A sense of becoming, or metamorphosis, permeates the works of performance and media artist Dean Moss. An interdisciplinary choreographer, and video maker, his practice investigates the experience of assimilation. He seeks, meditating the fluidity of self and the perception of other, pathways for the release of tension caused by the histories and abuses of power. These works manifest through transcultural, mixed media performance collaborations often incorporating audience participation.
Past premieres include: johnbrown (2014), a work which used its presentation and pre-performance production to reflect not only on the controversial legacy of the white abolitionist but also the racial, gender and generational processes at play in the inquiry; Nameless forest (2011), a collaboration with Korean sculptor and installation artist Sungmyung Chun - referencing Chun’s imagery the performance investigated existential narratives while engaging the audience in experiential rites of passage; Kisaeng becomes you (2009), with Korean traditional and modern dance choreographer Yoon Jin Kim - where audience members were invited to embody the discipline and poetry of kisaeng - artist/courtesans of Korea’s Joseon Dynasty; and figures on a field (2005) with the visual artist Laylah Ali - featured embodied scenes based on her paintings, interrupted and dissected by a docent led audience tour of the performance. Moss’ most recent premiere is titled Petra (2018). An autobiographical meditation on desire, the work examines race, sex, and power through the lens of service and unrequited love.
Moss is the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Residency; a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography; the Doris Duke Impact Award in Theatre; a Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Artists Grant; plus fellowships in Choreography and Multidisciplinary Works from the New York Foundation for the Arts. His performance concoctions have been presented by the New York Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The Walker Art Center, and The Kitchen, among others. He was awarded a “Bessie” for his work Spooky action at a distance. In 2014 he conceived and developed, THE AWARD: a non-monetary mentoring initiative for experimental dance artists.
Moss was the Curator of Dance and Performance at The Kitchen from 1999-2004 and a Curatorial Advisor until 2009. He has lectured internationally including at Tokyo University of the Arts, Kookmin University in Seoul, and for three years at Harvard University in the department of Visual and Environmental Studies for which he received a Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. More recently he was Resident Faculty at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and has recently joined the dance faculty at Princeton University. He is currently deepening his collaborative practice though compositional and conceptual facilitation, and visual design, with various artists.
Choreographic Research, Continued