Critical State


River Arts Center, Morrisville, VT 2011

Video by Molly Davies,  Sound by Samuel Haar, Lighting by Stephan Jacobs, Performances by Diane Madden, Joyce S. Lim, Cori Olinghouse, Steve Paxton, Stacy Spence, Jeremy Olson, Ellen Smith-Ahearn and Polly Motley

Notes from 2010:
In chemistry and condensed-matter physics, a critical point, also called a critical state, specifies the conditions at which a phase boundary ceases to exist, as when a vapor changes to liquid.

In Critical State each combination of dancers and each module of sound, video, lighting, and set is a distinct phase: a theatrical vignette, a dance sequence, a video projection, a sonic event. The phases, at critical points, are transformed by one another into something else, another phase, investigating the critical state.

Motley's works for out-of-theatre spaces are relative to the architecture and art of the specific site. The performance, art, and architecture are mutually enhanced because they coexist and juxtapositions of performance elements and environment give new perspectives. Critical State is anchored in the environment of the historic River Arts building in Morrisville, Vermont. This beautiful building is an integral part of the Morrisville community, having previously been a Grange Hall and the Peoples Academy School. This 3-hr intermedia installation/performance uses sounds and video monitors with live-feed to connect the rooms upstairs and downstairs, summoning audience members to move throughout the space and choose their own vantage points and timing.

While Motley is artistic director, choreographer and performer, she is also in a very real sense the curator of a group show. She provides a vision and the context within which collaborators develop their own work. Each artist brings solo material that remains discrete while in relationship to others' simultaneous work.