Jack Ferver by Joshua Lubin-Levy

New York Live Arts presents

Marjani Forte
Nov 15-19


Joshua Lubin-Levy <——@gmail.com>


Interview for BOMB?
11 messages


Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 10:31 AM

Joshua Lubin-Levy <——@gmail.com>
To: Jack Ferver <——@gmail.com>

Dear Jack,
I just received an email from David Everitt Howe at BOMB magazine online asking me if I would like to do an interview with you. Is this something you’d be interested in? I know you have a piece coming up at the New Museum, perhaps we could time it so the interview came out in advance of that. If you’re up for it, maybe you could start by telling me a little bit about this new work?
Best,
Josh
[Quoted text hidden]


Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 6:03 PM

Jack Ferver <——@gmail.com>
To: Joshua Lubin-Levy <——@gmail.com>

Dear Jack,
Oh great. I love interviews. And I love you. The work at the New Museum, Chambre, examines themes of greed, celebrity, class disparity, capital “O” Otherness, and the violence that comes from these issues internally and externally. My starting point was from Jean Genet’s The Maids, and while the work references that (as well as my love for Genet and all things French really) it is more focused on contemporary capitalist fantasy and the Papin sisters, who Genet based his play off of. It’s also a collaboration with the visual artist Marc Swanson, who has made an incredible installation that furthers the narrative and can stand alone. The installation will be open to the public during museum hours when we aren’t in performance. I’m excited for this seam between Theater and Visual Art to be exhibited. Theatrical set versus installation. Dance and Visual Art have a more comfortable relationship. Not so with Theater, so I’m glad we are working there.
A lot of the usual team is involved. Jacob Slominski and Michelle Mola perform in the work with me. Roarke Menzies brings the music and Reid Bartelme has made the fashion costumes.
[Quoted text hidden]


Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 7:24 PM

Joshua Lubin-Levy <——@gmail.com>
To: Jack Ferver <——@gmail.com>

Hey Jack,
That sounds fantastic. I know the work premiered at Bard College last year to raves, so it’s very exciting it’s now getting its New York City debut. Has the work changed at all since Bard? And I’m curious, what do you mean by “capital ‘O’ Otherness”?
Love
Josh
[Quoted text hidden]


Sun, Aug 23, 2015 at 10:57 AM

Jack Ferver <——@gmail.com>
To: Joshua Lubin-Levy <——@gmail.com>

Dear Jack,
There are changes. The gift of live performance. We did it at American Dance Institute after Bard and discovered more, and the New Museum theater is a very different space. I won’t have some of the theatrical tricks I could deploy in a theater, like flying a cyclorama in and out, but the New Museum is also a more intimate space, and I’m looking forward to that claustrophobia with the work. It’s closer to when we had our final residency at the ICA in Portland (ME), and a formal element to the work is how is can function in a theater or a visual art context.
Otherness is always such a big part of my work. Formally, I don’t fit any specific niche in performance. Some works, like this one, are theater that use dance. Some are more dance heavy, or maybe only dance if I’m making ballet. Some are more performance art. And then there is the content. In this piece, the roles I’ve created for Jacob and I are so other, they are other even to themselves. We never quite land on who we are.
The Fantasies we invoke from our trauma keep the ground falling away. We are Christine and Léa Papin. Maids playing at being the rich who are incestuous, murdering sisters, but we are in 2015 and we are obviously men. The costumes Reid has made never conceal our gender.
[Quoted text hidden]


Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 7:10 AM

Joshua Lubin-Levy <——@gmail.com>
To: Jack Ferver <——@gmail.com>

There’s an interesting parallel, it seems, between the kind of constraints of the space you’re talking about (although constraint is probably the wrong word, since each space has limits and possibilities) and the kind of constraint of different performance niches, even roles and costumes. Mis-fitting seems to be a big theme, both in the way you point out the misfits to any familiar category and also enforce misfitting on your performers, yourself and the work. Is this a parallel you would agree with? What do you think this kind of striving for a mismatch or misfit offers the work? I’m laughing as I’m writing this because part of me just wants to delete this paragraph and respond ARE YOU A MASOCHIST?
[Quoted text hidden]


Wed, Sep 2, 2015 at 10:49 AM

Jack Ferver <——@gmail.com>
To: Joshua Lubin-Levy <——@gmail.com>

I’m only a masochist inasmuch as I’m also my own sadist. I don’t like being hurt by others or systems. I do make choreography that hurts me physically and my performances are taxing psychologically for me, and the performers, and anyone who works with me. Is that why you didn’t work with me on this one? You came to that first rehearsal at Baryshnikov and then peaced out. I know you’re busy. But I’m busy too. I just started back teaching at Bard and NYU and I’m setting this choreography for Parker Posey for the next Christopher Guest film and doing a curation for MAD and another one for YOU and making the piece for next year at The Kitchen with Reid and starting this other work with David. I’m writing this from a car, I don’t even know where I am and should be looking at the road, but look: yes to misfits, yes to others, however, I don’t think about mismatching or misfitting. I think more about mirroring how I see the world: complicated.
[Quoted text hidden]


Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 11:16 AM

Joshua Lubin-Levy <——@gmail.com>
To: Jack Ferver <——@gmail.com>

Hm. There’s so many things I could respond to, it’s hard to know where to begin. These emails don’t sound like you. The way you’re writing to me, your sentences are short and punctured. Have you noticed that? I’m trying to picture the you that is writing to me. I think that’s why I asked you about masochism, and now sadism, and Genet (obvi) and maybe the language between us that you make. Maybe the language between you and us, the audience, too. It cuts both ways. It can do a can of violence both to you and to us. That’s always interested me in your work. Like in the Lady Gaga speech where you talk about her assistant, it’s repulsive how egomaniacal Gaga is but also so tantalizing. I want to hate her and be her. (Oh Jesus, did I really just say I want to be Lady Gaga? But you know what I mean right?). I guess I feel kind of lost too.
[Quoted text hidden]

Jack Fervor Bomb 1
Jack Fervor Bomb 2
Jack Fervor Bomb 3

Sun, Sep 13, 2015 at 1:43 PM

Joshua Lubin-Levy <——@gmail.com>
To: Jack Ferver <——@gmail.com>

So anyway - getting back to the email exchange. We were talking at the event last night about curating students. For the reader: last night at an evening of performance I curated for Center for Performance Research (CPR), I invited Jack to open the evening by curating some of his students from the composition classes he’s been teaching at NYU and Bard College. You now have a full time post at Bard College, right? And part of our thinking was that your work is really invested in a kind of pedagogical relationship, or at least in a relational one. You once said to me that you make work so people feel less alone. Can we talk more about how last night went for you, how was it to invite your students to perform for a public audience?
[Quoted text hidden]


Sun, Sep 13, 2015 at 8:29 PM

Jack Ferver <——@gmail.com>
To: Joshua Lubin-Levy <——@gmail.com>

Thank you again for inviting me to do that last night. It was really beautiful for me. It felt like getting fresh air, a huge relief from all the administrative work I’ve been in. Teaching is always a great back to square 1 for me. What are we doing here? Why are we doing this? My main questions I throw at my students, once they are showing material, are “what are you saying?” and “why are you saying it?” Their work last night…I mean Trevor is 19 and Savannah is 21. I can’t tell you how exciting it feels to watch students take the techniques I give them and make their own material that blows me away. And, last night, to see those pieces outside of our safe classroom, and for them to hold their own, own it, and deliver that material as pros. Tears.
I’m at Bard as part time faculty and NYU as adjunct. It takes up half my week and I’m grateful teaching is half of my life. I love it as much as I love making my work, and they feed each other.
And yes, I make my work so that people don’t feel so alone. I teach to be what I didn’t have. I come from classics and psychology and feel rooted in my performances and classes as places for catharsis. I also think the material is all in there. My methodology in both performance and teaching is about exposing what is already there.
I’m on a train heading to Bard right now and there is this man coughing terribly and of course not covering his mouth. So gross. I wish he could really see himself. That’s what I always wish, for people to really see what they do. I’m like Ophelia: “SEE WHAT I SEE!” I have to play that part. I always thought I was meant to play her, but then some director told me I was Cleopatra.
[Quoted text hidden]


Mon, Sep 14, 2015 at 7:13 PM

Joshua Lubin-Levy <——@gmail.com>
To: Jack Ferver <——@gmail.com>

Well aside from the potentially infectious disease, I’m intrigued by this idea of wanting people to see themselves. It seems to imply that most people can’t (see themselves, that is). Does that connect in some way for how you teach performance? Is seeing oneself ever that kind of fresh air?
[Quoted text hidden]


Tue, Sep 15, 2015 at 10:11 PM

Jack Ferver <——@gmail.com>
To: Joshua Lubin-Levy <——@gmail.com>

I’m going to feel so Pema Chodron, but I find it to be true. If we could all really see what we do and how we impact each other and our world, there would be a de-escalation in suffering. Bullies are bullies because they can’t see what bullies they are. They think it is owed them, or they have the right to hurt people. Or they simply want to feel that sense of power, however false it is.
I don’t necessarily know if seeing oneself feels like fresh air. Sometimes it is really painful. Having a sense of humor helps. I certainly teach with a strong lens on seeing clearly…of the self…others…the world…art.
[Quoted text hidden]

 

Copresented with the French Institute Alliance Française as part of the Crossing the Line Festival 2015 and the New Museum R&D Season:PERSONA.

Joshua Lubin-Levy is a Brooklyn-based writer, scholar and dramaturg who works at the intersections of contemporary choreography and queer materialism. His public programs include “Fred Herko: A Crash Course,” Performance Studies NYU (2014); “Ephemera As Evidence,” commissioned by Visual AIDS, La MaMa Galleria (2014); “Living Labor: Marxism & Performance Studies,” Performance Studies NYU (2014). As a dramaturg, he has worked with a range of artists including Dean Moss, Julie Tolentino, Richard Move, Vaginal Davis and Jack Ferver. He is a doctoral candidate in the department of Performance Studies (NYU) where he is completing his dissertation on queer artist and performer Jack Smith.

Jonah Bokaer by Madison Mainwaring
Jonah Bokaer 1
Related
Performance in Process: Jen Rosenblit by Lauren Bakst
Rosenblit

Lauren Bakst visits Jen Rosenblit’s rehearsal to spend some time watching and discussing her latest project, In Mouth.

Miguel Gutierrez: Powerful Person by Lindsay Howard
Miguel Gutierrez 01

Miguel Gutierrez, an active member of the New York dance scene since 2001, creates solo and group performances under the moniker Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People.

Missing Contexts: The Pioneering Work of Halprin, Forti, and Rainer by Karla Kelsey
Em The Branch Em

Tracing the lineage of feminism and social justice in postmodern dance.