Mycelial: Street Parliament

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Erica Mott's project was funded on October 14, 2017
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In a Nutshell

For the past decade, I have used embodied performance, multimedia arts, and my experience as an international development researcher to ignite dialogues around pressing social and political questions in my local and global communities. But this past November left me haunted by questions about my life and my art. I could not stop asking: What do collectivity and resistance look like? Feel like? Sound like? Is revolution a momentary state or a deeply embodied and durational action? How can the artistic process act as cultural diplomacy and organized action? These have become the key questions driving my latest performance and installation work, Mycelial: Street Parliament. “Mycelial”—from the word “mycelium” —refers to the branching hyphae of a fungus, which form extensive communication networks that nourish entire forest root systems. This metaphor aptly reflects the ethos of this project—creating deeper dialogues to highlight interdependence and human resilience. I’ve chosen to work across two cultures that were intimately involved in recent collective uprisings: Egypt (Arab Spring) and the United States (Occupy Wall Street). Mycelial: Street Parliament is taking root through a series of one-to-one creative exchanges between American and Egyptian composers, computer programmers, dancers, data scientists, and new media artists. It’s brand new territory to lead such a large, diverse team of collaborators and requires more resources than I have ever needed before. I am seeking your financial help to complete our exciting exchange and performance, as well as your support through word of mouth to help me extend our community to new audiences across the city of Chicago (and beyond!). 


The Full Story...

I am tremendously excited to develop Mycelial: Street Parliament, especially during this point in my career and in this divisive political time. Using the artistic process as a mode of cultural diplomacy has lifted me out of focusing on crisis and into building and highlighting collective resilience. With gratitude and anticipation, I am nearing the moment where my team and I get to share this work forward, expanding both our dialogue and community of participants.

Mycelial: Street Parliament is an interactive installation performance that investigates civic participation and social uprisings in the digital age. This performance will premiere in January 2018 as part of the City of Chicago’s OnEdge Festival of New Performance and go on to be presented in March 2018 at Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival in Cairo, Egypt.

Drawing on the experiences of activists during the Occupy Wall Street Movement and Egyptian Revolution of 2011, my team has implemented new and emerging technologies to dissect the collision and collusion of bodies occupying both digital and physical spaces. By harvesting data from social media feeds of these two movements, I hope to bring new information to the conversation about the links between emotion, dialogue, and action. The ambulatory performance experience allows audiences to move through the installation, interact with their movements, and participate through instructions on their mobile phones to change the projections and sound environment.

The ethos of the project centers around creating deeper dialogues and building kinetic empathy to highlight interdependence and human resilience. Ultimately, Mycelial: Street Parliament strives to be an immersive platform where embodied experience can spark conversation around “otherness” and artistic practice as cultural diplomacy.

After residencies in Chicago and Cairo, next January 2018 will mark my third and final development residency culminating with the Chicago premiere. I am fundraising to support this final residency and series of performances utilizing video, dance, sound, new technologies, and a custom mobile phone application to choreograph performers, engage audiences, and promote dialogue across cultures. Starting with a few key questions, I have built a community. With your help, we’ll extend that community to include Chicago- and Cairo-based audiences.

What does an international team residency entail? I’m glad you asked:

$3600- Round trip tickets ($900 each) for four Egyptian collaborators to come to Chicago
$2000- Lawyer and processing fees to secure visas for the international collaboration
$1600- Accommodation in Chicago for our four guests
$2100- Meals for the duration of our four guests stay
$8000- Artist fees for our eight dancer team (4 Egyptians, 4 Americans)

Yes, that’s $17,300. Every drop in the bucket counts toward getting us there. Thank you for reading and considering being a part of the Mycelial Network.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $25 - A personalized THANK YOU on social media.
    ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50 - Your name listed on the "Mycelial" project page and programs.
    ($50.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100 - Marketing poster signed by the cast and technology team.
    ($90.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250 - A personalized “movement tweet” on social media—a short video recording of a movement response from one of my dancers that will be incorporated into the installation of "Mycelial."
    ($225.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500 - Exclusive invitation to attend a rehearsal and record your own movement tweet, which will be included in the installation and performances of "Mycelial."
    ($450.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $1000 - Private invitation to a Technology Play Day! Join us in the studio to experience our interactive mobile application, movement-reactive sound score, and movement tweet recordings and speak with our international collaborative teams.
    ($900.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $2000 - Invitation to our private VIP post-show reception following our Chicago premiere in January 2018.
    ($1800.00 is tax deductible.)
Erica Mott image
Erica Mott is a former researcher and international development worker turned actor, choreographer, and director. As a performance maker and cultural organizer, she utilizes body based forms (movement/song/realtime ...
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    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

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