by

In:   Blog,  

5 comments

Last month, the Chairman of PS122’s Board, Ivan Martinez, took the time to write about his experiences as a participant in Choreography for Blackboards, which was presented last January as part of COIL 2012.

My name is Ivan Martinez and I’m the chairman of the board of Performance Space 122.  I’ve been on the board since 1998.  I was never an artist or performer and my involvement has been mostly to help support and manage the institution. This past January, for the first time ever, I was asked to be a performance – Michael Klien’s Choreography for Blackboards which was part of PS122’s COIL festival.  I was honored to be asked, but also petrified at the prospect of performing in front of a paying audience.  As part of the show, I wouldn’t have a PowerPoint presentation or the scripted set of charts that are part and parcel of my day job.  This was new territory for me.

The show was a unique piece that had me and five other performers, many non-artists like myself, drawing on and moving around six large blackboards.  There was some guidance and rules that defined the choreography’s five sections, but for the most part we were free to experiment with our markings and with our interaction with the space.  The only hard rule was that we couldn’t come in with preconceived ideas of what you wanted to draw or do; it had to be spontaneous.

We rehearsed for several days in order to get the choreography’s structure right and to get us comfortable with chalkboards, the staging, and each other.  I was able to see first-hand what went into the realization of an artistic vision, something that I had never been exposed to in such a direct manner. I was so taken by the thought and nuance that went into developing a piece of performance, some of which was informed by intangibles: mood, flow, chemistry, and the idiosyncrasies of movement and space.

The performance forced me to test the boundaries of my creativity.  On the fly, I had to come up with something to populate my chalkboard. It should have been easy because there was no right or scripted answer, and in fact we were encouraged to experiment by drawing and erasing as many times as possible, but I still felt compelled to try to be interesting for the audience.  I had a very hard time erasing my work, but that became liberating once I got used to it, and made me trust my creative reserves.  The energy of not just creating, but having an audience experience that energy with you, was thrilling.

This experience really brought into focus why I love and support Performance Space 122.  PS122 serves as a catalyst for creativity, innovation, and risk-taking in our culture that is increasingly being sanitized and marketed to.  I can’t think of a more exciting time to be involved with PS122. With generous commitment from the City of New York, our home in the East Village is undergoing a spectacular and necessary renovation that will allow the theater to function as the cultural heart of the neighborhood and a base to influence art and performance across New York and globally.  I’m excited also about the years PS122 will be out of the building, bringing performances all around the five boroughs, exposing new audiences to our brand of immersive experience.  As unnerving as it was for me to step into the role of a performer, it’s a little intimidating for the organization to experiment with new ways of presenting work while out of its home, but that is true to PS122’s nature – taking risks and seeing opportunity where others don’t.

The energy of the staff, board, and supporters of PS122 during this period has been infectious, underlining the importance and uniqueness of this institution.  I encourage anyone who values risk-taking and thought-provoking experiences to get involved – by seeing shows, donating, spreading the word, and if you are lucky and brave enough, to be part of a performance.

  • Alex

    Nice piece Ivan! You’re a blogger now.

  • Ernesto Martinez

    Ivan, as a performer for many years in dancing, I could not agree more with you. I am so glad to read this post and know we share more than blood relationship as cousins. I’d live to see some of that next year during my trip to NY.

    Regards,

    Ernesto Martinez

  • Hello Ivan, its good to see you performing and exploring other skills that you never explored before. something totally different than Finance world

  • Joe

    Talk about “Board Engagement”!!! Bravo Ivan!

  • Laura

    Thank you for this – poignent testimony of creativity, art, risk, and kind of everything that PS122 does.

  • Follow-up from our last post: Study of studs at our 67 West St office. #studs @ 67 West https://t.co/HnyJELRirg

  • Study of studs over at 150 1st Avenue as captured by #122CC architects deborahberkepartners.… https://t.co/MoB73PcQaW

  • Blue light #VR tests with @therealXXXY @mindridellc as part of #ps122virtual. @samsungmobile @DorisDukeFdn https://t.co/5lyYlqtKDv

  • .@mrs_truscott's Asking For It! comedy abt rape returns anew. You will laugh/cringe so hard. Thurs, 9:30p @JoesPub

  • Sneak peek into #VR tests with xxxy_1 mindridellc #ps122virtual samsungmobile Thanks,… https://t.co/2sx8sFGolv

  • As we head #backtoschool, it's important to remember that arts are essential - not extra: https://t.co/2NDoF0kWRj Thx @TurnaroundArts!

  • RT @auscouncilarts: Attend #performingarts events in #NYC! EOIs close 29 Aug @PS122 #COILfestival @ISPA_global @UTRFestival #APAPNYC htt…

  • Mesmerizing #VR dance in the @ps122 office with Senior Producer benjaminakio. @ Greenpoint Loft https://t.co/Yhft5QgGXq

  • These past 2 weeks had us silently prepping for the future. Explore the profound & unpredictable with us: https://t.co/92K8DHDHy3 #soon

  • RT @MrSteinbergMatt: I'm voting #Karen4Prez b/c on my 19th birthday @PS122 she sprayed me with honey and masturbated on my friend's shoe. h…

  • RT @hyperjetlag: MELBOURNE. If u loved the @PS122 shows last year, check this one out Thank You For Coming: Attendance @melbfestival https…

  • RT @petermarksdrama: Theater word of the night: catharsis.

  • RT @VegasNocturne: This could be the worst night of the greatest show that nobody ever saw. @thehouseofyes starting July 22 Tickets: https:…

  • RT @nytimesarts: A concert to benefit the Black Lives Matter movement has become tragically timely https://t.co/nTWqaiBuKZ https://t.co/L3b…

  • RT @mistermysterio: Why did no one mention to me that #TheLobster is like vintage Richard Maxwell from his @PS122 days?

  • RT @DanceCriticsDCA: Reshuffling at New York Live Arts https://t.co/Lvr5jzl0vL

  • Long live the #frillbilly! @daneterrynyc https://t.co/7PCp07MY0p

  • Last chance to catch #RAMP16 tonight! @daneterrynyc https://t.co/bxCNtIgEjy https://t.co/ectSi6mGET

  • See the dreamy daneterrynyc tomorrow night at 8pm @EzERoca for a work-in-progress showing via… https://t.co/bzGddn8eDD

  • Thanks to everyone that came out to the #generativecity long table. Special thanks to @GVCChamber for co-hosting!

MENU
ps122-logo-small-2