Directed by Elena Demyanenko and created in collaboration with Laurel Jenkins, Chloë Engel.

He was and will remain a pattern for poets in his amphibious ability to plunge into the downward reptilian welter of the individual self and yet raise himself with whatever knowledge he gained there out onto the hard edges of the historical present.
— Seamus Heaney, on Robert Lowell

In welter, three simultaneous solos emerge out of prolonged work with color. The performers cohabit a viscous dimension of saturated light, their submergence in which is total. Infected by color virus and noise making, they exhibit symptoms which evince something ancient and essential to emotional survival, complete with an extra-lingual mode of communication that is evocative of invocation, incantation. The performers do not surrender their agency; rather the spell endows them with a more evolved force unmediated by language. The resultant, feverish state enables a direct, non-abstracted, non-symbolic account of desire and its power.

Friction and asymmetry, both auditory and physical, serve to scramble preconceived notions of form and ways of knowing that otherwise inhibit this polyphonic, trancelike condition. This circumstance—of a disrupted surface—forces the performers to plumb their depths and locate an interstitial space between disappearance and emergence, charged with potential. It is here, in this lingering state of becoming, that embodied force is recovered, uncensored by history, experience or emotion. A new way of knowing is tacitly understood.

The piece will be performed at Middlebury College’s Mahaney Arts Center on Tuesday, January 28, 2020. Additionally this work will tour to:

Here Arts Center in NYC on Feb. 15 & 16 2020,

Icebox Project Space in Philly on March 18 & 19 2020,

Roulette in NYC on June 23-25 2020,


welter excerpt from Elena Demyanenko on Vimeo.