Since Harrison Atelier (HAt) emerged in 2010 with Anchises, their highly acclaimed collaboration with Jonah Bokaer, the multi disciplinary design collective has created a truly unique body of installation and performance work. HAt’s projects not only rivet with the unexpected beauty of their imagery and development of ideas into form, but also seek original ways to access and explore thematic material using the web of connections between human, animal and technology. With VEAL, a large-scale sculptural and sound installation featuring a contemporary dance performance, Harrison Atelier explores the development of the ecology of the industrial animal as man competes with nature to form and control the environment.
VEAL will make its world premiere at The Invisible Dog Art Center, February 7-10, 2013. The installation will be on view 1:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. Full performances will take place nightly at 7:30 P.M.
Admission is a $10 donation at the door. Seating is limited. Reservations are required and can be made by emailing email@example.com. The Invisible Dog Art Center is located at 51 Bergen Street in Brooklyn (between Smith & Court Streets). Visit theinvisibledog.org or call 347.560.3641 for more information.
To create VEAL, HAt has partnered again with the dancer and emerging choreographer Silas Riener and the composer Loren Dempster, who collaborated with HAt on the innovative dance-installation Pharmacophore: Architectural Placebo, at New York’s Storefront for Art & Architecture in 2011. In performing his choreography, Riener will be joined by Rashaun Mitchell and Cori Kresge.
VEAL draws inspiration from political scientist Timothy Pachirat’s book Every Twelve Seconds (2011), which chronicles his five months undercover in a Midwestern slaughterhouse. Pachirat’s text offers not only an architectural mapping of an industry shrouded in secrecy, but animates our often distant relationship to the animal within the process of meat manufacture.
The industrial animal that man has created—and the ecology that has evolved to sustain this animal—participates in a critical body of thought called the “posthuman,” which is an area of intense interest for HAt. The posthuman recognizes the displacement of nature by technology and the changing relationship of the human to the non-human, as the result. Posthuman themes characterize many of HAt’s works, from Anchises, which addressed the social impact of technologically-enabled human longevity, to Pharmacophore, which confronted the placebo effect that sustains the pharmaceutical-industrial complex, to VEAL, in which human and non-human interests collide.
A second source of inspiration of VEAL is the animal instincts of humans as presented in the Greek myth of The Flaying of Marsyas. The tale centers on a contest between Apollo with his lyre and Marsyas the satyr with his reed pipes. After Marsyas wins the first round, Apollo eventually wins the second round and has Marsyas flayed alive for his hubris: in some stories his skin becomes a windbag or prototype for the bagpipe.
These themes—technology, the animal and myth—intertwine in the five spaces of the VEAL installation, four of which comprise the Invisible Dog’s main gallery, and the fifth in a second gallery, where Riener’s dance work is performed. The installations are multimedia sculptures that double as musical instruments—some of which can be played by audience members—representing moments in an animal’s life as it is mass-produced for food. The first installation, Apollo’s “In Vitro Lyre,” combats with the second installation, Marsyas’ “Sty of Bagpipes”. The remaining three installations—“Crated Voices,” “Ex Fluvio,” and “AlgAl Bloom” (Working Title)—play out the victory of the human over the animal. The fifth installation is an immersion of audience and performers, in which Silas Riener choreographs the spillage of the synthetic and controlled CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) ecology into the pristine surround.
Harrison Atelier is a New York-based design collective whose performances and design work explore the impact of technology on culture. It was founded in 2009 by Seth Harrison, a writer, designer and biotechnologist, and Ariane Lourie Harrison, an architect and educator at the Yale School of Architecture. Since 2009, Harrison Atelier’s activities include performance design, master planning, architectural design and writing. Each area of work adopts an ecological approach and reflects the firm’s interest in exploring the “posthuman” entanglement of human, technology and nature within the built environment. The founders of Harrison Atelier have published on topics that range from “The Ecology of Aging” (Speciale Z 2011), “Posthuman Performance” (Between Anxiety and Desire, ed. Changhak Choi, 2012) and Architectural Theories of the Environment: Posthuman Territory (Routledge, 2013). Since 2010, Harrison Atelier has partnered with world-renowned choreographers and performing artists to design and create multi-disciplinary performance projects. These include Anchises (2010), a performance on the subject of aging which was listed among the New York Times’ top ten performances of the year; Pharmacophore 1 & 2 (2011) for the opening of the Orpheum Theater in Tannersville, NY, and Pharmacophore: Architectural Placebo (2011), an installation and performance at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York.