Why does suffering fascinate us? Why do bloopers of painful accidents make us laugh? How do we process our daily consumption of tragic images from around the globe? Can media’s virtual remapping of geographic proximity also promote empathy and compassion?
Through the lens of dance and cinema, I’m Fine reconsiders compassion, consumption, privilege, and the vulnerability associated with our own imperfect reaction to pain and global suffering. It further examines how those concepts function today in our digitally mediated world. I’m Fine is an in-progress short non-fiction dance film, a collaboration between dancer / choreographer Peter Carpenter, and filmmaker Danièle Wilmouth. It features Margi Cole, Lisa Gonzales, and Matthew McMunn. Primary shooting is scheduled for June of 2019 at various locations around Chicagoland, and we intend to release the film in early 2020.
In-progress experimental short dance film
Reflections on the project from Peter & Danièle
The themes of this project feel deeply connected to the ways that we believe dance and cinema can address the seemingly contradictory issues of power/privilege, empathy/compassion, and justice/accountability. As we look for ways to nudge viewers to seeing their own complicity and entitlement, this project feels like a perfect assemblage of our ongoing interests with dance-for-camera, coupled with social issue documentary. We fully recognize that the demise of compassion in a digitally mediated era might be an easy mark for critique, but we have been inspired by the depth of investigation that has occurred thus far in our rehearsals in response to these questions.
Further, we believe that a dance-for-camera project that utilizes documentary aesthetic conventions might be an especially apt vehicle for critique in that it shows the body alternatively as a site of beauty and as a site of identification. After our successful collaboration on the short music and dance film FANFARE for MARCHING BAND back in 2012, we are enthusiastic about embarking on another artistic partnership. So far, throughout our rehearsal process, we have been very excited by the ways in which the thematic questions described above are intrinsically connected with both the choreographic and cinematic forms expressed in the work.
Peter Carpenter has been active as a choreographer since 1992 and during that time he has honed a distinctive approach to blending complex dance vocabularies with politically charged text and meta-theatrical conventions. He has received robust support for the creation of new works in the form of commissions by Lucky Plush Productions (Chicago), The Dance Distribution Project (Memphis), and The Ashland Art Museum (Chapel Hill, NC), among others. Grants to create new work include the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, the Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist Grant, Chicago Artists Assistance Program Grant and DCASE Individual Artist Grant. He is an Associate Professor of Dance at Columbia College Chicago.
Margi Cole founder and Artistic Director of The Dance COLEctive, received a BA in dance from Columbia College Chicago and an MFA in dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has taught for several educational and professional organizations nationally and internationally and performed with many well-known choreographers and companies. In 2011, Cole participated in the Deborah Hay Solo Commissioning Project. Margi has received two Illinois Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowships, a 2005 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist Award, three Individual Arts Program Creative Project Grants from Chicago’s DCASE, an American Marshall Memorial Fellowship and, most recently, a 2018 Art Omi Dance Residency. Active in the Chicago dance community, she has served as a Chicago Dancemakers Forum Consortium Member, on grant panels, in public forums and is on the board of See Chicago Dance. Cole is on faculty at Columbia College Chicago, where she has served as a Lecturer and Associate Chair and is currently the Program Manager of the Dance Center Presenting Series.
Matthew McMunn has performed in three installments of Peter Carpenter’s Rituals of Abundance for Lean Times. He has also been a member of The Seldoms dance company since 2015. Performance credits include a remount of Sybil Shearer’s Judgement Seeks it’s Own, Kristina Isabelle’s Levels and Lines, and Speak Productions’ Were the World Mine. Matthew’s choreography has been presented by Dance Chance Redux, Links Hall, Core Project, Blunt Objects Theatre, Fused Muse Ensemble, Red Tape Theatre, and The Leopold Group. Matthew trained at Joel Hall, the Ailey School, and at Columbia College Chicago, where he graduated with a degree in Cultural Studies.
Lisa Gonzales is a choreographer, improviser, performer and teacher. She has been described as a performer of “stunning power and nuance” by the New York Times, and has shown her work nationally and internationally in diverse spaces such as: DTW in New York; The Dance Center of Columbia College and Links Hall in Chicago; Taipei, Taiwan; St. Petersburg, Russia; Helsinki, Finland; Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; and Yogyakarta and Jakarta, Indonesia. She is co-founder of The Architects and The Movement Intensive in Compositional Improvisation. Gonzales is an Associate Professor and Acting Chair of Dance at Columbia College Chicago.