red, black, and green: a blues

performance photographs by Eric Allix Rogers

performance photographs by Eric Allix Rogers

location: Chicago, IL, San Francisco, CA

date: 2011

type: set design

role: designer, fabricator (w/ John Preus)

The design and fabrication of the set for Marc Bamuthi Joseph's performace red, black & GREEN: a blues took place throughout the spring and fall of 2011. The framework for the set, a grouping of four structures that would represent four different cities (Chicago, Houston, New York City, Oakland), and seasons (summer, fall, winter, spring), and performers/practices (Theaster Gates, Traci Tolmaire, Tommy Shepard, Bamuthi), grew out of a collaboration between Gates and Bamuthi.

The structures themselves then each became an individual room or part of a house that, when assembled, became a complete house. Each of these modular rooms are set on large casters, and can be rearranged in many configurations. In this way, the set becomes a sort of fifth character on stage as the performers push and pull them, dance and climb on them, inhabit and imbue them with life the way we do in our own homes.

The formal design and metal fabrication took place in Chicago, then traveled to San Francisco to take material shape as part of a residency at Z-Space in May of 2011. Later that fall, the entire team convened again for both the set and overall performance to be finalized ahead of its premier at the Yerba Buena Arts Center. It has since traveled to many stages across North America, including the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the MCA in Chicago, and the Kennedy Center in DC.

rbGb was produced by MAPP International