freedom of information 2009 is the name of a performance/protest/meditation, initiated by choreographer Miguel Gutierrez, that involves 24 hour of continuous movement improvisation performed while blindfolded and ear-plugged, which is intended as a contemplative act of solidarity with those displaced by war. On January 24 and 25th, 2009, the action will be simultaneously performed by Miguel Gutierrez in Berlin, Germany, and Katherine Ferrier in Kansas City, Missouri.
Miguel Gutierrez originally performed freedom of information alone on December 31, 2001, in response to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Recently, due to the U.S.’ continued presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, he reprised the action, inviting over 30 artists from across the United States to perform the action in their respective states, creating a synchronous, nationwide event. Several of the artists streamed live video feeds of the action onto the web, thus making the action accessible internationally to anyone with access to the internet. For more information on that incarnation of the event go to: freedomofinformation2008.blogspot.com
freedom of information involves staying in one room for the duration of the event. Moving continuously for 24 hours throughout the space of her/his choosing in a sensory-deprived state, the performer meditates on the dislocation and disorientation of those who do not have the basic right of being safe for the duration of a single day, who instead must be continuously on the move because of the threat of violence.
The action is an attempt to create an alternative discourse to the atrocities of war. It is billed as a performance/protest/meditation because the intentions of the action intersect with all of these ideas while not landing neatly into only one of those categories.
Throughout the 24 hours, people are invited to come and go as they please, watching the participating artist as she/he attempts to fulfill the simple but rigorous demands of this action.
Interested in keeping alive the question of what it is to experience empathy and connection across distance, Miguel Gutierrez and Katherine Ferrier are performing this incarnation of freedom of information simultaneously, in Berlin and Kansas City respectively. Again, they will make live streams of their action accessible to everyone with internet access. In Berlin, visual artist and musician Fritz Welch will play music live for the last two hours of the event.
The event has been initiated by Miguel Gutierrez, a Brooklyn, NY based dance and music artist. He creates group work in collaboration with dancers, visual and music artists as the director of Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People, and he also makes solos. In the U.S. his work has been presented at Dance Theater Workshop and The Kitchen in New York, ODC in San Francisco, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Flynn Center in Burlington, and Diverseworks in Houston. Internationally it has toured to several venues and festivals such as Kampnagel in Hamburg, Explore Festival in Bucharest, ImPulsTanz in Vienna, Springdance in Utrecht, and London Calling in Bologna. He has received support from the NEA, Jerome Foundation, and Rockefeller MAP Fund. He is twice the winner of a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award: in 2002 for dancing with John Jasperse Company and in 2006 as a choreographer for Retrospective Exhibitionist and Difficult Bodies. He is currently touring in Alain Buffard’s (Not) a Love Song. As a singer, he has performed with My Robot Friend, Antony and the Johnsons and Speller. He teaches regularly around the world and he invented DEEP AEROBICS. He performed the original freedom of information in 2001 and he is responsible for assembling the artists for foi 2008.
Katherine Ferrier is a dance artist/educator, poet and visual artist who has been improvising and making dances since the late ‘80s. She earned her BA in Dance and Women’s Studies from Middlebury College, and MFA in Dance and Performance from Sarah Lawrence College. A co-founder of The Architects, an improvisational quartet with a collaborative performance history spanning nearly 20 years, she is also the founder and Artistic Director of Immediate Theatre, an ensemble of movers, musicians, video and visual artists, lighting and set designers, collaborating together to create spontaneous dance theater works. Her choreography and improvised work have been performed throughout the US and abroad. After spending a year teaching and traveling throughout Russia and Finland, she moved to North Carolina in 2005, where she has been a guest artist at Meredith College, and created/directed the new dance program at Millbrook High School. Collaboration is a cornerstone of her work, and she thrives on the exciting alchemy of working with a variety of artists. Recent collaborators include: Pamela Vail, Christina Soriano, Jennifer Kayle, Lisa Gonzales, Courtney Greer, Sini Haapalinna (Finland), Cinzia Fiaschi (Italy) and Nina Gasteva/ Iguan Dance Theatre (Russia). katherineferrier.net and ellipsesfields.wordpress.com can tell you more about her work.