ELEVATOR (work-in-progress) is an immersive multimedia performance exploring a deconstructive critique of the Elevator Pitch, a capitalist ritual where a concise business proposal is delivered within a two-minute elevator ride to a captive listener. Tonight, a tech start-up company is pitching a product proposal for a “human upgrade” to a panel of venture capitalists. As the pitch unfolds, a surreal hall of mirrors emerges, escalating into a visual and sonic choral cacophony unveiling the gendered, racialized lens of the white cis male dominating the tech world, whose performative optics claim "client-facing" diversity and inclusion. ELEVATOR reveals how “the pitch” promotes the morphing of personhood and product, pushing the viewer to question the ethics of creation.
Created by interdisciplinary collective ThoughtThought, ELEVATOR draws from our experiences as artists and entrepreneurs who are continually asked to engage with the ritual of pitching. ELEVATOR examines the start of the entrepreneurial journey to expose the root of a white supremacist capitalist system disrupting not only our businesses but our lives and communities. The performance exposes tech start-up culture for its underlying inequities and embodiment of capitalist extremes - idealism, competition, and ego. In our COVID reality, our dependence upon technology has accelerated exponentially, elevating the privilege and inequity of the tech industry, leaving us unaware of how deeply this culture influences and surveils our lives without our knowledge or permission.
Playwright/Director: Mia Rovegno
Conceptual Artist: Tahir Carl Karmali
Pitchwriting Dramaturg: Elizabeth Thys
Editor: Tyler Jensen
Sound Designer: Roman Chimienti
Cast: Starr Busby, Daniel K. Isaac, Ben Beckley-Chayes
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Tahir Carl Karmali, Mia Rovegno, and Elizabeth Thys collaborate as ThoughtThought, a collective merging our contemporary art and social practices in performance, visual art and creative entrepreneurship. We ask questions that critically consider the crumbling paradigm. We are curious and serious about creative disruptions. ELEVATOR is our first collaboration.
Mia Rovegno is a Brooklyn-based playwright/director of experimental, investigative and immersive performance works. She has directed new work for Playwrights Horizons, The New Group, Soho Rep, St. Anne’s Warehouse, WP Theater, NYTW, INTAR, Ars Nova, Clubbed Thumb, NYSAF, Labyrinth, Bushwick Starr, JACK, EST, Partial Comfort, The Amoralists, and Prelude Festival. Rovegno has received two Drama League Directing Fellowships (Theater & Film/TV), the MacDowell Colony Fellowship, a NYSCA Grant, a New Georges Audrey Residency, a P73 Yale Residency, the Berkeley Rep Ground Floor, and MTC’s Alper Fellowship.
Tahir Carl Karmali, born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, is a Brooklyn-based conceptual and visual installation artist. Karmali’s practice concentrates on critiquing and expressing the ramifications of technology, economic structures, and neo-colonialism. He has exhibited at Pioneer Works, Brooklyn; Brooklyn College Library, Brooklyn; United Photo Industries, Brooklyn; Rachel Uffner Gallery, New York; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; Kunsthal, Rotterdam; and Circle Art, Nairobi. He has participated in residencies at MacDowell Colony, Triangle Arts Association, BRIC, Pioneer Works and Trestle.
Elizabeth Thys is a Business Design Lead at IDEO, a global design and innovation consultancy. She was a founder of limeSHIFT, a creative agency that aligns people, place and purpose, that emerged from MIT through a collaboration between Sloan School of Management and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Thys, an art and technology entrepreneur, researches the intersection of the two fields, and was a 2015 Winner of Made in NY Media Center’s Entrepreneur Innovation Grant. Her work is published with The Americans for the Arts and in the Journal of Public Space.
This newly reimagined program offers emerging and mid-career artists essential resources, mentorships, and opportunities to share their work. The residency aims to build a stronger and more diverse artistic community in Brooklyn by supporting long term growth and fostering relationships across disciplines.
The program's four tracks are Contemporary Art, Film + TV, Performing Arts, and Video Art. Each track offers unique resources designed to meet the needs of varied artistic practices. Residents receive additional financial support, mentorship, skills-based learning opportunities, and documentation of their work. In-progress public programs (virtual and later live) will take place from September 2020 through June of 2021.
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