March 21, 2022
ICA at VCU launches the hybrid performance series ‘Test Pattern’
Series invites visiting artists to use the ICA auditorium as an experimental production studio, inspired by the legacy of public access TV and alternative video movements in the U.S.
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In an era of information overload, deepfakery, media consolidation and mass surveillance, is it possible to reclaim the transformative potential of alternative media?
This spring, the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University will address that question with “Test Pattern,” a hybrid performance series that invites visiting artists to use the ICA auditorium as an experimental production studio, inspired by the legacy of public access TV and alternative video movements in the United States.
“Test Pattern” kicks off Friday, March 25, from 7 to 10 p.m. with performances by musician and theorist DeForrest Brown Jr.
Brown will join forces with VCU professor madison moore, Ph.D., to present “Black Vibrations,” a performance that considers the history of Detroit techno, and the potential of “vibrational technologies” as an instrument and a weapon. A conversation with scholar and philosopher Alexander Weheliye will follow.
The series continues on Friday, April 15, with new media artist Shawné Michaelain Holloway’s “DEWCLAW,” a multimedia composition that uses the choreography of sadomasochist bondage play and the faux-rage-fueled narrative vocalization styles of ’80s and ’90s wrestling promos, to consider the forgotten memories, habits and desires that are stored within our bodies and identities. A conversation with Julian Kevon Glover, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the VCU Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies in the College of Humanities and Sciences, will follow.
On Friday, June 3, Moor Mother, a musician, poet, activist and co-founder of Black Quantum Futurism, reunites with Richmond musician Ohbliv — one of the producers on her debut studio album “Fetish Bones” — for a live musical performance followed by a conversation with Caitlin Cherry, an assistant professor of painting and printmaking at VCU.
These artists all share an interdisciplinary approach to performance, an interest in the pitfalls and potential of technology, and a commitment to nightlife as a practice.
During each weeklong residency, the artists will collaborate with community members, transforming the ICA auditorium into a space for music, movement, activism and deep conversations. Each week will culminate in a live performance and broadcast.
“Test Pattern” presents the public with a unique window into the creative process to observe rehearsals, participate in live tapings and online streams of the performances, and to later access each episode in its final form.
“Test Pattern” is curated by David Riley, a producer and assistant curator at the ICA.
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