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The original score for ChrisMastersDance's Mausoleum, which premiered at Brooklyn Academy of Music in June 2023, before touring to eXit SPACE NOD Theater in Seattle later that month.
What precedes remembrance? In the midst of shouldering unrelenting pressure in an unsustainable form of life, how can we document our experiences? How can we find the time to pause, memorialize, and learn?
We build a Mausoleum. A place to acknowledge and remember a past that has been laid to rest. A dance work that considers and interrupts what has come, making way for tomorrow.
Finding underpinning Zuboff’s The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Sartre’s No Exit, Piketty’s Capital and Ideology, and Virgil’s Aeneid, we interrogate these questions through rigorous generative tasks, empowering collaborators to embrace their individual and indelible histories to forge a Mausoleum in the fire of their experiences and perspectives.
Overstimulating and nonstop, the work investigates our overconsumption of media, addiction to drama, inertia that concretizes unsustainable forms of life and work, and the inextricable link between love and loss.
The result is work that functions not as declarative, but rather as interrogative. There is no right answer, but there’s also no right question. You are encouraged to embrace your unique history and perspective to ask your own questions, and provide your own answers. The work remains fundamentally unfinished without you.
ChrisMastersDance is a Brooklyn-based contemporary dance company built by a team of interdisciplinary collaborators and directed by Chris Masters. Founded in 2012, the organization's philosophy in dance making is that the work should function as a container, seamlessly blending movement invention, theoretical investigation, and character-driven theatricality. Like a container, the work can be unpacked in myriad and disparate ways, allowing for greater accessibility and connectivity to diverse audiences. The primary objective is to create an empathetic avenue for dialogue between performer, witness, and community.
Every love story is a ghost story; we are all haunted by our own histories, by the ghosts of those who have impressed themselves on us before. These histories and impressions impact our subjective experiences and future relationships—which then impress themselves upon future histories, and so on ad infinitum. The circle and cycle remains unbroken.
Our task-based approach to the generation of material—movement, words, music, film—centers the disparate and diverse voices in the room to create work that functions not as declarative, but rather as interrogative, always leaving the witness with more questions than answers.
The gulf between intention and consequence is massive in great and generative ways—rather than trying to crawl and claw our way toward the impossibility of clarity and control, our processes encourage that gulf to become an ocean.
You are hereby invited to embrace your unique history and perspective to ask your own questions, and provide your own answers. The work remains fundamentally unfinished without you.
Direction and Concept: Chris Masters
Choreography and Performance: cove barton, Sabrina Canas, Abigail Linnemeyer, Marcus Sarjeant
Original Score: Ex-Fiancée
Simulcast Videography: Sven Britt
Photography & Video Art: Robert Flynt & David Fishel
Costume Design: Oana Botez
Lighting Design: Maruti Evans
Writing: Jayson P. Smith
Lead Dramaturge: Eva Yaa Asantewaa
Supporting Dramaturge: Vidya Ravilochan
Lighting Design Associate: Matt Steinberg
Stage Manager: Katie Curran
Documentation Videographer: Sierra Hendrix
Documentation Photographer: Elyse Mertz
Publicity: Kelly Ryan
Earlier choreographic contributions by:
Bostyn Ashjian, Jason Reese Cianciulli, Rosie DeAngelo, Ross Katen*, Xuexin (Nico) Li*, Joey Loto*, Kate Vincek*
*Original work-in-progress showing at Danspace Project from invitation by Ishmael Houston-Jones
Photography and Video Art by Robert Flynt & David Fishel was filmed in part at Chapman Steamer Arts in the Hudson Valley.
The original score for Mausoleum was created with the generous support of the Charles and Joan Gross Family Foundation.
Album artwork by Robert Flynt.
released June 18, 2023
Composed, performed, produced, mixed, and mastered by Ex-Fiancée (Sven Britt), with the exception of spoken word poetry by Jayson P. Smith.