A love Song as a Form of Protest

Authored by: Danielle Goldman

The Routledge Companion to Dance Studies

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138234581
eBook ISBN: 9781315306551
Adobe ISBN:


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In the fall of 2016, Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) introduced Endless Shout, a six-month, multi-artist performance project exploring collectivity and improvisation. Along with four other artists and thinkers—Raúl de Nieves, George Lewis, The Otolith Group, and taisha paggett—I was invited to help organize the series of performances within the ICA’s exhibition spaces. Upon our initial site visit at the ICA, a few months prior to the opening of Endless Shout, the curator Anthony Elms walked us through the museum and explained how works from the corresponding exhibition, The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now, would be installed. We quickly agreed that a gallery on the second floor would serve as the main space for Endless Shout. It had a high ceiling and it felt removed from the rest of the museum. Perhaps most notably for the purposes of this essay, one wall would be dedicated to I Can’t Concentrate with You in the Room (2016–2017), a set of nine photorealist paintings by Matthew Metzger, all album-sized and organized according to chance procedures, installed with a sound piece produced by collapsing every audible breath from Anthony Braxton’s “Composition 8F (To Composer John Cage).” On the adjacent wall, Elms would install Pope.L’s Another Kind of Love: John Cage’s Silence, By Hand (2016–2017), which considers the legacy of John Cage and its relation to contemporary black performance. What kind of dance would speak in compelling ways to these two works?

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