See Chicago Dance
By Lauren Warnecke
Through Feb. 8, “Project Tool” is an art and movement installation in the Garland Gallery on the main floor of the Chicago Cultural Center. The exhibit highlights the year-long process by which choreographer and Chicago Dancemakers Forum (CDF) Lab Artist Onye Ozuzu and a team of collaborators built hexagonal, semi-portable, sprung wood dance floors, and a dance to go upon and around them. Designed by artist Steve Silber with additional support from Bryan Saner, each half-hexagon (of which about 12 are fully built) is arranged like a honeycomb to create a small, danceable surface at the entry to the Garland Gallery.
This building process has been documented in an elegant photo wall (Petra Probstner) perpendicular to the dancing space, across from which is a wall of tools mounted over written sentiments from gallery visitors. The space is quite tight, with performance areas and audience gathering places restricted by a tesseract – a room within the room called “the sanctuary,” within which is a small performance platform set in front of video images by Jovan Landry, and outlines on one wall of each performer’s body (Ozuzu, Keisha Bennett, Keyierra Collins, Jessica Marasa, and Anna Martine Whitehead).
These outlines, labelled by name, are drawn around coat hooks donning white articles of clothing. While all of these elements are part of the two-week exhibit, “Project Tool” offered just two chances (Feb. 2 and 3) to witness how Ozuzu’s process of building this essential resource – a dancer’s floor – manifested in the body to create a live performance.