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New projects at Te Papa & the Performance Arcade in 2018

BodyCartography Project celebrates 20 years of making dances with new projects at Te Papa Tongarewa & the Performance Arcade in 2018

BodyCartography Project was founded in 1998 Olive Bieringa (NZ) & Otto Ramstad (USA) in Wellington and San Francisco. For the past 20 years they have created award winning performances, installations, films, workshops, talks, festivals and curatorial projects around the world.

The mission of BodyCartography Project is to engage with the vital materiality of our bodies to create live performance that facilitates a re-enchantment of embodiment, relationship, and presence.

In March 1998 they presented 23 projects around the Wellington waterfront. In March 2018 they will present a 13 hour performance installation felt room at the Performance Arcade, alongside a new performance commission for the permanent collection of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the museums first dance work. In March they will also present work at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as part of the Robert Rauschenberg Erasing the Rules exhibition. In the summer of 2018 they will present four projects at the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis.

More about felt room at the Performance Arcade

March 1-4th, 2018, free. Installation will run 13 hours a day with live performance happening between 1-4pm & 7-10pm daily.

felt room is an immersive performance installation designed to conjure imagination, speculation and perception, engaging viewers in a practice of vibrant potentiality. In the darkness of felt room viewers are offered an escape from a world of constant illumination. Unfolding somatic landscapes move into and out of the darkness, transforming our perceptual field. In felt room we can practice other ways of knowing. Like human animals moving into the night, the darkness can be a cloak of protection, as the dance slowly reveals itself to us. Through its visual absence the dance becomes heightened in our imagination. There are no handles in the dark and no ways to mark time. In its intimacy we are both hidden and vulnerable. Together we share fluid time, a space for napping, lucid dreaming, visioning, and collective imagining.

“From darkness to dimness to light – the “felt room” was a revelation.” Caroline Palmer.

“Stretching between amazement, fear, and tenderness Bieringa’s piece is a dream of life at its most instinctual.” artist and audience member Sean Smuda

“And then suddenly in a burst of clarity I could see! The room and everyone in it now completely visible. I could hear a heartbeat. Tears came to my eyes as I was awash in the feeling of being a human.” Bernie Jungle, audience

Te Papa commission

Olive Bieringa will develop a new work Untitled (working title) specifically for Te Papa’s Toi Art spaces. A one-on-one performative walking tour of the Level 5 galleries in which the audiences will be offered an escape from a world of constant illumination into a practice of vibrant potentiality amidst the rich context of the Te Papa collection. Guided by a local dance artist the audience's imagination is given space to transform through the simple act of walking and opening and closing their eyes.

The initial tour will operate for at least one year and will respond to the renewal exhibitions Kaleidoscope: Abstract Aotearoa and Turangawaewae: Art and New Zealand. Bieringa will work with dancers Kosta Bogieksi, Josie Archer and dancers from Footnote Dance Company.

“Very few performances make the present so vivid and felt as Olive Bieringa’s action movie. A simple proposal of being guided with your eyes closed became a profound experience of my body and senses, located and dislocated in a sensuous, outdoor municipal adventure.” Judith Howard, Culturebot.

These projects are made possible with support from Te Papa, Atamira Dance Company, Creative New Zealand, Wellington City Council. Footnote Dance Company, Carleton College, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, Minnesota, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, NYC, and Headlands Center for the Arts, CA, USA.

To learn more visit

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