Dancers rarely rely on a venue as their main source of inspiration. But Ginger Wagg and Jane Jerardi’s three-part series of two-hour performance events titled IN SITE is all about the space.
“We wanted to do everything really site-induced,” says Wagg, 25, an Adams Morgan resident. Each event, she explains, was shaped by “the way the space operates.”
Wagg and Jerardi say IN SITE, funded by a $2,500 grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, is meant to merge art and audience in the same way their other “live-art” performances—such as “Floor Plan,” a project with Sharon Mansur and Naoko Maeshiba that was nominated for a 2004 Metro D.C. Dance Award—have. “We want to use the audience as part of the performance,” says Jerardi, 29.
“Spill,” the first show in the series, washed over Transformer Gallery on Feb. 5. The concept was inspired by the venue’s size: Wagg and Jerardi predicted that the tiny art gallery would become so crowded during the event that onlookers would spill out onto the street. Wagg, wrapped in golden twine, flowed from one spot to the next in an interpretative dance. A snakelike sculpture of 1,250 “crocheted” white balloons (by New York–based artist Agata Olek) tumbled from ceiling to floor. Live music by Jonathan Matis drifted from the gallery’s upper level, while movie dialogue, arranged and prerecorded by DJ Milo, was transmitted from outside into the gallery via a baby monitor.
Revolution Records in Van Ness will host “Listen,” Part 2 of the series, on March 19. For this show, Wagg and Jerardi say, they pondered the nostalgia of buying a CD in a store in an era when people frequently purchase music online. They mined music’s personal connection as well: “Songs themselves create through associations in our own lives,” says Jerardi, who lives not far from Revolution in Mount Pleasant. “The artist or band has their own personal story that goes into the creation of a song. And then you hear the song and you may have just broken up with your boyfriend or girlfriend….And whenever you hear [it] you have that memory.”
“Listen” will feature the sounds of local band the Aquarium (which includes Washington City Paper employee Jason Hutto) and film screenings. “Performance typist” Lee Epstein will interact with onlookers to write prose and poetry on the spot, which he’ll disseminate to the audience. Photographs and art objects by Jerardi’s sister, Angela Jerardi, and Michael Wichita—all inspired by the concept of nostalgia—will fill a CD rack.
Wagg and Jerardi hope that onlookers will gather these materials and present them during “dances for one” held in a store sound booth. “The dance will literally be us reacting to the audience member,” explains Wagg. “It’s really about taking what they give us and absorbing it and then showing them something back.”
On April 30 and May 1, the series will close with “Crave,” a variety show at the Warehouse Next Door. Details of this event are not yet finalized, but “the pieces are coming together,” promises Jerardi. “It will be a range of acts—dance, theater, music, and games with the audience—that will center [on] picking people up, dating, and meeting.”
Just about anyone can connect with IN SITE, Wagg explains, because each event relies on various mediums. “That’s one thing that this series really has going for it,” she says. “You don’t have to be a dancer to come watch me dance. You don’t have to like music to come see ‘Listen.’ There’s so many opportunities for people to connect with one portion of the show which will then open up the rest of it for them.”
—Heather Morgan Shott