last winter in Finland and Poland on a performance tour.  I edited the video and worked on integrating it with the performance.  (Marijke Eliasberg is presenting a separate piece in this program, a complex choreography that rearranges thirteen dancers into ever-changing combinations.)

Journey, 2009, still from video by Mana Hashimoto

Journey, 2009, still from video by Mana Hashimoto

Of course, Mana could not see what she was filming.  She had to show the video to others and have them describe the content.  But the images she provided are lovely, and it was amazing how easily they fell into place in the performance, and how well they go with the music and the movement.  A sighted person tends to frame the video around focal points of attention, but Mana’s video becomes an environment and lets her performance be the focal point.

I am, even more than usual, a visually oriented person, and my consciousness tends to rest right behind the eyes.  But there is much to be learned from closing the eyes.  Working with an artist who cannot see makes me see, and feel, in new ways.

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