Après moi, l’obscurité by Paige Phillips, Jan 26-27

©2017 Stephen Takacs

‘Après moi, l’obscurité’ (After me, the darkness) is a dance by Paige Phillips, in collaboration with a cast of three female performers, that will run from January 26 -27, 2018 at the Mascher Space Cooperative, 155 Cecil B. Moore Ave, Philadelphia. Tickets are $15 in advance on www.danceboxoffice.com or $18 at door.  The work examines a myriad of social and political injustices that women have been forced to endure. By incorporating aesthetic and contextual references from the Renaissance, mid-century, and today’s pop-culture, the content lays witness to the longevity of such indignities. A wild ride of vignettes feature sexually anthropomorphic horses, Francisco Goya’s depictions of witchcraft, and contrived frivolity, amounting to a bold rejection for nostalgic ideals of purity and femininity.

New to the city, ‘Après moi, l’obscurité’ (After me, the darkness) will be Phillips’ premiere into the Philadelphia arts community. She is collaborating with local performers and a visual artist, along with musicians based in Chicago and NYC. The work is conceived as a sequel to ‘Après moi, le déluge’ (After me, the flood), which was first shown 2014 in Columbus, OH. In it, Phillips drew inspiration from the title, a phrase attributed to King Louis the XV of France, which describes the attitude of someone who does not care about the consequences of his actions or how they affect others. It explored abuses from those seeking power, expressed through environmental disaster and political turmoil. ‘Après moi, l’obscurité’ moves forward to examine the oppression and inequalities that women endure.

Unfolding through vignettes, one section features feathers flying through the air from a pillow fight, and a performer declaring, “I’m not a fucking swan!” The dancers execute wild, anthropomorphic movements as a way to both reference and reject iconic representations of women as delicate swans in ballet. In another, they dance to the voice of Françoise Hardy, who is upset that no man loves her. The vocabulary abstracts upon 60s vernacular dances, yet are performed without a partner. The qualitative layerings provide a range of emotions from somber to angry, powerful to absurd. As the piece continues, the costumes adapt to each section: the placement of a tulle skirt transforms from a mid-century ballgown, to a romantic ballet tutu, to a neck ruff seen on dunces. Through time, repetition, and abstraction, references morphing into other connotations extend to additional elements: a horse’s battle cry becomes an orgasm, and a quaint gesture mutates into a profane action. Largely, ‘Après moi, l’obscurité’ acts as a meditation on how easily women’s struggles split, morph and multiply into the atmosphere.

Paige Phillips is an interdisciplinary artist based in Philadelphia, engaging most frequently with dance, installation, and video. Her content is concerned with recontextualizing rituals to better understand identity politics and community formation. Venues, where she has exhibited, include National Museum of Singapore, Bangkok Art and Culture Center, Park Gallery (Kathmandu, Nepal), Microscope Gallery (New York City), Urban Arts Space (Columbus), On the Boards (Seattle), and Pyramid Atlantic (Washington D.C.). In addition to making artwork, she has performed for others throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, for artists such as Cyrus Khambatta, Josiah McElheny, Owen David, and Cai Guo-Qiang. She holds an MFA in Dance from The Ohio State University with an interdisciplinary specialization in Folklore, a BFA in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts, and a diploma from Interlochen Arts Academy. Phillips was recently an artist in residence at the Marpha Foundation in Nepal, and a dance teacher at International School Bangkok. She is currently an administrator at Mascher Space Cooperative.

Choreography: Paige Phillips
Dancers: Celine McBride, Margot Electra Steinberg, Mary-Carmen Webb
Sound: Liam O’Connor in collaboration with Eamon O’Connor and Ell Davis
Materials: Evan Dawson
Photo credit: Stephen Takacs

Après moi, l’obscurité, a dance by Paige Phillips
Friday, January 26, 2018 at 8:00 pm
Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 7:00 pm
Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 9:00 pm
Mascher Space Cooperative, 2nd Floor, 155 Cecil B. Moore Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19122
Tickets: $15 in advance, $18 at door
Seating is limited, advanced purchase suggested
For tickets, visit Dance Box Office: http://www.danceboxoffice.com/