Headlands Center for the Arts

Christopher White

california | performance/dance
Artist in Residence Program 2016

Artist Statement

I am primarily motivated to create my art by the urge to engender sensitivity, deep observation, and empathy in myself and, by extension, my audience. I believe that the social utility of live performance derives from its ability to awaken an awareness of the present moment, which is being shared both with the performers onstage and with one’s fellow audience members. This feeling of now-ness has the power to combat tendencies with which modern life blankets us: alienation, deadening to sensation, a hyper-focus on what is about to happen rather than what is happening now.

Also foundational to my art is the celebration of a multiplicity of viewpoints. Through collaboration with other artists, I must confront my own assumptions and beliefs, constantly challenging and interrogating them. I find that we emerge with outcomes that nobody expected, open to multiple, conflicting interpretations: invitations to discussion, dialog, and new thought.

While At Headlands

I’m continuing to develop the framework for a new approach to dramaturgy for non-narrative performance work. This approach is inspired by the architectural principle of the parti, a visuospatial representation of the essence of a design concept. Additionally, I plan to use the residency to research and develop material for Mugwumpin’s upcoming new work, I Can’t Stop. This piece is part of a multi-year investigation and embodiment of the contemporary compulsion towards exhaustion. From the personal to the global, humanity displays an impulse to use up available resources: we demand that workers labor to fatigue, we spend more money than we actually have, we use natural resources as though they were limitless. I Can’t Stop weaves a fever-dream tale of long-haul truckers in the near future staring down exhaustion while depleting the resources that enable their marathon drives.

Selected Work

Luster, 2014.

The Great Big Also, 2013.

Future Motive Power, 2012.

Personal Website

http://www.mugwumpin.org