FH Describe Untitled Movement (after Trisha) , the piece you were invited to do at Saks Fifth Avenue this past spring.
BC We started with a Trisha Brown movement from her 1971 piece Accumulations, and then the dancers shifted to the floor, where they proceeded to perform seizures. The choreographer, Stephen Lichty, actually has seizures himself. We performed the piece on each floor of the store just before it opened one morning. We had an hour and a half to shoot. I liked this piece. For me it was a performance for the staff, in a way—the people getting the store ready for opening.
FH How many were involved?
BC Five dancers, two camera people, a clothing and hair stylist, and me.
FH Did Saks let you use their clothes?
BC Yes. And then they projected the video in their window for a few weeks, so people walking by could see it.
FH The piece raises some interesting issues about consumption and fashion.
BC I guess this is a question I have for myself right now: where does fashion come into my work? The Saks video is my most recent, and I was working with a camera person, Marco Roso, from Dis, which is an experimental fashion magazine. Just the quality of the video, how slick it is, changed everything remarkably, you know? There’s this stylish layer to the video that I could never achieve myself.
FH Do you want that?
BC I think I need it. I have a huge problem. I’ve developed a performance structure that works so great. The problem is, how do I have this film afterwards that can actually function on its own? Here we return to the issue of the Sonsbeek video. Even though it’s amazing for me, it’s not working for the public. All this stuff we’ve talked about? It’s not present in that video. If that video were shot correctly, with the visuality of the Saks piece, I would have something. With the LevelFive piece we’re trying to solve this problem. You have to realize, with something like LevelFive, or Sonsbeek, I have to make three pieces simultaneously. One is for the participants. That has to be solid, or they’re not going to show up. The second is for the institutional viewer. They have to be able to come in and get some kind of experience—a streaming video, or whatever. And then I have to make a third piece, which is the documentary film, or performance footage, or whatever you want to call it. Once that footage functions, then I will really have something. Then, then . . . it will just be fucking nuts.
CURRENTLY ON VIEW Brody Condon in “Greater New York,” at MoMA PS1, New York, throughOct. 18. “Brody Condon andJen Liu,” at On Stellar Rays, New York, Oct. 31-Dec. 19.
LevelFive took place at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Sept. 3-5, and at the 01SJ Biennial in San Jose, Sept. 17-18.