Positioned in the lineage of Expanded Cinema, The Screen Above is a new multi-media performance featuring original choreography, music and live video created and led by Josiah Cuneo. Employing narration as a theatrical device and trope, The Screen Above subverts conventions of spectatorship and performance as a means of exploring ideas of authority, conformity, rebellion, and improvisation. Here, each scene proposes centuries of obedience in relationship to an ancient screen that hovers above the stage and transmits views of the performance that would otherwise remain obscured or out of reach, transposing its omnipotence to the audience. Woven between simultaneous spatial, temporal and perspectival shifts of performances on stage and on screen, a narrator and four dancers reveal underlying themes through a complex system of verbal and non-verbal cues in tandem with original musical scores interpreted by Jessica Pavone on viola, Meagan Burke on cello, Nick Dunston on double bass.
Engaging the audience in a spatiotemporal dynamic that exposes fissures between image and reality, The Screen Above pushes the boundaries of representation through the interaction of filmed sequences, flat projected images, and performers. Citing inspiration from multidisciplinary artists Laurie Anderson, Charles Atlas, Miranda July and William Kentridge, Cuneo’s use of image sequencing through an amalgamation of theatre, video, dance and live music performance is equally informed by the work of composers such as Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Meredith Monk, and Giacinto Scelsi.
Laurie Déziel, actor
Louisa Ward, actor
Jessica Pavone, viola
Nick Dunston, bass
Meaghan Burke, cello
Josiah Cuneo, percussion
Anna Gichan, dance
Anya Kress, dance
Xiang Xu, dance
Josiah Cuneo is a Brooklyn based writer, director, and composer. In recognition for his films In Through the Night (2015) and LILT (2017) Cuneo has earned awards for Best Director from the NYC Indie Film Awards (2017) and Best Original Score from the Maverick Movie Awards (2017); Feel The Reel International Film Festival (2017); and Mindfield Film Festival Los Angeles (2017). He was awarded Best Experimental Film from Festigious International Film Festival (2017); Top Shorts Film Festival (2017); Top Indie Film Awards (2017); Oniros Film Awards (2017); NYC Indie Film Festival (2017); Largo Film Festival (2017); Los Angeles Shorts Awards (2017); Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival (2017); and The European Independent Film Awards (2017). Cuneo was the recipient of the Dance Film Association’s Production Grant (2015) as well as the Jerome Foundation Grant and Artist Residency at Roulette, New York (2017). This is his third multimedia performance at Roulette following Scenes (2014) and The Paper Dance (2017). Cuneo graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and his work has been exhibited or performed at venues including ISSUE Project Room, Brooklyn, New York (2008); Gallery Satori, New York (2008); Hampden Gallery Incubator Project Space, University of Massachusetts Amherst (2008); Exit Art, New York (2015); DCTV, New York, (2015); Otion Front Studio, New York (2015); The Picture Show, New York (2015); Anthology Film Archives, New York (2015, 2017); and Roulette Intermedium, Brooklyn, New York (2014, 2017).
Meaghan Burke is a cellist, vocalist, and composer working in the space between contemporary music, improvised music, and songwriting. She is a founding member of the contemporary feminist string quartet The Rhythm Method, the avant-grunge band Forever House, and the Viennese songwriter collective Loose Lips Sink Ships, as well as an active member of NYC’s contemporary and improvised music scenes.
Laurie Déziel was born in Shawinigan, Canada. She trained at L’École de danse contemporaine de Montréal, The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and was a scholarship graduate of The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance where she worked alongside Graham II. She performed in Heretic at The Martha Graham Company’s 90th Anniversary Season at the New York City Center. Laurie was a choreographer and soloist for the Balasole Dance Company’s season MIXTUS presented at the Ailey CitiGroup Theatre. She is excited to embark on her 3rd season with Smashworks Dance as a proud performing artist and human rights advocate.
Nick Dunston is a Brooklyn-based composer, bandleader, and bassist. His work for these roles generally incorporates improvisation and experimentation, and in many cases, can be found in cross-disciplinary collaborations.
Anna Gichan is a deaf New York City-based movement artist with a B.F.A in Dance from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts. She completed a year studying abroad at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance in Israel. She is a certified Yoga instructor and enjoys creating visual poetry.
Anya Kress recently graduated from the University of Iowa with a BFA in dance. While at Iowa, she performed work by choreographers Monica Bill Barnes, Eloy Barragan, Jennifer Kayle, and Autumn Eckman, among others. She has also choreographed her own work in a variety of forms, including concert dance pieces, site-specific work, screendances, and full-length musicals.
Jessica Pavone (composer, viola, violin, el.bass) has performed in countless improvisation, avant jazz, experimental, folk, soul, and chamber ensembles since moving to NYC in 2000. As a composer, The Wire magazine praised her “ability to transform a naked tonal gesture into something special,” and The New York Times described her music as “distinct and beguiling…its core is steely, and its execution clear.” Her music has premiered in venues in New York City such as, Roulette, Issue Project Room, and The Kitchen, and at the Klangbad Festival in Sheer, Germany. In 2011 she was featured in NPR’s “The Mix: 100 Composers Under 40.” She has received grants and commissions from the Aaron Copland Recording Fund, the American Music Center, New Music USA for her collaboration with choreographer, Anna Sperber, The Kitchen, MATA, The Jerome Foundation, The Tri-Centric Foundation, Experiments in Opera, and the chamber music collective, Till By Turning.
Louisa Ward is a Hong Kong-born actor who has performed internationally in Hong Kong, London and Edinburgh. Now based in New York, she continues to work on both screen and stage as well as collaborating with other NY artists to develop her own projects.
Xiang Xu is an international choreographer, dancer, and instructor based in New York City. He holds an M.F.A. in Dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and has served as adjunct faculty and guest artist at Syracuse University and Santa Monica College.