Institutional Bodies

This piece I designed for collaboration with Misael Soto for his MFA show "Side Show" at SAIC in Chicago on May 11, 2018.

Using a sewn together lycra fabric as a means of dialogue, Misael and I wore the fabric as we engaged in three different dialogue's through physical conversation. The piece was viewed from the 13th floor of the school building and was performed in the courtyard of the SAIC museum. No permission was asked. The following topics were discussed: 

Love
Arguing
Play

The subjects were moved into and out of over a period of 25 minutes. On the 13th floor a tape player played a recording of verbal conversations that could accompany the physical enactments of the dialogues being acted out below. However the audio and the visual performance were intentionally out of sync. This was to open the discussion to how perception of a situation from afar may not be what an outsider viewer may perceive it to be.

 Interestingly, as we were performing a protest was going on. I admit that I don't know what the protest was about, but this did change the piece's intention as we were doing it. It started to become a protest in of itself, engaged with issues of the capital nature of the educational institution of SAIC.

Interestingly, as we were performing a protest was going on. I admit that I don't know what the protest was about, but this did change the piece's intention as we were doing it. It started to become a protest in of itself, engaged with issues of the capital nature of the educational institution of SAIC.

 Here we are discussing Love.

Here we are discussing Love.

 This is the audio equipment used to play the tape of our discussions about Love, Anger and Play.

This is the audio equipment used to play the tape of our discussions about Love, Anger and Play.

 Here we are engaged in our Play conversation. This security guard at the top of the steps is telling us to stop. We explained to her that it was a part of a show associated with the Performance Art program at the school. She replied that she had her orders. How can a program that focuses on ephemera and topics of spontaneity exist in an institutional setting? Issues of liability of course are reasons, but we were not behaving in a dangerous manner.

Here we are engaged in our Play conversation. This security guard at the top of the steps is telling us to stop. We explained to her that it was a part of a show associated with the Performance Art program at the school. She replied that she had her orders. How can a program that focuses on ephemera and topics of spontaneity exist in an institutional setting? Issues of liability of course are reasons, but we were not behaving in a dangerous manner.

In this video we are exploring Anger, but as we were doing this, with the protest going on, the anger turned into play and a desire to mold into, be part of our surroundings. In this case it became the corner of the SAIC Art Museum.

How does perception from other's affect the reality of those actually engaged in a situation? Because of the open score nature of the dialogue, the piece was able to shift based on the environment and the entrance and exit into the different theme's of Love, Anger and Play.

The fact that the piece ended with a showdown between us and a security guard gave the piece a broader meaning. While it was still about perception, it also became about the institution in which we are all trying to exist. How we behave is influenced by the system that we are apart of. This in turn affects the nature of any conversation. In this case, it shifted our dialogue of play into a walk back to the building where we that dealt with anger toward the capitalist institution of education, our litigation culture and the harsh reality that subtle and spontaneous interventions can be thwarted by such a climate. People of the world are filled with fear because of hateful acts. Whenever something seems "strange" and is unknown it instantly becomes a threat. 

Transnaturism 1 and 1.2

The first Installation of Transnaturism was performed on February 7, 2018 at Blackbird Ordinary. I performed social research on the costuming and intention by integrating into the crowd at a busy club in Miami's financial district called Blackbird Ordinary. Due to the emotional and drunken needs of the crowd the costumes that were delicately built out of organic material were destroyed in the process of responding to the crowd.

Monica Lopez De Victoria invited me to perform and arranged for the evenings photographer to document the performance. I used these photo's to further conduct research.

It was the natural response of the performers to engage with the alcohol fueled party crowd.

 Being a spectacle while trying to convey the message that we are disconnected from Earth felt a bit pained. However a warm part of my heart opened to having a good humor toward the situation.

Being a spectacle while trying to convey the message that we are disconnected from Earth felt a bit pained. However a warm part of my heart opened to having a good humor toward the situation.

 People's reactions were varied, even within the same group, as you can see here exhibited in the red circle. Overall, people were having fun. However some people reacted to the costumes in skeptical ways. 

People's reactions were varied, even within the same group, as you can see here exhibited in the red circle. Overall, people were having fun. However some people reacted to the costumes in skeptical ways. 

 Some people were pleased and seemed to vibe with the actions.

Some people were pleased and seemed to vibe with the actions.

 The score that was planned pre-performance completely transformed into a more wild interaction with the crowd. They wanted to be entertained and did not seem to mind the plants. In fact it seemed to make people happy.

The score that was planned pre-performance completely transformed into a more wild interaction with the crowd. They wanted to be entertained and did not seem to mind the plants. In fact it seemed to make people happy.

 On a subconscious level, people love the earth. Even if they spend their lives working at jobs that kill it. It is an undeniable often un-noticeable and incommunicable resonance with our shared planet.

On a subconscious level, people love the earth. Even if they spend their lives working at jobs that kill it. It is an undeniable often un-noticeable and incommunicable resonance with our shared planet.

 People, generally want to have fun. People that are different than me have fun in ways that are different than me. Performing in this place that was not "my scene" reminded how much I love to admonish the "elite aspect" of the art world. I want to be with and love people. I also am different, but feel I have universal messages. Where can everything sync?

People, generally want to have fun. People that are different than me have fun in ways that are different than me. Performing in this place that was not "my scene" reminded how much I love to admonish the "elite aspect" of the art world. I want to be with and love people. I also am different, but feel I have universal messages. Where can everything sync?

 Does my friend here vouch for us? As We wave our palm fronds in the air, does she even know we are there? Does that matter? I bet, she could smell the crushed leaves... at least a little.

Does my friend here vouch for us? As We wave our palm fronds in the air, does she even know we are there? Does that matter? I bet, she could smell the crushed leaves... at least a little.

 The costumes were largely destroyed in the end. I felt inspired to try new ways of bringing people closer to Nature.

The costumes were largely destroyed in the end. I felt inspired to try new ways of bringing people closer to Nature.

 photo by: German Caceres  1.2 of this performance took place at the INC (International Noise Conference) festival at Churchills Pub in Miami Fl,  on February 8, 2018. In this performance I created a narrative of the Transnaturist experience using music, dance and props.  I opened with a song I wrote on a keyboard that represented my dystopian feelings about structures. Then Dennis Fuller looped this and started to play beats on top of it while I started the story. I began by pulling a microphone out of a pot of dirt and started to read/sing an excerpt from the book "A Wrinkle in Time". For me this represented the sort of death release and infinite possibilities of life that are part of the Transnaturist purview.  I then performed a  dance choreography that moved through, death, fertility, technology, capitalism and dirt.  I smeared the dirt all over my face and planted a machine.  First segment done.

photo by: German Caceres

1.2 of this performance took place at the INC (International Noise Conference) festival at Churchills Pub in Miami Fl,  on February 8, 2018. In this performance I created a narrative of the Transnaturist experience using music, dance and props.

I opened with a song I wrote on a keyboard that represented my dystopian feelings about structures. Then Dennis Fuller looped this and started to play beats on top of it while I started the story. I began by pulling a microphone out of a pot of dirt and started to read/sing an excerpt from the book "A Wrinkle in Time". For me this represented the sort of death release and infinite possibilities of life that are part of the Transnaturist purview.

I then performed a  dance choreography that moved through, death, fertility, technology, capitalism and dirt.

I smeared the dirt all over my face and planted a machine.

First segment done.

Edge of Land

Balfe has been meditating in the featured Mangrove forest for 5 years. Her meditation has developed into challenging the dialectic of body/mind and person/environment. The piece explores merging these lines drawn by dancing at the edge of our South Florida land.

This film starring: 

Jenna Balfe
Nick DeLucca
Dennis Brewster Fuller

Was shot by Gabi Serra, with original film scoring by Dennis Fuller.

The film will be premiering later this year. Date TBA.

Edge 4.png
Edge 3.png
Edge 2.png

⊖ at BFI - Misael Soto and Willie Smart

⊖ at BFI continues a series of ambient residency programs framed by ⊖ and hosted by various institutions including ACRE, WI; Waterfront, NY; and MCA, Chicago. ⊖ at BFI will be their most ambitious iteration to date, spanning three days of programming. December, 2016.

Programming culminates in a 12-hour-long Artists Residency: an opportunity for a group of Artist Residents to take as much inspiration as possible from as little context and material as possible. The goal is for residents to return from ⊖ with more, but also less than when awarded residence.

I was given a residence and here are a few images of what we did.

IMG_2272 (1).JPG
IMG_2269.JPG
IMG_2304.JPG
IMG_2259.JPG

The Fort (A place to meet friends)

During Art Basel 2011, at the show titled: 3825 N.E 1 ave, curated by Bhakti Baxter,  Misael Soto and I embarked on a journey to make a warm place made out of found things (trash) for people to gather in. We gathered the materials from the surrounding area, mostly in a shopping cart bicycle built by a local artis Sleeper. We built a tunnel that guests would have to crawl at times to get through to the larger space. The tunnel was filled with interesting things to look at and play with, including an electric keyboard ( which some people did make music on). Once a visitor got through the tunnel they entered another room that was filled with sheets, posters, driftwood, scarecrows, christmas lights etc.Toward the back of this room was a ladder, naturally inviting a visitor to climb up. Upon arriving, the visitor entered our fort. Filled with pillows, snacks, a record player, finger paint, books about the cosmo's and Misael and I. We wanted to invite people back into that neutral space of childish play. Many visitors commente that they felt very welcome and at ease. A few people felt inclined to tell us very personal stories. Our goal was to make a space that forced people out of their adult Art Basel realities and bring them into a space where they hang out and play with each other. Press: See "Occupy Cave" at: http://swampspace.blogspot.com/2012_01_01_archive.html

me-3.jpeg
me-5.jpeg
me.jpeg
Misael Soto and Jenna Balfe.gallery.jpeg

http://youtu.be/oFxibYZlCj8

Art Live Fair 2012

On October 27, 2012 the Body Movement Class (The End/Spring Break, me (Jenna Balfe) and Mr. Feathers (music)  held workshops at the Art Live Fair. We had two workshops and at the end of each workshop participants were asked to use their newly aquired physical information to answer a simple question with their skillz. This quick “answer”was video recorded. click here to see a video!

yes
yes

We explored the concepts such as:

Weight Sharing - We will lightly cover technique that will give movers the ability to share a center of gravity and find momentum to dance. The play of balance and off balance will also be touched upon.

Gesture - Playing with the concept of everyday expression and movements, we will explore and re-contextualize their meanings and use.

Dancing with someone else- Really tuning into another person’s rythym and initiative to move is an art that extends beyond dance... but for the purposes of this small workshop we will focus on trying to listen to our partner as well as inspire their movement.

Sensitivity and awareness skills- This is a group movement oriented workshop. We will play with the concept of telling the same story at the same time as one entity with different moving parts.

Body Movement Class has been an ongoing class since January 2012 (with a 2 month summer break) These workshops were helped by people who had been attending the class regularly. Because of the skills they learned we were able to more easily delve into physical play with the attendees of the workshop. Thank you to: Jean Crystal, Misael Soto, Natasha Velez, Alicia Ziatsu, Patricia Margarita Hernandez, Domingo Castillo, Natalia Sturlia and Mauricio Abascal.

Press:

Art Is About

The End

The Night Club Presents:One Size Fits All: The Frank Zappa Show

On May 12, 2012 I participated in a group show hosted by "The Nightclub", a curatorial series consisting of 12 different one night events intended to create dialogue about art practice. This show, the second of the series was curated by Bhakti Baxter. "One Size Fits All" was a group show with work by: Kevin Arrow, Jenna Balfe, Bhakti Baxter, Autumn Casey, Clint Casey, Dino Felipe, Kool Large, Gean Moreno, Upahar David Neiburger, Daniel Newman, and DJ Le Spam. The premise of the show was essentially to interpret the work or the spirit of Frank Zappa in whatever way each artist felt appropriate. My piece was a series of rainbows "prints" I created by painting rainbows on my rear-end and then sitting on paper.

P1020978.JPG
P1020975.JPG

Press:

Article by: Miami Art Guide

Video by: Art is About