Jason Akira Somma
"My Heart Swells"
Commissioned by Robert Wilson for the Guggenheim Museum (NYC) March 2011. This video was made completely analog in real time with no computers involved.
I read this Time Out New York article on Jason Akira Somma last year right around the time of his show at Location One, which was later covered by Creators Project (a personal favorite of mine). What drew me into his work most was the fact that he came from a dance background, having worked with greats like Bill T. Jones and incorporating legends like Baryshnikov (swoon) into his pieces. In the interview he talked about watching Gregory Hines perform as a kid, memories I have as well. Having grown up in the dance world myself, attending school at The Harid Conservatory, dancing with companies like The Joffrey, training under Galina Yordanova, Todd Bolander, and studying choreography under greats like Karol Armitage -- I felt a sort of camaraderie with Jason, even though we have never met. As an adult I slowly phased out of the dance world and into the art world. When I read about Jason Akira Somma I suddenly had this disappointment with myself that I hadn't seen all of my interests and talents as one working module. I actually wrote him about that and his response to me was long and thoughtful, but in short it stated I should just go dance. I think watching his work, and also taking up basic training at Alvin Ailey in my spare time - is what eventually inspired me to make this piece for Jason Lescalleet; a combination of performance art, dance, video art and experimental music. (The piece is forthcoming as a premiere, but you can watch a short clip of footage here)
Another thing that is really, really awesome about Jason is his process... which you can see in a video here. By wiring everything together, tv's, control boards, video cameras etc.. he "controls" the distortion and glitches in real time... allowing him to incorporate real time footage into his work, making it perfect for live performances. This is nothing new, but somehow, he makes it feel more interesting, to me anyway. I look forward to seeing more work from him, and am always thankful for artists like this who inspire me and connect me to my inner passions... (Gushing.)