I was reminded today about an amazing performance artist I saw in Boston called The Crutchmaster. He’s a dancer who has to use crutches due to a rare form of arthritis, and can do some truly amazing things on these specialty crutches that he found. He says he’s a performance artist, but his pieces are very dance-like, a modern hip-hop dance ensemble that comments on the nature of disability and society’s attitude towards it. He has a website with some video — it gives an idea of what his performance is like, but doesn’t do justice to the live performance. If he comes to town, you should definitely see him.
He gave a talk at MIT while his show was going on at the Dance Umbrella — it’s amazing to me the opportunities for seeing interesting new art and hearing from artists that were facilitated by MIT. It’s those sneak peeks into the less-familiar territories of the arts that are often the most interesting. Berkeley has similar opportunities — I saw DJ Spooky give a talk on art, technology, and theory in his work just last year. But I wasn’t surprised at the opportunities at Berkeley, and I was at MIT.
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Agreed. Actually, MIT has these amazing programs in all these different disciplines, but no one (including even students) knows about it. I am reminded of the fact that MIT has this very prestigous avant-guard visual arts graduate program, but I’m sure almost no one was aware of… sad, kind of, but expected probably at all premiere institutions. After all, MIT is a university, and I think every single higher level educational institution has some kind of claim to fame that people might not be initially aware of.
Also, I wanted to add that (although I’ve not been on crutches all that long) once you have to deal with some physical infirmity, it’s like you have to develop entirely vocabulary of movement even for every day situations. It’s kind of weird.
Maybe, unfamiliar art “is Berkeley” :). I.e., all that oddness makes you numb :). Just kidding. But I agree with you, and will add that many times I think we miss events due to poor commmunication throughout campus…
I met Crutchmaster in LA two years ago at a huge dance convention… thousands of breakdancers and freestyle dancers (like Crutchmaster) were in attendance. He boggles my mind.