The Apology Project is a bi-national artistic collaboration between Canadian and American artists. It's a collision of performance, visual, and media art. The Apology Project is nearing its final stage of creation, and is scheduled for presentation in July 2016 at one of Buffalo, New York’s alternative art spaces, Silo City’s Elevator Alley, and at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto as part of Next Steps 2016/17 season.
The production features the writing, choreography and direction of Canadian performer Gerry Trentham, guided by world renowned Japanese Butoh choreographer and performer Denise Fujiwara. Trentham interacts with sculptural objects of American visual artist Kaersten Colvin-Woodruff, and projected moving images of Toronto-based filmmaker Valerie Buhagiar.
The project has become a research lab beyond the work itself, and challenges the definition of classical and contemporary art forms, and the ways in which these art forms are presented and curated in various locations, galleries, and theaters.
Currently The Apology Project is nearing completion, and is preparing for a small preview performance of the project at Silo City in Buffalo, New York on July 10th of this year in support of our fundraising campaign here at Kickstarter.
Wait There's More ! Please check out our ‘Call to Action’ request beneath the ‘Inspirations’ section of our campaign here on Kickstarter to learn about how you can become a part of our project. Please visit us on our facebook page (The Apology Project) for the latest updates, and more photos and videos. And don't forget to scroll down to the bottom of this page to view images of our unique rewards.
WHAT WE ARE ASKING
As partial endorsement of our 2016 performance of The Apology Project at Silo City in Buffalo, New York, we are seeking financial support from you to assist in generating gift honorariums for our Silo City intern team members. Supporting funds would recognize their time and effort spent in helping us to bring our project to life.
Our amazing interns are three emerging women artists, technicians, and designers who are seeking careers in the arts. We deeply appropriate their hard work, and would like to introduce them to you.
Tammi is excited and proud to be working with The Apology Project family. She currently resides in the Niagara Region and is entering her last year at Humber College, studying in the Acting for Film and Television program. Tammi recently completed the Canadian National Voice Intensive's four-week program with David Smukler. In her spare time and when she can, she enjoys training on the trapeze, high bar and trampoline.
Megan is from Fombell, Pennsylvania, and recently graduated with honors from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where she received her BFA Degree in Technical Theater Design with a concentration in Lighting, and a minor in Art. Megan has worked on numerous stage productions during her tenure at Clarion University, and previously worked on The Apology Project in April 2014 while the production was in residency at Clarion University’s Little Theater. Over the course of three consecutive years, Megan attended the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and in 2014 she presented her work at the festivals 46th annual event.
Courtney is a senior at SUNY Buffalo State College. She is a member of the Muriel A. Honors Program. In the past she has Stage Managed Dialogue of the Carmelites with Opera Sacra and served as 2nd ASM for Comedy of Errors with Shakespeare in Delaware Park. She is currently serving as the 2015 Volunteer Coordinator for the Ann Frank Project.
The Apology Project has been a continuous workshop involving collaborators and its audiences since 2011. We aim to foster a work environment that:
- Upholds high standards of artistic merit and professionalism.
- Integrates Canadian and American artists and designers, and maintains mutual respect among the collaborators.
- Encourages feedback from a wide scope of audiences which include, yet is not exclusive to the art arena.
- Motivates audiences from Canada and the United States to participate in an ongoing dialogue regarding creative problem solving, and cultural values and principles.
- Uses the project as a tool to encourage and teach students seeking careers in the arts.
- Creates professional opportunities for emerging artists and designers.
Gerry Trentham http://www.poundspersquareinch.net/
Performer, interdisciplinary creator, and artistic director of pounds per square inch performance (lbs/sq”), Gerry Trentham originates from Alberta, Canada. He has performed throughout North America and Europe in the works of Canada’s most prominent choreographers including a seven year tenure with Serge Bennathan’s Dance-makers, and has created over 35 dance/theater installations, works including, Autobiography: Chapters One through Five (2003), Cathedral (1998), and Four Mad Humours (2011). Currently Trentham is voice, text director and part of the select cast of Denise Fujiwara’s new work Eunoia which premiered at World Stage in Toronto in March of (2014).
Trentham has an MFA in Performance and a Graduate Voice Diploma from York University, and has taught throughout Canada, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
As a core member of Canada’s National Voice Intensive, over the last 19 years he has become one of only a few dance artists whose expertise bridges deeply into voice and speech.
Kaersten Colvin-Woodruff www.kaerstencolvinwoodruff.com
Visual Artist Kaersten Colvin-Woodruff creates mixed media three-dimensional artworks. She received her MFA from Arizona State University in 1994, and her BFA from the State University of New York at Purchase in 1991.
For over twenty years she’s been exhibiting and lecturing on her artwork in national, and international settings. She is affiliated with and has exhibited at: The Scottsdale Center for Contemporary Art in Scottsdale, Arizona, The Ossabaw Island Foundation out of Savannah, Georgia, The Foundation for Contemporary Art in Accra, Ghana, and The Peruvian North American Cultural Center in Arequipa, Peru.
Since 1994 she’s been teaching sculpture and 3-D design in the department of Visual and Performing Arts at Clarion University of Pennsylvania.
Her work reflects an interest in the social factors that shaped and determined race, class, and identity within early colonial American culture. As a woman of color whose ethnic background stems from one of many sub-cultural racially mixed communities consisting of Native American, African American and European ancestries, she draws upon her own personal and ancestral history to speak of what it means to position oneself with respect to one’s ancestral past. From her studies she has contributed research for the Melungeon Heritage Association, and the Redbone Heritage Foundation—two organizations that document and preserve the cultural history of mixed ancestry throughout the US. At their national conferences she has lectured on her artwork and ancestral history, in a successful attempt to show how art can document cultural history.
Valerie Buhagiar http://valeriebuhagiar.com/
Valerie is an award-winning, Toronto-based actor and filmmaker who has written and directed over 26 films, and performed in over 67 stage, film and television productions. In 2011 she won Best Experimental Drama at the Female Eye Film Festival for Small, Stupid, and Insignificant, and in 2008 she received the Best Experimental Film award for Tell Us the Truth Josephine. Her short festival film, The Passion of Rita Camilleri won 6 awards including Best Film (Golden Knight Award) at the Malta Film Festival, and the Golden Plaque Award at the Chicago Film Festival.
Currently Valerie has completed her feature length film, The Anniversary with screening dates on June 21 in Toronto at the Female Film Eye Festival, and in Oakville, Ontario on June 28 at the Oakville Festival of Films and Art of this year. The film won three awards at this year’s Buffalo Niagara International Film Festival.
Simon Rossiter http://www.simonrossiter.com/
Simon Rossiter is an award-winning lighting designer based in Toronto, Ontario. He has collaborated on more than two hundred productions since 2003 with a variety of companies throughout Canada, including more than one hundred original designs.
Simon has been nominated five times for Dora Mayor Moore awards for Outstanding Lighting Design, receiving the award in 2014, and has twice been nominated for the Ontario Arts Council’s prestigious Pauline McGibbon award in design.
Simon is a member of the Associated Designer of Canada.
Jessa Aglio http://www.agilo.ca/
Producer of The Apology Project, Jessa Agilo has been an active participant in Canadian arts and culture for two decades. Recipient of the Humberto Santos Award in Business and Administration, Jessa holds advanced training in music composition and electroacoustics, fundraising management and arts management from Queen’s University, University of British Columbia, British Columbia Institute of Technology, and Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business.
Keith Harrington http://www.projex.tv/
Keith, AKA Projex, is an installation artist, VJ, DJ and projectionist from Buffalo, NY. Going beyond the digital screen, Projex combines more than ten years of electronic music experience with elements of video, music, projection, and art. Using light mapping technology, Projex blurs the lines between audio and visual.
Projex is known for his poetic approach to storytelling through manipulating digital media, music, and video projection. Fans come back not only for his signature audio/visual DJ sets, but also his on-stage VJing. Projex has shared the stage with Bonobo and Diplo, among others, and most recently, Flux Pavilion at the world-renowned Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Buffalo is his canvas, where he drops electronica, produces multi-sensory art installations, and enhances environmental surroundings with light mapping projections. Projex is constantly evolving as an artist, creating and inspiring through sight and sound.
Eve recently performed at the Theatre of Youth in the BFG. Her favorite work includes “God” in God of Soho and “Autolycus” in The Winter’s Tale. Eve studied at Canada’s National Voice Intensive with David Smukler, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, clowning/dark clowning with Peta Lilly and Angela de Castro. Eve holds an MA in Classical and Contemporary Text (acting) from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, a two BA's in Theatre and Art History from SUNY Buffalo State. She is the Assistant Director of the Anne Frank Project where she curates, teaches, and co-directs devised story-building projects.
Contextually, The Apology Project investigates the complexity between two seemingly conflicting yet co-conspiring phenomena, narcissism and shame. The features of narcissism (power, arrogance, pride and greed) are as equally crippling and oppressive as those associated with shame (guilt, pity, humiliation, and fear).
At the beginning of the project the collaborators were exploring the meaning of these phenomena on a global level, as they pertain to the history of nations, and on an individual level, in terms of how they function as a part of the human ego. Here narcissism and shame are disabling symptoms that are embedded in cultural anxiety, and in a breakdown of the self -- falling from grace.
In addition, the collaborators found that the word ‘apology’ kept surfacing in their discussions. There appeared to be a link between the negative associations of narcissism and shame, and the role which an apology plays as a way of healing these damaging states of mind. As such, a nation can attempt to right its wrongs in the world, or an individual can make amends for his actions. Yet, while an apology can serve as a means of atonement, the intentions are not always just. Thus the apology becomes self-serving, or two-faced in nature, and fails as a catharsis for true reconciliation, either between nations, between two people, or mending one’s own psyche.
A CALL TO ACTION
As a way of involving our audience in our project we would like to ask the Kickstarter community to tell us about a memory of an apology they once received, or an apology given. All types of apologies are welcome: heartfelt apologies, odd and funny apologies, or insincere apologies.
Please submit your apologies to our project's main website at: http://www.poundspersquareinch.net/myapologies/ All apologies are anonymous. Selected apologies will be used in the project's upcoming productions. We only ask that you please follow these rules in order to participate: please be brief, be honest (yet without harm or hate), do not state your name, names of others, or personal contact information.
THE GRAIN ELEVATORS AT SILO CITY
The Grain Elevators make up a cluster of monolithic structures at Silo City in Buffalo, New York. These deserted constructions have been defunct since 1959 when the Saint Lawrence Seaway opened up, which allowed greater exchange of good throughout North America by way of the Great Lakes, thus pushing Buffalo out of the mail delivery system. Today a portion of Silo City, known as Elevator Alley has been reclaimed by innovative artists seeking an alternative space in which to explore creative ideas.
Our journey began in 2010 when Gerry Trentham crossed paths with the artwork of Kaersten Colvin-Woodruff. With an appreciation for each other’s talents, the two became interested in the idea of creating a work of art together that combined the tools and principles of each of their trades.
Trentham had already been working with two associates of his on past projects, Denise Fujiwara, and Valerie Buhagiar, and he wanted to unite the talents of these two artists with Kaersten’s work and his.
As the collaboration began, Trentham brought a couple of literary writings to the table as points of departure. Kaersten and Gerry read excerpts of the works of Mary Swan’s Boys in the Trees, which examines the life of a man who was a victim of abuse by his father, yet who desires to become a man who is unlike his father. And James Gilford’s, Glances Backward, a startling collection of early colonial letters and writings on gay and native oppression in America.
These two writings served as springboards that gave momentum to Trentham’s and Colvin-Woodruff’s intimate discussions regarding the many childhood obstacles that they both had to overcome while growing up in similar conventional environments where being ‘different’--Trentham, a gay man, and Colvin-Woodruff, a woman of color—set them apart from their peers, making them feel discredited and alienated at times from the rest.
In Swan’s writing she presents her readers with the image of the boy climbing a tree and carving his name into that tree as a testimonial promise to himself to become a good man. Yet the man eventually forgets his promise and begins to fall downward. This notion of ‘falling’ kept resonating between Gerry and Kaersten, and eventually transformed into an inquiry into the phenomena of narcissism and shame
In November of 2011, we completed a week long intensive residency at Hub14 in Toronto, Ontario,--an artist-run dance studio and co-op. Here we uncovered the beginnings of the piece. Gerry and Kaersten were joined by Valerie Buhagiar and the three began working on integrating Gerry’s Butoh Japanese dance movements taught to him by Denise Fujiwara with a few recently crafted art objects created by Kaersten, along with Valerie’s projected moving images.
The sessions were geared towards introducing the collaborators to one another’s aesthetic, and the development of a few rough sketches that would later be refined. By the end of the week, the collaborators had collected enough information from one another to start working independently on crafting new materials that would later be tested when they met up again in Buffalo, New York six months later.
While in Buffalo, the group focused on the expansion of their new vocabulary that came from the readings of Swan’s and Gilford’s literary works. They reread portions of the writings and discussed the notion of ‘shame’ in Greek mythology, and how the goddess Aidos—the goddess of shame—was thrown out of heaven because the gods did not want to live with the concept of indignity. The collaborators pulled out a quote from Swan’s work The Boys in the Trees. “Shame and disgrace cause most violent passions, and bitter pangs.” Revisiting these literary works and diving into the concept of shame allowed the collaborators to have a better understanding of how the art objects could be integrated with Gerry’s dance movements. Kaersten paid close attention to the details of Gerry’s movements during rehearsals, and from those particular movements the sculptural forms emerged. Whether those forms had direct contact with Gerry’s body, or if they simply sat or hung independently on their own, the artwork was generated in tandem with the development of Gerry’s physical movements and verbal monologues.
The first work-in-progress performance took place in January of 2013 at the Joanne Angie Gallery at Buffalo Arts Studio, in Buffalo. Gerry and Kaersten now had a cohesive work made up of three vignettes which illustrated the work’s potential. After the performance the audience gathered for an in-depth talkback and evaluation of the work’s elements. The collaborators found the audience’s feedback to be very beneficial. They discussed at length what was working and not working in the piece.
Between January and April of 2013, Gerry worked independently with Valerie, Denise and Kaersten in fine-tuning the various segments of the piece.
By the middle of April of that year, the piece was once again presented as a rough cut at the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theater to a new set of spectators in Toronto. Again an audience talkback took place after the performance. This time special attention was given to the fact that the piece was now being viewed in a new environment with a theatrical backdrop which was different from the time it was performed in Buffalo, within an art gallery setting. Because of this, the audience’s focus was mainly centered on the performer and the performance, and not on the integration of the performer and the art objects. Gerry and Kaersten reminded this audience to attend to the artworks, created for the piece from a sculptor’s mindset, and not from that of a costume or set technician who might approach the task like an engineer or a designer crafting props.
The project’s latest activities took place in April of 2014 at Clarion University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts. Here Gerry and Kaersten ran a week-long workshop with students studying visual art, theater, and dance. A team of Theater Tech students were assigned to work with Gerry and Kaersten. This team consisted of Stage Director Christian Ryan, Megan Bodish on lighting and rigging, and Hank Bullington mastering sound, projections and rigging.
During Gerry and Kaersten’s residency at Clarion University they rehearsed and presented the performance, and gave lectures to students, the university at large, and to the local Clarion community. Gerry was introduced as dance master for a day to one of the university’s contemporary dance classes, where he taught the Butoh approach to movement.
As a result of their experience at Clarion University, the collaborators hired Megan Bodish, who recently graduated with honors from Clarion. Megan will be joining the team at Silo City in Buffalo, and will be working closely with Toronto based lighting designer Simon Rossiter.
As a professional artist Kaersten Colvin-Woodruff—one of the principal creators of The Apology Project--spends time in her studio creating mixed media three-dimensional works. In addition, over the past four years, she has also studied traditional bookbinding, and has mentored with British master bookbinder Richard Norman of Eden Workshops in Saint-Sulpice-Lauriere, France. As a thank you to all of our generous backers we are offering you a variety of Kaersten’s handcrafted blank journals, as well as small sculpture replicas of some of the visual artworks that are part of the production of The Apology Project.
Risks and challenges
The creators of The Apology Project are all accomplished in their fields and offer years of professional experience through national and international theatrical productions and art exhibitions. The project itself has gained momentum and exposure through preliminary showings to small select audiences in both the United States and Canada, and has attracted the attention of the dance and art communities in both countries.
The Apology Project is scheduled to be performed at Silo City in Buffalo, New York in June of 2016, and has been given the opportunity to run a small preparatory showing of a portion of the piece in support of its Kickstarter campaign on the night of July 10th of this year. Two weeks prior to this showing backers of the project and potential supporters will be able to see the progress of the piece through photo and video updates here on Kickstarter. By the end of their residency at Silo City, the collaborators will be well acquainted with the performance space, and will be ready to launch its final completed version the following year.
Through the project’s history, the support of the community, and the commitment of its participants, The Apology Project has proven its competency.
- (37 days)