Sound + Vision Artist in Residence: My Barbarian

My Barbarian will be in residence April 4–9 with multiple events taking place during that time.

MY BARBARIAN in Conversation with Dr. Cherise Smith, Director of the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies
Moderated by Ariel Evans, Editor of Pastelegram
• when: Wed April 6 @ 6 p.m. (90 mins)
• where: UT Campus, Gordon White Building (GWB) 2.206, 210 West 24th Street

MY BARBARIAN: Pre-Apocalyptic Jam Band Dance Soiree (PoLAAT)
• when: Fri April 8 @ 9 p.m. & 10:30 p.m. (25 mins)
• where: Fusebox Festival Hub, Saengerrunde Hall, ENTRY AT 315 E 17th Street, 78701


The artist collective My Barbarian will be in residence at the Visual Arts Center at UT Austin from April 4 to 9, 2016, where they will employ the pedagogical model and self-consciously codified technique that they developed in 2008 called the Post-Living Ante-Action Theater (or PoLAAT for short). This five-stage technique—consisting of Estrangement, Indistinction, Suspension of Beliefs, Mandate to Participate, Inspirational Critique—incorporates song, dance, levitation, trust circles, masks, signs and other elements to playfully reenact serious artistic, political, social and historical situations. Over several days, students and community members will participate in a PoLAAT workshop led by the three members of My Barbarian, encountering new techniques in group-building, cultural exchange, and political critique through imaginative reenactment.

In collaboration with Church of the Friendly Ghost and Pastelegram, My Barbarian’s residency will occur in tandem with Pastelegram’s Fall 2015 publication of a manual and sourcebook for PoLAAT. The manual, “The Audience is Always Right,” covers exercises developed by My Barbarian for each stage and includes documents, source materials, and later reflections from participants in earlier PoLAAT workshops, which have occurred with varied groups across several countries. The publication serves as a tool for others to adapt PoLAAT techniques for their own purposes. It will be a central tool to the VAC workshop edition as well as the first opportunity that My Barbarian will use it as a launching off point for their workshops.

At the close of the residency and in conjunction with Fusebox Festival, My Barbarian and workshop collaborators will present a final performance as a culmination of the entire week’s events.

Support for My Barbarian’s residency comes from the Ford Foundation, the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, Pastelegram, The Church of the Friendly Ghost, Fusebox Festival, Texas Performing Arts, through the O’Donnell Fund, and the Fine Arts Diversity Committee.

About the Artist

My Barbarian is an LA and New York-based trio whose performances enact historical narratives and rehearse social situations. The group draws on performance art, political theater, queer camp, institutional critique, folk plays, musicals and music videos to construct playful performances that encourage both imagination and presence. They have presented their work nationally and internationally, in solo shows at Museo El Eco, Mexico City, the Hammer Museum, LA, Participant Inc., New York; and in exhibitions including the 2014 Whitney Biennial, the 2010 Baltic Triennial, Performa 05 and 07, and many others.

Individual Collaborator Biographies

Malik Gaines is assistant professor of Performance Studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Gaines holds a Ph.D. in Theater and Performance Studies from UCLA and an MFA in Writing from CalArts. His forthcoming book, Excesses of the Sixties: Black Performance on the Outskirts of the Left, considers the legacy of the sixties as a location for radical acts. Gaines has written numerous articles and essays for journals including Art Journal and Women and Performance, and for magazines, museum publications, and artist’s books. Gaines also does solo music performance work, and collaborates with Alex Segade under the name Courtesy the Artists, with projects at The Studio Museum in Harlem, MoMA PS1, The Kitchen, and others.

Jade Gordon has served as faculty member at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting in Los Angeles and the School of Theater at the CalArts in Valencia, California. She holds a BA in Theater and an MA in Applied Theater Arts from the University of Southern California. Gordon studied at Augusto Boal’s Center for the Theater of the Oppressed in Rio De Janeiro and leads Theater of the Oppressed workshops in housing facilities, high schools, community centers and art spaces. Gordon has appeared in film and TV roles and received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for her performance in Allison Anders’s “Sugartown.” Gordon is also co-owner of Wombleton Records, a collectible vinyl record shop in Highland Park, CA.

Alexandro Segade is an artist whose work spans fields of video, theater, and visual art, with an emphasis on collaboration across disciplines. Segade is co-chair of the Film/Video department at Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts and teaches in the BFA program at Parsons the New School in New York City. Segade earned a BA in English from UCLA and an MFA in interdisciplinary studio art from UCLA where he studied with conceptual artist Mary Kelly. In addition to My Barbarian, Segade collaborates with Malik Gaines under the name Courtesy the Artists, with projects at The Studio Museum in Harlem, MoMA PS1, The Kitchen, and others. Segade has presented his own performance and video work at the TBA Festival, Portland; at LAXART, REDCAT and Artist Curated Projects in Los Angeles; UC Riverside; Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena; Migrating Forms at Anthology Film Archive in New York; Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco; and Vox Populi in Philadelphia.

About Sound + Vision

Sound + Vision presents experiments in sound, video and performance. Designed in collaboration with contemporary artists, each program provides multisensory experiences through the pairing of visual art and non-traditional media.

Sound + Vision is presented in collaboration with The Church of the Friendly Ghost, an Austin-based organization dedicated to creative music, future-minded expressions, sound, new media art, and counter culture communities.