e-mail: email me: esthermneff [at] gmail.com or panoplylab [at] gmail.com
My work is deeply influenced by my background in dialectical theater and permaculture, using forms of dialogue, collective speculation, and social gathering to materialize the mentalities, ways of seeing (theories) and (e)motions of persons present. Operating as a “performance artist,” “librettist/director,” “theorist/thespian” and “organizer” across disciplines and fields, I make operas of operations, institutions (insitution is a verb) thinktanks, meetings, workshops, conferences, exhibitions, actions, demonstrations, situations, installation, and sculpture. Hand-drawn diagrams, surveys, booklets, poetry/theoretical texts, and performative interviews are often involved.
I am not a specialized, efficient, or productive function of social reproduction or a representation/representative of capital(ist) value(s). I am a relatively medium-sized animal which has not been properly domesticated. Sure, I know how to use Microsoft Excel and make a blueberry pie. Materializing meaningfulness, however, is a social operation, requiring some distributed marking (e)motions that actualize ideals, (dis)orders, and the hybrid dramatics of experience (significant forces of feeling…)
BIO TYPE INFO/ART CONTEXTS
Esther Neff is the founder of Panoply Performance Laboratory (PPL), a thinktank and collaborative entity generating performances-as-art, situations, operas of operations, performance of and as theory, social research projects, and discursive social situations such as conferences, thinktanks, symposia, meetings, festivals, exhibitions, workshops, and shows. PPL operates as work by Neff and collaborators and was a public lab site in Brooklyn, NY, 2012-2018.
Neff is also the organizer of PERFORMANCY FORUM, the instigator of Brooklyn International Performance Art Foundation and has worked as a member of Feminist Art Group (FAG), Social Health Performance Club, and No Wave Performance Task Force (among other extant and extinct collectives). Frequent collaborators include composer/digital artist Brian McCorkle (since 2004 as co-director of PPL), Kaia Gilje, Leili Huzaibah, Maria Hupfield, Anja Ibsch, IV Castellanos, and many others.
Past and ongoing performance art work, operas, theoretical practices, and organizational projects have interfaced with and been supported by various institutions and organizations such as Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC Swing Space), Brooklyn Arts Council, New York Foundation for the Arts (fiscal sponsorship), LaGuardia Performing Arts Center (LPAC LAB residency), University Settlement (residency), chashama (residency at 42nd Street, various spaces and situations), Chance House residency at John Cage Memorial Park, Culture Push (Honorary Fellowship for Utopian Practices with Yelena Gluzman), Foundation for Contemporary Arts (Emergency Grant) etc. Neff’s “performance art” (solo and in collaboration with Brian McCorkle, Kaia Gilje and many others, including groups like 60+ “users” of an online survey) has been involved in festivals such as WAKE (Folkestone, UK), Rapid Pulse (Chicago), INVERSE (Fayetteville, AK), Tempting Failure (London, UK), Art in Odd Places (NYC), Pittsburgh Performance Art Festival, Month of Performance Art Berlin (2013 and 2015), ITINERANT (NYC), and Hitparaden (Copenhagen, DK). Neff/PPL’s work has also been performed at/realized through/materialized in the context(s) of: Dixon Place, Abrons Arts Center, ISSUE Project Room, The New Museum, JACK, ABC No Rio, Flux Factory, Glasshouse, Danspace, Moynihan Station, Judson Church, Gathering of the Tribes, Bronx Museum, Grace Exhibition Space, IV Soldiers, English Kills, The Kitchen (to name a few in NYC), as well as [performance s p a c e] in London, Gruentaler9, HOCHHAUS, BLO Atelier, Theater ACUD, KuLe Theater and elsewhere in Berlin, Galerie KUB in Leipzig, Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art (Lansing, MI), Vox Populi (Philadelphia), No Nation (Chicago), Public Space 1 (Omaha), Spread Art (Detroit), University of Kentucky, Ohio State University, on Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor, and across and through many “non art” sites (the street, libraries, banks, a baseball diamond, a bowling alley, gas stations, etc).
“Solo shows” and larger-scale socially-devised opera “productions” (“operas of operations”/”social opera-tion”) such as Embarrassed of the Whole (2015-2017), Any Size Mirror is a Dictator (2013-2015 with Lindsey Drury), NATURE FETISH (2012), The Transformational Grammar of the Institutional Glorybowl Trilogy (2008, 2010, 2011-2014), You’re A Big Boy Now OR Rauschenberg Ist Toedlich (2013-2014), The Silviculture Museum (2009) On the Cranial Nerves of Barbarians (2008) tend to be process-based and unfold over the course of several years. These operas-of-operations and social opera-tions have been performed at Grace Exhibition Space, Momenta Art, the cell, the Brick Theater (etc etc) as well as through processes, workshops, and other operations on tour/on the road (see Relational Marches Marooning and (MI)Rage ) and in different contexts and situations like the MAD Performance Philosophy conference, the Curating Performance Art as Artistic Practice conference in Berlin, during an exchange with Petricor through the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, as a Visiting Artist workshop at MassArt, as part of the School of Making Thinking’s Words and […] conference, as part of youth programming at the public library in Three Rivers, Michigan, via operation as a band (PPL with Geraldo Mercado, PPL with Valerie Kuehne) and as experimental philosophy research.