Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener are New York-based dance artists who build collaborative worlds using improvisational techniques, digital technologies, audio scores, and material construction.More
Rashaun Mitchell is a Guggenheim Fellow, Princess Grace Award winner, and Bessie Award–winning choreographer and dancer. He is a writer, educator, and multidisciplinary artist based in New York.Artist Bio
Silas Riener is a New York–based choreographer, dancer, educator, and writer. His work is a collision of games, formal dance training, improvisation, athletic sports, and building and construction.Artist Bio
Open Machine envisions how improvisatory, nonhierarchical practice might inform our experience of the digital realm. This new work draws from our embodied Desires Lines practice that combines movement, vocalization, and object manipulation into site-specific, community-oriented performance installations. A desire line in landscape architecture refers to an unofficial route or social trail—sometimes the shortest distance between two points, sometimes simply a good way to follow one’s curiosity. Desire lines represent an accumulated record of disobedience and transformation in public space, a model for a permissive dance-making process that invites us to reimagine the self and its environment. Open Machine takes our practice into virtual space as we work with projected footage, digitally documented scores, and coded language that will influence performers’ paths and expose the mechanics of creation. How might we reexamine social interaction, decision-making, and navigation as we build a world together in virtual and physical space? A bespoke digital and tactile interface for Open Machine functions as both a living treasury and an agent for the audience’s desire and choices. This treasury is a repository for improvisational ideas, where logics and syntaxes of coding and game theory are applied to live bodies and relational scenarios. Open Machine interrogates the tension of the virtual and the real, and ultimately asks how we navigate our increasingly mediated world by drawing attention to our decision-making pathways.
Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener
Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener are New York-based dance artists who create collaborative performance installations using improvisational techniques, digital technologies, audio scores, and material construction. They use movement to build speculative worlds which expose and reconcile the unfamiliar. Their physical practice synthesizes improvisation, formal dance training, athletic sports, building and construction. Their collaborative process involves the blurring of a professional and romantic relationship. Two very different sensibilities and experiences of race and culture synthesize and clash in ways that suggest comparative models for how to co-exist, assimilate, or reimagine society. Since 2010 they have created over 25 multidisciplinary dance works including site-responsive installations, concert dances, gallery performances and dances for film. They have been artists-in-residence at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Mt Tremper Arts, pieter, Jacob’s Pillow, New York City Center, The Watermill Center, MANCC, Headlands Center for the Arts, BOFFO, Center for Ballet and the Arts, Petronio Residency Center, and Baryshnikov Arts Center. Their work has been commissioned by BAM/Next Wave, The Barbican, REDCAT, EMPAC, The Walker Art Center, MCA Chicago, The Wexner, On The Boards, Danspace Project, Madison Square Park Conservancy, The Joyce Theater, The LAB, Marfa Sounding, Gagosian Premieres, SFMOMA, and MoMA PS1. Mitchell and Riener are currently Caroline Hearst Artists in Residence, and inaugural members of NCC Akron’s multi-year Creative Administration Residency.
Photo by Paula Lobo.
Rashaun Mitchell is a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow and recipient of the 2012 Bessie Award for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer. His choreography has been presented by New York Live Arts, Danspace Project, the Baryshnikov Arts Center, REDCAT, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Summer Stages Dance, La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival, Mount Tremper Arts, NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, the Museum of Arts and Design, the Lab, ODC Dance Commons, and at various site-specific venues. With his ongoing collaborator, Silas Riener, he was a 2014 City Center Choreography Fellow and was selected for Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s inaugural Extended Life Dance Development Residency and NCCAkron’s multi-year Creative Administration Research residency. Mitchell and Riener are 2022–23 Caroline Hearst Choreographers-in-Residence. Past residencies include Wellesley College, the Watermill Center, BOFFO, the Petronio Residency Center, and the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU. Their work together has been presented by BAM’s Next Wave Festival, the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, On the Boards, SFMOMA, and MoMA PS1. Mitchell has also received three Princess Grace Awards, a 2013 Foundation for Contemporary Art’s Grant to Artists, and the 2011 Bessie Award for sustained achievement in the works of Merce Cunningham (2004–12). Mitchell is a Merce Cunningham Trustee and licensed stager of the repertory. Since graduating with a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, Mitchell has worked with artists such as Anne Carson, Stephin Merritt, Carla Fernández, Chantal Yzermans, Donna Uchizono, Pam Tanowitz, Risa Jaroslow, Sara Rudner, Richard Colton, Deborah Hay, Rebecca Lazier, Jodi Melnick, Sara Mearns, Moriah Evans, the Bureau for the Future of Choreography, Charles Atlas, Xavier Cha, Davison Scandrett, Phillip Greenlief, and Claudia La Rocco. Mitchell teaches workshops throughout the United States. He has shared his practice and choreography with students at CalArts, Connecticut College, Princeton University, Sarah Lawrence College, and NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Photo by Gene Pittman for Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
Silas Riener is a New York–based choreographer, dancer, educator, and writer. His work is a collision of games, formal dance training, improvisation, athletic sports, and building and construction. His work has been curated at CATCH, the Invisible Dog Art Center, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s River to River Festival, Danspace Project, the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, the Serpentine Pavilion, the Chocolate Factory Theater, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center. He has an ongoing collaboration with sculptor Martha Friedman that has been shown in various forms at the Princeton University Art Museum, Jessica Silverman Gallery, Andrea Rosen Gallery, and the Henry Art Gallery. He danced in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and received a 2012 Bessie Award for his solo in Cunningham’s Split Sides. He also received a Cage Cunningham Fellowship from the Baryshnikov Arts Center. He has worked with Rebecca Lazier, Tere O’Connor, Wally Cardona, Jennifer Lacey, Joanna Kotze, Chantal Yzermans, Christopher Williams, Jonah Bokaer, Kota Yamazaki, Davison Scandrett, Jesse Stiles, Charles Atlas, Moriah Evans, Claudia La Rocco, Phillip Greenlief, and Jodi Melnick. He was the movement advisor for the Harrison Atelier. Along with his partner Rashaun Mitchell, he was a City Center Choreography Fellow and a member of LMCC’s Extended Life Dance Development Residency and NCCAkron’s Creative Administration Research residency. They are 2022–-23 Caroline Hearst Choreographers-in-Residence. Past residencies include Wellesley College, the Watermill Center, BOFFO, the Petronio Residency Center, and the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU. Their work has been presented by BAM’s Next Wave Festival, EMPAC, the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, On the Boards, SFMOMA, and MoMA PS1. Riener is a graduate of Princeton University and NYU Tisch School of the Arts. He has shared his practice and choreography at Princeton, the University of Illinois Champaign–Urbana, Harvard University, the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, the Colburn School’s Dance Academy, Florida State University, the New World School of the Arts, Connecticut College, and CalArts.
Photo by Gene Pittman for Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.