Freedom is Created by Collaborative Experimentation
District Calling Brings Together Up-and-Coming DC Artists
(Washington, DC) – District Calling, a Washington, DC-based multidisciplinary arts project, hosts its first collaborative performance showcase at the District of Columbia Arts Center on December 5, 2009 at 7:30 and 10 pm. District Calling: Freedom is a tightly choreographed, full-length performance, featuring the collaborative work of artists from across various performance mediums, and highlighting a diversity of perspectives around the theme Freedom.
District Calling showcases up-and-coming (yet still under-represented) Washington, DC artists across a map of performance media, including music, storytelling, dance, and video. These artists, some of DC’s most exciting talent, have made a considerable contribution in their own performance mediums, but have had limited opportunities and venues to collaborate with artists working in other media. District Calling has provided a venue for bringing these artists together to encourage exploration of new ideas and the possibilities of collaborative performance. By providing structured workshops as forums for artist exchanges, District Calling sought to dissolve traditional artistic silos and build a space for artists to forge new, exciting partnerships, and establish a freed sense of what is possible in their performance work. The result has been an environment of heightened creativity and impassioned commitment to breaking from the traditional boundaries of the artists’ respective mediums.
In District Calling, freedom is examined in personal, social, and structural terms: it is found in the boundary blurring of storytelling backed by projections and music; the dancer’s movements that toy with freedoms of a captive audience; and in the improvisational music of a string quartet whose piece is an ode to creating structure only to become freed from it.
John Moon, sound artist and member of the group Cornel West Theory says this project is perfect for what he’s been wishing to explore artistically. “I have all these crazy ideas in my mind but most of them require other people, so this is forcing me to get a lot of these ideas out of my head. I get to work with some really obviously talented and interesting people. I’m blown away.”
“I’m really ecstatic about the opportunity to work with string instrumentalists again,” says Britton Powell, a classically trained turned experimental musician. “I’m excited to collaborate because it always opens your eyes up to another perspective.”
A grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities made the project possible, enabling co-producers Sean Peoples and Melissa Krodman to provide artist stipends and host workshops. Peoples and Krodman chose the theme of freedom as the project’s first showcase as a nod to the process of artistically breaking from the norm, but also as an acknowledgement of the word’s semantic power. “In the last decade there’s been a dramatic shift in people’s association with the word ‘freedom,’ says co-producer Melissa Krodman. “In a way we’re seeking to reclaim the word from the realm of the political and re-explore what it means to us individually, as artists and as humans.”
District Calling is partially funded by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and sponsored by Massey Media and Affinity Lab.
District Calling: Freedom
Saturday, December 5
DC Arts Center, 2438 18 Street NW, Washington DC
7:30 pm and 10 pm shows / $10
For tickets call: (202) 462-7833
District Calling artists are:
Carmen Wong, Producer and Creative Director of Banished? Productions
John Moon, Sound Artist, member of Cornel West Theory
Ayo Okunseinde, Video/Visual Artist and Co-founder of Ayyoko Confidential
Sean Peoples, Sound Artist, owner of experimental label Sockets Records, DJ (Fatback)
Vivianne Njoku, Percussionist, Storyteller, and Member of the Band noon:30
Britton Powell, String Instrumentalist and Member of the Band Save Hume
Melissa Krodman, Performer, Writer, Producer
Rashad Dobbins, Lyricist and “Blak Fantasy” Experimental Theatre Creator
Heather Doyle, Dancer (Daniel Burkholder/The Playground, Liz Lerman)
Yvonne Gilmore, Poet, Lecturer, Member of Cornel West Theory
Aaron Thompson, Singer, Songwriter
District Calling: Freedom, is a collaborative performance project featuring the work of Washington, DC’s rich artistic community, and highlighting the diversity of perspectives around the theme Freedom.
Phone: 202.251.8802 / 240.662.2915