Tender Engine is a collaboration between choreographer Alexa Mardon, choreographer/set designer Erika Mitsuhashi, programmer Brynn McNab, a recursive neural network named UXIE, and performers Elissa Hanson and Zahra Shahab. Tender Engine is a contemporary dance/installation piece, with highly integrated new media elements (algorithms, projection design). An RNN which has learned to speak from the language the performers have spoken to it underscores the work. Tender Engine plays the line between intimate storytelling and highly performative false expertise, examining our relationship to language, technology, and meaning making.
This work was developed with the support of VIVO Media Arts Centre, Boca Del Lupo, Kinetic Studios, Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, and Plastic Orchid Factory.
Mardon and Mitsuhashi Tender Engine Teaser
not the same name for not the same thing
not the same name for not the same thing: teaser
not the same name for not the same thing is the second in a series of performance practices created for and with collaborators Andrea Cownden and Bynh Ho. not the same name for not the same thing is a practice in virtuosity of consciousness, soft edges, and attending to the unknowable.
Created with support from The Dance Centre, Boombox Vancouver and Canada Council for the Arts
vplvplvpl was a short performance at the Vancouver Public Library for World Poetry Day 2019. Recently, the VPL provided space for an event hosted by a well known TERF/SWERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) despite the fact that gender identity and expression is basic human right. We used criticism of the library’s decision taken from twitter as the starting point for our performance.
The work was presented as a part of New Works’ Pop-Up Dances series.
Tour is a work in progress that encompasses Mardon + Mitsuhashi's questions around how performers host audiences. This work insists on inviting and disrupting the audience's attention, inviting new ways of seeing the performers', as well as our own bodies in relation to structures we inhabit. In this improvised structure, two performers act as tour guides, leading an audience through the space and making short stops on the way to share their "instantaneous expertise" on the history of objects, their surroundings as well as their own bodies and personal histories. How do the institutions we inhabit every day impose their realities and histories on us? How might we gesture towards other ways of inhabiting them?
TOUR was the recipient of the OFFTA 2019’s Hybridity Grant, an award granted “to an individual artist or group for the outstanding hybridity of their artistic practice.”
TOUR (excerpt) at OFFTA 2019
The Dance Centre, 2017
The Hopbopshop, 2016
full day event
4 dance artists/hosts
all proceeds from these events go to an organization which supports the cause the event is responding to.
Pocket Dial is a pop-up resource centre, a gathering against ongoing colonial violence, and a starting point for a more closely knit network of resistance. At Pocket Dial, a collective of dance artists (Alexa Mardon, Andrea Cownden, Zahra Shahab, Rianne Svelnis) welcome guests into the space and support them in making calls to politicians to demand systemic change. We provide books and articles to read and share as well as scripts and talking points to directly facilitate conversations with political representatives. We facilitate real-time information-sharing based on other guests’ experiences during their phone calls. We also collect donations for a charity relevant to the specific issue being addressed.
Pocket Dial attempts to be a timely and direct engagement with current injustices in our community.We are not experts in decolonization nor in dismantling settler colonial privilege. Our work at Pocket Dial includes researching and defining concrete actions, disseminating information, and sharing findings and resources with others who are looking for ways to support political and behavioural change, working towards more understanding, responsibility and accountability as settlers in “Canada”.
learning to be 2 places at once
Interplay, Vancouver 2018
A solo work in progress, a ritual for shedding.
performer: Alexa Mardon
materials support: Erika Mitsuhashi
project mentor: Lee Su-Feh
I come in here to feel it (and I do)
Performance Studies International, Hamburg 2017
A choreography across a colonial border, time, and geography, For Elsewhere is a Skype collaboration between Alexa Mardon and Raha Behnam.
Our Present Dance Histories
Dance In Vancouver 2017
weeklong spontaneous gesture scores in unknown locations
video and sound installation
hanging installation by Natalie Purschwitz
Our Present Dance Histories was a collaboration between Alexa Mardon, Justine A. Chambers and Peter Dickinson. A project which complicates the rift between fact and personal fiction, using recorded personal accounts by Canadian dance artists as a starting point for a community-wide choreographic score, an accumulating map installation, and the production of printed dance ephemera which leave its readers space for questions around historicity, the importance of the archive, and the personal agency of artists in the legacy of their works.
Valuation Score: Mardon + Mitsuhashi
Surrey Art Gallery, 2016
adaptable to gallery + civic spaces
concept: Erika Mitsuhashi and Alexa Mardon performed by: Felicia Lau and Alexa Mardon at Surrey Art Gallery's inFlux. In response to Mimetic Workshop: Studio Still Lifes of Fiona Ackerman and Kelly Lycan curated by Jordan Strom
In this two-part score, the dancers first use their bodies as tools for appraisal, doing instantaneous physical research in order to re-tell the history of art objects back to the audience. In part two, the dancers co-author a hierarchy of concepts and objects, attempting to attribute a movement equivalent to each thing according to its value under capitalism.
Video by Omar Rivero
PS: We are All Here, Toronto, 2016
Excerpts: VIVO Media Arts Centre, spring 2017
Created and Performed by Mardon + Mitshuashi
New Beginnings is a collaboration between Erika Mitsuhashi and Alexa Mardon. Part sales pitch, part bad TedTalk and part personal archive, the piece is inspired by string theory, the infinite possibilities of the self in the multiverse, the repetitive performance of female affective labour, and the traces left in our bodies by the women who came before us. Using psuedo-science and hospitality as foolproof methods for time travel, we invite the audience to join us in sifting through the wreckage of the future and preparing for the detritus of the past.