This upcoming fall season marks a major turning point for the Mitchell Center, the innovative arts initiative founded at the University of Houston in 2003 to provide ground-breaking collaborations across the visual, performing and literary arts.
"It's really the last season you'll see before we dedicate ourselves to a program of long-range residencies," UH Mitchell Center director Karen Farber tells CultureMap.
The next few months will showcase the Mitchell's usual mix of hard-to-define programming, with events that might be described as "live cinema" or "biological m usic."
"Starting in 2013, we'll focus entirely on developing projects that use the city of Houston and its citizens to tackle broader national issues . . .
"It's a bold new direction and I think you can see that transition with a lot of our programming this fall."
While the next few months will showcase the Mitchell's usual mix of hard-to-define programming — with events that might be described as "live cinema" or "biological music" — the upcoming season harkens to signs of a new mission, with several participants already lined up for future residencies.
Farber offered a quick run-down of fall events, all of which she guaranteed would "defy categorization." Visit the Mitchell Center website for further details.
Heart Chamber Orchestra: Sept. 21, Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex
Created by electronic musicians TERMINALBEACH, the Heart Chamber Orchestra is a fully immersive audiovisual experience generated by the heartbeats of musicians wired to electrocardiogram sensors. For September's performance at Barnevelder, 12 members from Houston's Two Star Symphony will be hooked to the EKG machines.
Dario Robleto: Oct. 25, Dudley Concert Hall, University of Houston
Titled "Boundary of Life Is Quietly Crossed," acclaimed Houston-based artist Dario Robleto will present objects and sounds he's collected for an ongoing project exploring connections between creativity and memory. Farber described the performance as a cross between an art talk and a storytelling session, during which the artist "uses materials from a cabinet of curiosities" to tell brief narratives about his current work.
City Council Meeting: Nov. 1 and 2, multiple locations to be announced
Organized by current Mitchell resident Aaron Landsman, City Council Meeting attempts to perform participatory democracy in front of a live audience. Houston area artists, activists and government officials will be asked to read quotes taken from various city council meetings across the country, creating a theatrical version of democracy that casts new light on all those involved. Just in time for the elections, of course.
Light Surgeons: Nov. 9 and 10, Asia Society Texas Center
The London-based Light Surgeons fuse pre-recorded film clips with a live electronic musical score to create a portrait of contemporary Malaysia. Called SuperEverything*, the performance juxtaposes tradition and modernity to examine the nation's complex patterns of identity and ritual.
Lynne McCabe: Nov. 13 and 14, Blaffer Art Museum
An artist-in-residence for both the Blaffer Art Museum and the Mitchell Center, Lynne McCabe will present two public conversations that employ social sculpture to explore a series of forgotten feminist texts and performance pieces from the 1970s.