Re: economic barriers

Dawn Stoppiello (
Sat, 10 Jan 1998 01:10:34 -0500

>I am sorry if I hurt your feelings.
No biggie. I got over it.
I will answer questions quickly because we have a gig om mon & tue and I
have much to do...

>I am curious how you perceive the development of technology, it must be
>quite different from the pong/pac-man/doom analogy I posted.

Well. I think technology might neither save or destroy us or probably do a
bit of both. I get frustrated when people take an all or nothing veiw of
"technology". Can you say "development of technology" without including
coca cola, the curling iron, advances in medicine and $100 sneakers as well
as those video is a futile argument, it's too big. Technology
will do good & evil both. I try to use it in an artistically interesting
way. I'm trying anyway.

>Frankly, I'm suspicious of machinery... ever since the tragedy of the
>industrial revolution, and then the poison of the nuclear age. I just hope
>that computers and machines will help us overcome our destructiveness,
>instead of encouraging more extinction. Isn't it strange that such a
>spirit based medium such as dance would meet and mesh with science?

Why was the industrial revolution a tragedy? I don't know that the kind of
dance I do is "spirit based" although, I think I know what you mean. I
think that I use my physical-ness as a way to combat my surroundings. It is
feirce and aggressive...maybe a cry of some kind....I will have to think on

>Some questions about content
>a) What do you use dance and technology to _say_ to the people who have
> the ability to experience it? What are themes that are
> explicit/implicit in the art that you make?

Most of my work (which is a collaboration w/Mark Coniglio as Troika Ranch)
deals with the body (and I mean the physical, sweaty, dancing, dying body)
and it's relationship to technology and other "urban" enviornments. Usually
the characters are struggling and often they fail or carry on having been
changed by their experience. Im sure I could go on but I would want to be
more eloquent than I think I can be right now.

>b) Do you agree that your audience (and feedback loop) is considerably
> stunted by an economic status/class barrier?

Mostly yes. Well, I don't know if they are stunted because of their
class/status. They're just in it and so are somewhat defined by it.

>c) When you dance (with or without technology) do you feel an invisible
> communication happening with your audience?

Yes on a good day.

> Are they breathing with
> you, thinking with you, feeling with you? Do you want them to be?

I think I hope so.

> Do you want to inspire them to join you?

Not usually.

>Or are the audience members
> to remain seated and polite, intellectualizing, objectifying your
> passion?

My only wish is that they react honestly. I wish that if they hated my
dance that they would walk out or boo or yell at me. and if they like it
that they let me know. and if they are moved to tears that they cry,
etc...Ithink audiences are way to polite and uninvolved most of the time.
This is why in college I performed in and among them to try and get close
and in thier face to see if i could get a pulse. Also, audiences differ
from venue to venue.

>I've identified the _ability_ to assemble the components necessary for a
>dance & technology installation as distinct from the _desire_ to do so.

Yeah you're right. I fortunatly fell in with Mark who has been a computer
programmer since age 16. I recognize my priveledges and I am happy for

>Unlike painting, which is relatively affordable and accessable. I know an
>artist who paints with toothpaste on cherios boxes.

Yes and dancing which only requires my body. I tell you, I am getting tired
of hauling all the gear up and down my fourth floor walk up and setting it
all up, just me and mark in to short of time and having things not
work...and for what. Sometimes I don;t know why I bother with it at all.

>I'm critical of economic barriers especially when they concern the creation
>or experience of art.

Mark and I did four Raid performances at public sites last year to tackle
this very topic. In our own small way we wanted to bring some dance to
those who don't go see it and who maybe don't even know it exists. It was
great for us and maybe for a few passers by too.

>d) What kind of process would make dance and technology accessable to
> those who are economically disenfranchised?

I don't know yet. We ( Mark and I) have brought what we do into middle
schools wherever we are and maybe that has helped...I have to say that my
main interest in this point in my life is simply producing my work. And
right now that takes up most of my thoughts. I hope someone comes up with a

>e) Is the expression and interest in exploring dance and technology
> limited only by economic advantage to those who have the money/ability
> to pursue that interest?

Yes I think it is at this point but if we're lucky, like most specialties
(like TV and Phones) eventually it will be more accesible. I actually think
dance is less accesible than technology.

>The social structure composite that I observe daily:
>the street-people, bag-ladies, squeegie-people, park hermits, the socially
>programmed (welfare, uic etc), the minimum-wage slaves, the independent
>business entrepreneur, the corporate and management slugs, the bureaucratic
>"kept" & union bargains, the politico "inept", the multi-national

I also observe this social composite - I live in New York City!
Why do you point this out?
Good Night.

Dawn Stoppiello / Artistic Co-director / Troika Ranch /
321 Graham Avenue #4R Brooklyn, NY 11211 +1.718.218.6775