Beneath the Surface is a performance video work-in-progress by Marisa Michelson and Miriam Parker, two co-fellows from National Sawdust’s season-long collaboration with the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU. The project was developed in residence at Pioneer Works and will be presented online by National Sawdust and Pioneer Works.
Beneath the Surface explores the visual and aural space between form and no-form, sound and no-sound, material and immaterial. It begins with dark matter, where the body and voice exist as multiple creative possibilities within this dark space, and explores the connection between the body and the space when the notion of defined limits and edges is ignored.
Composer, performer, and founder of Constellation Chor, Marisa Michelson, and interdisciplinary artist Miriam Parker, connect sound and movement from sacred music to Western Classical Music to psychedelic improvisation, Buddhism to Anthroposophy to mysticism. Marisa Michelson developed the music specifically for Constellation Chor, an immersion in voice, movement, and spirit. Miriam Parker created the Video along with creative support by Christina Smiros. As part of their fellowship, Michelson and Parker will be mentored by acclaimed opera and theater director Yuval Sharon.
Marisa Michelson is a singer, composer, improviser, vocal philosopher and teacher. She is the founder and director of the vocal performance collective Constellation Chor, an immersion in voice, movement, and spirit. Performing internationally and in New York City, the Chor made their Lincoln Center debut in 2018 while premiering Ashley Fure’s Filament with the New York Philharmonic. Since 2016, Constellation Chor has been in residence at the historic Judson Memorial Church, and in 2019, the Chor performed monthly at Spectrum in Brooklyn. They’ve collaborated with Claire Chase, Sarah Hennies, the Kitchen, Heartbeat Opera, and Harvard Art Lab; since the pandemic, they joined Maria Popova and Paola Prestini at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, BK, to bring to life Prestini’s composition “Tree of 40 Fruit” as part of an outdoor ritual-celebration. As well as collaborating with composers, choreographers, directors, and videographers, they also perform interdisciplinary pieces composed by Michelson. Michelson’s award-winning compositions and theatre pieces have been called “exquisite” (The New York Times), “otherworldly” (Steven Suskin), and “gorgeous…adventurous” (Vox Magazine). As a solo artist or as the director of Constellation Chor, Michelson’s has been in residence with or won awards from Pioneer Works, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, MacDowell Colony, Ucross, New Dramatists, Jonathan Larson, the Eric Salman Foundation, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, among others. Michelson lives, works, and teaches in New York City and Hudson, NY.
Miriam Parker is an interdisciplinary artist who uses movement, paint, media and sculpture/installation within a performance-based practice. Her work has been influenced by her experience as a dancer, her study of Buddhism and phenomenology, and her connection to the free jazz tradition. Parker has performed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Fridman Gallery,; in residency at École Normale Supérieure, Paris and at the Every Women Biennial in New York, among others. Parker has received grants from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in 2013 and Brooklyn Arts Council in 2019.
She has previously collaborated with Jo Wood-Brown, Christina Smiros and Luke Stewart, and others. Parker is also co-founder and collaborator of Inner City Projects, a multimedia collaborative work group with Jo Wood-Brown, based in New York. She lives and works in New York.