Blogs The Green Room Galen Treuer

Galen Treuer grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, where he began performing at age eight. After graduating from Oberlin College with high honors in economics, he moved to Minneapolis in 2001 to pursue a dance career. He since has performed with more than 20 companies and choreographers, and presented choreography in several Twin Cities venues. In 2002, he began making theater with Noah Bremer, a collaboration that led to the creation of Live Action Set and an interest in European style clown. He has studied clown with Jon Ferguson, Pierre Byland, Ricardo Puccetti, and others.

Galen has been recognized in the Minnesota and national press for his physical performances. His artistic activities have been supported by an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, a Travel Study Grant from the Jerome Foundation, and an Emerging Artists Residency at the New York Mills Art Center.

Photo courtesy the author.

Ask The Team a question:

I really enjoyed the moment where Sarah told us we could ask her a question. I didn’t ask one, but I have some now. So, what would you ask Sarah and The Team? Seriously you can ask anything.

I really enjoyed the moment where Sarah told us we could ask her a question. I didn’t ask one, but I have some now.

So, what would you ask Sarah and The Team? Seriously you can ask anything.

Everyone and the audience

For starters: the performance was fun. It was smart, rhythmic, dynamic, and fully committed. (yeah that sounds a lot like the NY Times review) To further validate the NY Times quote in the press material for Everyone, the piece sparked questions: Throughout the piece it felt to me like The Audience was always The Audience. […]

For starters: the performance was fun. It was smart, rhythmic, dynamic, and fully committed. (yeah that sounds a lot like the NY Times review)

To further validate the NY Times quote in the press material for Everyone, the piece sparked questions:

  • Throughout the piece it felt to me like The Audience was always The Audience. We were always watching and almost always distanced from the performers by their hightened experience. So, when is The Audience not The Audience?
  • What does it mean that there are so many cliches of contemporary/post-modern american dance in this piece (the hipster functional outfits, the staring at the audience, the taking off of shoes, the singing, the kissing, the rough movement style, the personal witty story about, the reflection on the process of art making)?

Let’s start there. Maybe someone would like to respond. Mr. Campbell?

Jerome Bel is a Clown

Jerome Bel is a Clown. A clown is a performer that acknowledges his/her audience, creating a bridge to the stage (it might be in a theater or a circus or a street corner or the frozen foods aisle). Generally clowns use humor and physicality to do this, and universally the clowns job is to get […]

Jerome Bel is a Clown.

A clown is a performer that acknowledges his/her audience, creating a bridge to the stage (it might be in a theater or a circus or a street corner or the frozen foods aisle). Generally clowns use humor and physicality to do this, and universally the clowns job is to get the attention of their audience and raise questions about taboos or assumptions in society.

I took a workshop from Pierre Byland, a well known Swiss clown that taught the Jeune Lune co-foudners, this summer, and he said that the job of the clown is to raise doubt in the audience.

The clown also wants to be loved. Being liked doesn’t matter, love is essential.

Jerome Bel is a clown:

Last night Jerome Bel said that his job as a contemporary artist working in the theater is to do research and “reflect what is happening in our society now” through his performances. That is why it is contemporary art. It is contemporary to now. That’s like a clown. With all the laughter, it looks like he’s using humor to do this. He is also “identified as a choreographer” and uses very specific physicality in his performances. That is also like a clown.

Pichet Klunchun and myself is all about doubt of our assumptions, our values, and essentially what we are doing in the theater.

Jerome Bel also needs love. Without love we would not survive as an artist. He explains the structure of contemporary art as 3 tiered: Artist, Producer/Sponsor, Audience. For the artist to survive the producers and audience support the artist’s research, blindly. They buy nothing, they “make a bet”. The faith in this bet looks a lot like love to me.

Finally, Jerome Bel wears a mask like a clown. The Red Nose of the clown is “the smallest mask in the world”. It allows the clown to do his job and take risks. Jerome Bel has created a mask that is called “Jerome Bel” that allows him to take risks and do his job. It makes me think of Stephen Colbert’s character Stephen Colbert, star of the Colbert Report.

Just one more connection: Jean Baudrillard, the French “philosopher clown” who died last spring argued that modern society creates representation that is more “real” than the original. Isn’t Jerome Bel’s work about representation and the real?

What do you think?

That was Festival of Lies

Last night I attended Festival of Lies by Les Studios Kabako from the Democratic Republic of Congo at the Cedar Cultural Center. Go, and be prepared to spend some money on food and drink. It’s delicious. Their piece raised questions. Here are some: When exploring and presenting a heavy work, might it be best to […]

Last night I attended Festival of Lies by Les Studios Kabako from the Democratic Republic of Congo at the Cedar Cultural Center. Go, and be prepared to spend some money on food and drink. It’s delicious.

Their piece raised questions. Here are some:

  • When exploring and presenting a heavy work, might it be best to keep the positive life energy flowing with food, drinks, dancing, and interaction. Does depressing subject matter mean depressing experience?
  • I exoticise this African performance, why? Is there value in doing that or am I “bad” because of it?
  • What am I expecting to do when I go to an art performance?
  • We were told this festival of lies is “A piece of Fiction” at the beginning and the end, yet historical leaders of the Congo were quoted throughout. It felt political. What is a lie? As an American artist how can I be political?

And on my bike ride home these questions brought my mind back to my pre-show dinner conversation with some folks headed to the State to see The Hold Steady.

We talked about myth, politics, celebrity, and earnestness in the media and art we consume.

Speaking of lies vs fiction vs truth, check out Deborah Solomon and her interview with Ira Glass (for context).

What is the line between fiction and truth? How does drawing and noting that line provide a safety for the artist who is then not a journalist?

And in a world without a clear line between fiction and truth, who controls your identity and the identity of your country?

Photo associated with the DRC from the US State Department website

Democratic Republic of Congo by the US State Department

Bonus link: Quirk – the safe odd space

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