Mapping Issues Through Movement

Carrie final event blog
The Seldoms performing “Exit Disclaimer.” Photo courtesy of the artist.

When Carrie Hanson and her Chicago-based dance company The Seldoms performed at the Wisconsin Union Theater in 2018, then junior Mariel Schneider was moved by the performance. The piece, in sync with Hanson’s overall vision, utilized dance to communicate the history of social movements and what it means to be part of a community.

After learning that Carrie would be the fall 2019 Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence, Schneider was immediately interested in being part of such work.

“I was so moved by the entire production and her vision – my immediate reaction was ‘This is the kind of work I want to make,'” said Schneider. “I am extremely passionate about environmental justice and the climate crisis – I knew that I wanted to be a part of the dialogue.”

Carrie’s course, “From Topic to Topography,” is grounded in the notion that movement and dance can be used in an interdisciplinary manner to communicate STEM topics, social justice issues, and more. Students in the course, like Schneider, were tasked with creating a final piece that communicated something deeper, something they were passionate about.

The research done by students on their chosen topic will be showcased through group and individual movement pieces at the final event of Carrie Hanson’s residency on November 21 at 6 p.m. at the Chazen Museum of Art.

Carrie Hanson
Carrie Hanson. Photo courtesy of the artist.

The final event, From Topic to Topography: Mapping Issues through Movement, will be unique in both scope and nature. Students will be scattered throughout the museum in various galleries, performing repeated movement pieces that communicate everything from social issues and education justice to environmentalism. Disciplines presented include dance, theater, circus arts, and more.

“We will provide everyone with a map of the museum and where these performances are taking place,” said Carrie Hanson. “You can choose your own path, so people will see these performances in different orders. When you go to a museum, you follow your impulses. That’s what we want, for people to feel welcome to take in movement performances alongside the current exhibits at the museum.”

Schneider, a double major in dance and international studies, worked to integrate an international framework into her work. Her research for the class was historically grounded in the language of the 1800’s Berlin Conference and the resulting partition in Africa. Her piece will hone in on the resulting remapping of borders, invasion of space, erasure, and displacement of these peoples.

“The flexible nature of the course and focus on productive dialogue within our classroom community created a space that fostered creativity paired with careful examination and critical thinking,” said Mariel. “This furthered Carrie’s mission to promote cross-disciplinary dialogue and was extremely valuable to my personal practice. I appreciate Carrie’s emphasis on democracy in making.”

Carrie final event blog
Faheem Majeed at Quilting Memory: A Live-Action in Charcoal and Muslin. Photo: Mats Rudels

The course, while influenced by topics such as climate change, was strongly tied to the plight of indigenous people, and the indigenous land that UW–Madison stands on. During the course, guest artist Faheem Majeed worked with students to create charcoal rubbings of this land and its surroundings in order to “address the erasure and presence of significant spaces.”

The piece created by Majeed and others during this workshop will be on display and incorporated into the final residency event.

“We have been extremely concerned with the importance of recognizing our own privilege as non-native people in this process,” said Schneider.

“I am so excited to share the important work that has been done on the part of our class community as a group and the individual projects that will be presented as well,” said Schneider. “I believe the audience will be challenged by the subject matter and our approach, and I hope they leave motivated to consider their perspective in understanding this land.”

From Topic to Topography: Mapping Issues through Movement will take place on Thursday, November 21 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Chazen Museum of Art (800 University Avenue). RSVP on Facebook.