Maybe we all need a little Michelle Ellsworth right now? Mar 17, 2020

Maybe we all need a little Michelle Ellsworth right now? It wasn’t even a year ago that we gave Ellsworth and her team full run of our building and she completely transformed it into a magical art space. She filled EVERY square inch of our hallways, bathrooms, Studio Kitchen—and let’s not forget the downstairs SHUSH bathroom—with her tender, humorous artistic vision. Michelle has knack for talking fast and generating multiple ideas for choreographic devices that allow humans to consider how they interact with other humans and the world.

Known more in the experimental dance and contemporary performance world, Michelle’s artwork and whole vision is akin to a hypercreative scientist that has an art lab inside her house. Her home is her studio and vice versa, the blurring of art and life is continuous in everything she does, as well as how she moves through the world. Her work has been presented and commissioned by On the Boards for over a decade, and in some ways this last project acted as a monographic exhibition survey of her artistic practice, in addition to revealing a brand-new piece, Post-Verbal Social Network.

The Post-Verbal Social Network consists of a series of physical prototypes that are built with dancers and choreography at the center of them. Michelle began by asking questions about how contemporary digital technology is impacting our bodies and our social interactions? An excellent question to be asking ourselves right now as we are staying inside chatting with friends, family, and loved ones through our electronic devices. The incredible part about this artist is how she works and processes these ideas into physical, performative projects for an audience, that unto itself is the art of transformation. Michelle begins with an existential question about the world and wonders if there is way that choreography, liveness, and her body can augment these questions and instead of writing an academic paper about it, she essentially, does live experiments and uses video and physical objects to capture the wonder of what she discovers.

After we announced our offer to allow for free through the month of April, Michelle reminded us of some Please Consider videos she made after the platform first launched. She was the platform’s first Artist-in-Residence and these videos were created as kind of like a virtual “lobby talk” as if the home page of the website was a virtual lobby, special content that you would experience when you first landed on the page! Now, more than ever I think considering Michelle’s brilliance is something to take note and pause as we stare at our screens trying to emotional understand how our world is rapidly shifting before our eyes.

- Rachel Cook, Artistic Director

Photo of Michelle Ellsworth in The Rehearsal Artist courtesy of Julieta Cervantes