Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble
Residency dates: June 16 – 29
Public Showings: June 27 & 28, 6pm
at Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center
280 Broadway, Manhattan
Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble (ROKE) is a musical priesthood that explores the metaphysics and mythologies of love, desire and courtship at the end of the 20th century. Appropriating strategies of installation art, opera, and theater, ROKE creates multimedia performances with original music to create modern-day rituals from found text and video sources.
In Starbucks Infinity, the Ensemble finds themselves inside of a trans-dimensional space made from images of Starbucks as featured in popular romantic comedies and YouTube videos. By rebuilding the popular retail store with digital tools, the Ensemble will create an ever-shifting psychedelic wormhole in which characters from different films and commercials interact over a cup of coffee. By appropriating the most generic of meeting-places, the Ensemble will reconstitute the psychic landscape of the Experience Economy and confront the question of what it means to be truly #basic.
Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble (Tei Blow and Sean McElroy) [ROKE] is a musical priesthood that explores the metaphysics and mythologies of love, desire and courtship at the end of the 20th century. By appropriating strategies of installation art, opera, and theater, ROKE creates multimedia installation- performances with original music to create modern-day rituals from found text and video sources.
ROKE was formed when Brown hosted Oberlin for the 2001 Liberal Arts Spring Fling. They went on to cement their partnership a year later when they both enrolled in the low-residency Masters program in Women’s Studies at Stanford-Hofstra-University of Phoenix-Online. All of their performance work is a development of their collaborative thesis project, Isis As-Is: Du Darwinisme Féminin au Post-Humanisme. ROKE was awarded Best Original Song Not Written by Thoth in 2561 by the Horus Council, and nominated for Best Underwater Spectacle in 2057 for their performance He is I, A Man’s Story, which premiered at the annual Opening of the Mouth Ceremony at the Temple of Khonsu in Thebes.
ROKE has also performed rituals at FringeArts (Philadelphia), Under the Radar Festival’s Incoming! Series, Gibney Dance Center, Kate Werble Gallery, Special Effects Festival/Participant Inc., Prelude Festival, AUNTS Arts@Renaissance, and JACK. ROKE has been awarded a Franklin Furnace Fund grant (2013) and a BAX Space Grant (2014). They are part of the Public Theater’s Devised Theater Working Group and PS122’s RAMP residency program. They spent the summer of 2014 at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. ROKE’s next projects include a Steve Reich/Wilhelm Reich tribute album produced in collaboration with Kanye West.
The RAMP residency will be used to re-envision the architecture of a white-walled gallery space as a diagram of a wormhole and project a simulation of the Starbucks environment into it, mapping scenes from popular films in which the Starbucks brand features prominently. We plan to use the space to devise a scenic construction and projection-mapping scenario that works to create a seamless or non-seamless projection and video compositing system. We will also plan to devise a method of music spatialization drawing from our earlier experiments in surround-sound psychedelia.
About Gibney Dance
Gibney Dance brings the possibility of movement where it otherwise would not exist. Through three interrelated fields of action—Center, Company, and Community Action—Gibney Dance is “Making Space for Dance” in studios, on stages, and in underserved shelters and schools.
Gibney Dance Centers are a powerhouse of cultural support for the performing arts community and the City itself. In 1991, Gibney Dance began leasing a studio in the historic 890 Broadway building to house Company rehearsals, and by 2011 the organization’s presence at that location had expanded to comprise an expansive eight-studio creative center. Today, with the addition of 280 Broadway, the organization directs a performing arts complex with two facilities: the Choreographic Center at 890 Broadway and Performing Arts Center at 280 Broadway. These remarkable spaces enable a robust roster of events designed to meet the needs of the dance field by fostering the creative process, encouraging dialogue, and providing professional development opportunities.
Gibney Dance Company is the Centers’ acclaimed resident dance ensemble, led by choreographer Gina Gibney. Since its founding in 1991, the Company has developed a repertory of over thirty works that have been performed throughout the US and abroad. Gibney is known for using weighted, spiraling phrases to craft interpersonal dynamics between the dancers. These carefully calibrated relationships reflect the dancers’ experiences as community activists. As observed by writer Deborah Jowitt: “(t)hat Gibney’s troupe has long worked for the empowerment of battered women is reflected in the dancers’ struggles, their uncommon resilience, the support one readily offers another.” Highly sought-after by a wide range of performing arts institutions, the Company has been featured in recent years at Danspace Project (New York), White Bird (Oregon) the Yale Repertory Theater (Connecticut), L’Agora de la Danse (Montreal, Canada), and Internationale Tanzmesse (Dusseldorf, Germany).
Gibney Dance Community Action provides New York City domestic violence shelters with over 500 free movement workshops each year. At these workshops Company members share activities that draw from artistic practices to address issues of choice and self-expression. Community Action was initiated in 2000 in collaboration with Sanctuary for Families and Safe Horizon, two of the country’s most prominent domestic violence organizations. Widely regarded as a model in the field, Community Action’s methods for integrating arts and social action are distributed nationally—via our Institute for Community Action intensive that annually hosts dancers from across the US—and internationally—through Global Community Action Residencies, most recently in Cape Town, South Africa.
RAMP artists are commissioned by Performance Space 122 with support from the Jerome Foundation. RAMP 2015 is supported by Gibney Dance.