THE MAYA PROJECT is actualized in live performance in dance studios, virtual space, galleries, and cinema spaces, video installations, workshops, presentations, and regular practice groups.
This project was named perhaps a bit dramatically, but nonetheless earnestly, for Mayas Angelou, Deren, and Lin. Angelou, for intentional composition, immediate action, and multidisciplinary study; Deren, for powerful framing, movement, and complication of time; Lin, for purposeful visual landscape, sense of scale, and activating 3 dimensional space.
The Maya Project is a series of investigations that utilizes dance and the camera to interrogate dominant social and cultural structures in acts of viewing, framing, editing, and sharing. In this process, participants engage in discussion and physical inquiry that considers the camera as a tool of archive, composition, transmission, and inclusion/exclusion. This work examines the relationship between humans and cameras, how acts of cyborging (picking up and utilizing the camera to capture a human perspective) shifts power dynamics, how consent and agreement come into play, and how gaze is affected in this act. Dance improvisation is utilized in this process as a way of privileging the moment of occurrence as opposed to an end product, which is complicated by incorporating the camera (a tool intended to be used to make a revisitable product) into the ephemeral act.
Collaborators in this work act as both movers and camera operators. They are participants with the camera frame, as opposed to subjects of the camera frame, an act of democratizing the traditionally accepted singular role of framing/capturing footage. The conceptual content of each of these events is not singular, but is expanded to include each participant’s point of view. The piece itself is considered to be a combination of the multitude of perspectives in the room. In a moment of cyborging, the camera’s point of view might represent, and thereby capture, the point of view of one of the human participants. The camera’s point of view might also, at any moment, be abandoned. The point of view of the camera is considered, but not solely privileged. Therefore, these events are too multiple to be re-experienceable.
Contributors to The Maya Project include:
First Working Group: (2018)
Second Working Group: (2019-2020)
Workshop Participants: (2018-2019)
MFA Project Committee
Professor Daniel Roberts
Dr. Harmony Bench
Dr. Roger Beebe