Ryan McNamara’s “Battleground”: Behind the Scenes of the Artist’s Guggenheim Performance
An exclusive look at the artist’s three-night-only performance in the Guggenheim Museum’s Wright-designed Peter B. Lewis Theater, featuring cosplay costumes and epic dance battles.
Released on 5/5/2016
In some ways this is the weirdest piece
I've ever made and the most traditional.
But the idea for the piece actually came
a lot from the space.
One thing I felt right away is
that it has the feeling
of a 1960's sci-fi spaceship.
Another thing it reminded me of
was a European parliamentary room.
I also at the time was reading about
the Hadron particle collider,
and so you had this sci-fi aspect,
then you had this parliamentary room
where people get mad at each other and beat each other up.
And then you had the science of these particles
colliding into each other, so I started thinking
about the idea of a battle.
♫ I need somebody
♫ to love tonight
[Ryan] It's not something,
especially the dancers I work with,
are usually in anything that has a narrative.
So that is a traditional aspect of it,
there is a storytelling element.
And now I think that, that is something
that I'm interested in, is taking what's
traditionally accepted as performance and tweaking it.
♫ Swallowing diamonds, a cutting throat
♫ Your teeth when you grin reflecting beams on tombstones
♫ A jamboree of surprises...
Yeah, I'm definitely trying to use the space in ways
that it hasn't been used before.
So once I felt like I had utilized
every inch of this,
I started thinking even beyond the theatre.
Perhaps ideas of it then continues forever.
Just when you think the piece is over,
it's not over (laughs)