NYC Open Choir Movement 2015
NYC Open Choir Movement 2015
OPEN CHOIR moves the city! The Open Program and NYC Seed Group invite you to co-create a season of dynamic participatory events in NYC.
OPEN CHOIR moves the city! The Open Program and NYC Seed Group invite you to co-create a season of dynamic participatory events in NYC. Read more
About this project
The Open Choir is a free, public event, where everyone is welcome to participate. A core of artists leads participants and guests, both new and returning, through a flow of songs, looking for the possibility of a simple and alive kind of experience and interaction. Everyone is invited to join through dance and song, or find his or her own way to support what happens. During these non-sectarian encounters through songs of the African diaspora participants of different backgrounds become co-authors of the meeting, creating an artwork that respects and embraces cultural variety.
With theatre craft as a tool, we follow the thread of our research on human contact as a way to mutual transformation. This collaboration joins the creative forces of the Open Program of the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards, Italy, the NYC Seed Group, and individuals from a range of NYC communities. Together we are investigating how processes such as singing, dancing and interacting are among the most fundamental elements of human behavior and contact, which we consider to be at the core of an active and living culture. We consider culture not only as an item subject to the laws of markets but as a dynamic force adapting itself creatively in order to respond to specific historical circumstances. We explore practically this potential of contact, action and transformation through the participatory event we call Open Choir.
The Open Choir is a search for meaning, engaging questions about community, belonging, identity, diversity, culture, performance, interaction. Who are we when we could be together without fear or shame?
The Open Choir catalyzes a shared space of recognition. Even if only for a moment, across boundaries masking skills and values, needs and desires, who are we when we enter a moment of possible relatedness?
The Open Choir challenges the habitual tendency to be inwardly passive in interactions. It is a simple opportunity to see and recognize each other without calculation. Who are we when we see each other?
Already, several hundred people have participated in Open Choir events. We have met and worked with individuals from a number of communities from throughout the city - most notably, members of St. Augustine Our Lady of Victory Church in the Bronx. Now, together with these new friends, we're gearing up for the next round of public encounters.
In October and November we will host an expanded series of Open Choir events throughout New York City – not just in our home base, at West-Park Presbyterian Church, with whom we have forged a strong partnership since the beginning, but also in other locations, in other boroughs.
This is where we need your support
In the current stage of the development, the Open Choir can only take place and grow with the guidance and participation of the Workcenter’s Open Program team.
Their expertise is based on the Workcenter's three decades of practical research in the performer’s craft and in the work with songs of Afro-diasporic traditions. These are the songs we sing in the Open Choir; they are subtle and powerful tools for human action, interaction, transformation, and connection.
We want the Open Program to come to NYC again this fall, to help the Seed Group’s ongoing efforts to develop the artistic capacities necessary to continue the research on the Open Choir, as well as to host weekly Open Choir events for our fellow New Yorkers, old and new friends, and strangers.
Your support will contribute towards the artists' 11 international flights from Italy, local transportation (for the Open Program artists, as well as community collaborators), artist accommodation, outreach to new individuals and communities, as well as production and documentation costs for our public events.
For all this, we ask you to help us raise $15,000 – every little bit helps!
We thank you for being a part of our creative efforts. We look forward to meeting you, in song and dance, this fall! Come and take part in this adventure.
See you at the Open Choir!
Risks and challenges
Risks and challenges may surely appear, as they usually do. Collaborating with so many people, across continents, as well as across subway lines, often means that there are many factors that cannot be accounted for in advance.
All kinds of things could happen: from technical inconveniences, like a guitar string or other technical equipment breaking before a performance, or heaters seizing up on a cold autumn day in the performing space; to human health problems, including fatigue, or one of the singers losing their voice; to transportation delays, or bad weather that might prevent people from wanting to stick their nose out of their warm houses; to a venue or partner cancelling at the last moment.
As many of these eventualities are by nature unforeseeable, we cannot truly prepare for them in advance. Rather, in the years of our common work as a performing company, travelling worldwide and working in a variety of contexts, we have encountered challenges of this type numerous times. We know that one of our major strengths is an ability to adjust and to find a creative way to approach such challenges. In fact, we have found that they often serve to help us discover new possibilities, in ourselves, in our colleagues, in our neighbors, and in our world. In fact, we firmly believe that this conscious choice to place a priority on people and their coming together, rather than on fixed schedules or plans, is a force that keeps the world spinning in the right direction. So with your presence and support, we dare to try to move the city!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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