Partnership Project: McKnight Artist Fellow | April 1 - 10, 2022
Minneapolis-based performance collaboration SuperGroup (Erin Search-Wells, Sam Johnson, and Jeff Wells) came to MANCC for the first time to work on Fine, a project that mines their last project from 2019, Research COUNCIL, honors their mentor Mary Overlie, and tackles questions that continue to be at the center of their work. This residency was originally to take place in March of 2020 at MANCC but was impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic.
In their initial 2020 residency plans, SuperGroup planned to work with Mary Overlie, the originator of the Six Viewpoints, and renowned postmodern theater practitioner. Following her death in June of 2020, SuperGroup used this 2022 residency to honor Overlie’s legacy through a review of her work and ideas in reference to this project.
In addition, SuperGroup used this residency to engage their curiosity about developing movement practices that intentionally undermine or contradict logical narratives to elicit cognitive strain in an audience; a state where meaning-making gets confused, but also a state where it becomes possible to engage in an awareness of the act of spectating/participating itself. By disrupting these normal ways of interpreting dance, the three artists look for ways to enact a bodily resistance to sense, knowing, and linearity to allow both viewer and performer to sit longer in the unknown.
While at MANCC, SuperGroup met with Dr. Michael Kaschak, a cognitive research psychologist and faculty member of FSU’s Department of Psychology, where they explored the relationship between comprehension of language and movement. This relationship was specifically examined in reference to mismatched ideas communicated through multiple methods (such as speech and hand gesture) and the need for context to align understanding of an action with its intention.
In addition, SuperGroup hosted a work-in-process showing attended by FSU faculty, students, and community members, and hosted a Brown Bag Lunch with FSU students and faculty with fellow Minneapolis-based artist Laurie Van Wieren and her collaborators. During the Brown Bag, SuperGroup and Van Wieren spoke to the robust arts scene in Minneapolis, the support available to the arts community through the McKnight Foundation and other funding entities, and the trends in dance that they have noticed in response to the emergence of the COVID pandemic.
SuperGroup’s residency at MANCC was supported, in part, by a partnership with McKnight Choreographer Fellowships, funded by The McKnight Foundation and administered by The Cowles Center for Dance & The Performing Arts, and the Sustainable Arts Fund for parent-artists.