PULSING is a site-specific LED light installation that uses Morse Code as a method of visually transmitting textual messages into a series of light signals. Through a website the community where the work is installed and beyond are invited to submit a civil rights chant, a lyric from a protest song or a verse from a poem of resistance or any other calls for action that they feel empowered by.  PULSING is a visualization of the process of collaborative creation of an archive of utterings of resistance.  

PULSING is a project initiated by artist and activist Mary Coble that has been developed in collaboration with nuclear engineer, energy activist and programmer Nick Touran.

PULSING has been installed in Aarhus, Denmark (2018) and Gothenburg, Sweden (2018) 

Live work as part of Acting in Numbers: Linking Photography, Performance and Activism Seminar, Jutland Art Academy, Aarhus, Denmark 

Duration: 40 minutes 

In collaboration with Sara Arenfeldt, Jakob Niedziela, Nicolai Nielsen and Timo Viialainen 

This performance was developed through a workshop process; together through physical exercises and critical thinking around current political urgencies we developed a language for choreographed and improvisational movements that allowed for partial control during the live performance but that could be expanded upon in situ for moments of chance and spontaneity. We used elements of sports teams ‘pump up’ circles and pre-game chants specifically focusing on the hypermasculine vocalizations and body positioning of ‘the team’. The circle assembly became a foundation that movements both pulled us away from and sucked us back into each other throughout the performance.  We paid attention to how our bodies interacted with and touched one another: oscillating between lone and group movements that reflected on care, aggression, isolation and power. There were moments of frenzied movements, short bursts of recorded sounds (team chants) and still moment where we created tableaus as our bodies piled on top of one another. 

Photo Credit: Barbara Katzin



 

Live work, commissioned by KODE – Art Museums of Bergen and presented as part of 'Voices' Performance Weekend; Byparken/KODE 1, Bergen Norway

Duration:  1.5 hours

This performance was concieved of by Mary Coble but this version was developed and performed in collabration with 8 other artists --Sónia Barreiro, Kelli Gedvil, Hildur Elísa Jónsdóttir, Margrethe Emilie Kühle, Milda Muktupāvela, Laure Plan, Amédine Sèdes, Siri Bertling Wiik--during a workshop Performance as Political Assembly, inspired by the game Red Rover's foundational but complex elements of assembly, election and strategy.

The children’s schoolyard game Red Rover, containing elements of both play and violence, forms the basis for the score of this live work. The game points to issues such as battle, barriers and social control as two opposing teams, standing arms linked, try to break through and consume the ‘enemy’ side.  'Pump up' chants used by international sports teams and a play on hypermasculinity are crucial elements in this work. 

Photo Credit: Dag Fosse/KODE

Live work, commissioned and presented as part of MONOMYTHS, FADO Performance Art Centre [conceived and curated by Jess Dobkin and Shannon Cochrane]. Performed at: In/future:  A Festival of Art & Music, Ontario Place Park, Toronto, Canada. 

Duration: 10 days, 2 hours each day

Special thanks to Shannon Cochrane, Jess Dobkin, the 70 volunteers who collaborated on this work and Henry Chan for his incredible photographs.

A body climbs a large structure in order to repurpose it as a beacon of protest. A series of Morse Code messages are transmitted to receiver collaborators on the ground who then relay the message on using their own light source. The transmitted messages are composed of statements and chants used in recent and current protests and fights for civil rights.  This collaborative gesture of solidarity merges activist and nautical language to amplify a collective call for action.

Photo Credit:  Henry Chan



 

Live work as part of //BUZZCUT//, Performance Festival, Glasgow, Scotland.

Duration: 2.5 hours

Special thanks to John-Scott Tattoo, Louise Wolthers and the //BUZZCUT// team.

A queer body’s re-imagining of the small gestures and positions of defiance experienced in and as protest.  The isolated dissenting actions leave simple marks that united form a (broken and incomplete) timeline of histories of deviance and disruption.  Inkless tattooing is used to create lines on a body. The body is distorted while being tattooed and afterwards as it struggles to transfer the thin line of blood that forms on the skin’s surface onto a sheet of paper laying on the floor.  It’s all a bit impossible, messy, a struggle, a failure to adequately position, mark and connect but an archive non the less that points to powerful actions of daring people.

Photo Credit:  LW

 

Live work as part of 13 Festivalen, Performance Art Festival, Gothenburg, Sweden 

Duration:  45 minutes, includes a sound piece

Disco balls are markers of party and action, but their sparkle can also be distracting and blinding. In a lonely piñata party the performer discovers that the glittering balls might hold killjoy substances and objects thrown in protests and demonstrations.    This performance is part of an ongoing investigation into tactics, props and gestures used in the history of queer activism and related political protests. These strategies include unpredictability, messiness and failure as ways of subverting mainstream expectations and desires.

Special thanks to:  Ellie Engelhem, Emma Skerfe, Ulla Hvejsel and Louise Wolthers; the festival organizers Jill Lindstrom and Anna Carlson and the many volunteers.

Photo Credit: Emma Skerfe

 

Live work as part of the the Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival, Chicago, Illinois.

Duration: 1 Hour

Includes a sound piece

“Performing Defiance” embodies the exhilaration and exhaustion of an extended protest allowing for unpredictability, messiness and failure as strategies in the fight for non-conformative values.  Using codes, traditions and tactics from queer history such as the pink triangle-the iconic and reclaimed symbol for homosexuality, the tactical frivolity of glitter bombing and the raised fist as an act of opposition Coble pushes a simple expression of dissatisfaction to it’s potential in a durational act of resistance.

Special thanks to all the staff and volunteers at the Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival.

Photo Credit: Tongyu Zhao/Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival

 

Live work as part of the MADE Festival, Umeå, Sweden 

Duration: 1 Hour

Includes a sound piece

“Performing Defiance” embodies the exhilaration and exhaustion of an extended protest allowing for unpredictability, messiness and failure as strategies in the fight for non-conformative values.  Using codes, traditions and tactics from queer history such as the pink triangle-the iconic and reclaimed symbol for homosexuality, the tactical frivolity of glitter bombing and the raised fist as an act of opposition Coble pushes a simple expression of dissatisfaction to it’s potential in a durational act of resistance.

Photo Credit: Louise Wolthers

Live performance, workshop and installation as part of "West Pride", Gothenburg's LGBT Festival, 2014

Duration: 4 days

"The raised fist indicates that a pride march is initially a social, activist movement that claims space for a community and creates visibility to the otherwise unnoticed....

As we march for human rights we need to remember everybody in social struggle – including the ones who do not have the privilege of being able to publicly raise their fist in protest." -Excerpt from introductory text by Louise Wolthers and Mary Coble

Live performance and installation at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC.
Duration: 4 Days

Special thanks to my collaborators:
Armando Lopez-Bircann, Bill Kellner, Chris Hinojosa, Jason Tucker, John Edmonds, John McGirk, Keli Anaya , Mary Kendell, Mitch Story, Sheldon Scott, Tim Christensen, Zack Child & to my support staff, organizers and photographers: J.J. McCracken, Jon Malis, Laura Roule, Louise Wolthers, Mikhail Bezruchko, Sarah Durkee

Live Performance and Installation at Overgaden Institute of Contemporary Art as part of the larger solo exhibition "Manuevering".

Duration: 1 hour

Special thanks to Nanna Schmelling for the fabrication of the signal code flags.
Photo Credits: Overgaden Institute of Contemporary Art, LW, MC

Live Performance and Installation at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, NYC, New York as part of the traveling and second exhibition installment of "Surface Tension: The Future of Water".

Duration: 3 Hours

Photo Credits: LW, MC

Live Performance as part of "Commitment Issues'', Curated by Jess Dobkin, Presented by FADO Performance Art Centre, Toronto, Canada

Duration: 3 Hours 

Fighting Cocks is the investigation and reenactment of the dynamics of violence, play and masculinity in a site that typically offers no space for other than a normative expression of gender and an over accentuation of behaviors that are a result of that. Two bodies, both performing queer masculinities, meet in a locker room and play out the ritual of snapping wet towels. When a towel is snapped there is pain inflicted and a mark left on another’s flesh whom, on their behalf, has to prove that they can take it. It is a double play of dominance and endurance. Continuing this beyond a realistic degree this conventional confirmation of masculinity and means of bullying is gradually deconstructed and new meanings are constructed based on the queering of the locker room as a symbolic site. The performance is a humanizing mimicry of a cockfight where the birds are conditioned for strength, stamina and trauma.

Special thanks to D. Eli Campanaro, my collaborator in this performance. Photo Credit: Henry Chan

Live Performance and Installation at Science Gallery as part of the exhibition "Surface Tension: The Future of Water", Dublin, Ireland

Duration: 3 Hours

Special thanks to Mike Kelly for the modification and fabrication of the purifying water fountain.
Photo Credits: LW, MC

Live Performance and Installation at Conner Contemporary Art, Washington, DC

Duration: 5 Hours

Special thanks to Howard Connelly Design for the co-design and fabrication of the purifying water fountain
Photo Credits: Kat Sifers, Chris Gregory

Live Performance at Saint Cecilia's Convent, Brooklyn, New York

A collaboration with Cooper Holoweski

Duration: 3 minutes

Live Performance and Installation at PULSE, Pier 40, New York City, New York

Special thanks to Duke Riley, tattooist

Duration: 16 Hours

Photo Credit: Kenny George, MC

Live Performance and Installation at Conner Contemporary Art, Washington, DC

Duration: 30 minutes


Live performance at Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, NYC, New York.

Photo Credit: Kenny George

Live Performances in Brooklyn, NY, Washington, DC and Madrid, Spain

Duration: 3 Hours


Live Performance at Artists Space, New York, New York
As part of Performa05

Duration: 1.5 hours

In the collection of the Elizabeth A. Sacker Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum (Video & Photograph)

Live Performance and Installation at Conner Contemporary Art in Washington, DC

Duration: 12 hours

Special thank to Lea Smith, tattooist
Photo Credits: Brian Twilley, MC

In the collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC (Blood Contact Prints & Photographs)
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