An Undeniable Hit – a joint production between students from the Art Academy and the Theatre Academy [collaboration]

Photo: Sophie Ljungblom
Photo: Sophie Ljungblom
Photo: Sophie Ljungblom
Photo: Michael Portnoy

For the first time ever, a joint course, ‘An Undeniable Hit / En oslagbar föreställning’, was held for students at Malmö Art Academy and Malmö Theatre Academy. The course leader and teacher Michael Portnoy, an American multi artist worked together with nine students from the Art academy and the Theatre Academy in Studio B in the Mazetti Building during the period 28/1-14/2 2020.

Participating students:

Tringa Gashi (KHM)
Elísabet Anna Kristjánsdóttir (KHM)
Ivan Nylander (KHM)
Elísabet Birta Sveinsdóttir (KHM)
Filip Vest (KHM)
Eira Fröjdh (THM)
Theodor Ryan (THM)
Miriam Röstlinger Goldkuhl (THM)
Emily Willman (THM)

excerpts from ”An Undeniable Hit” Camera and editing by Kristian Anselm

From the course description:

A joint production between students from the Art Academy and the School of Performing Arts course in conceptual theatre, we will embark together on the ridiculous quest to create an undeniable hit performance which will be presented in Studio B, the black box space in the Mazetti building. What makes a hit in the rarefied worlds we operate in? What is it like to focus on relatability, universality, joy, urgency, affect, generosity, hope, catchiness, electricity, caring for the audience? Does a hit need to be only a 5% deviation from existing art – i.e. the public can only take so much originality? Do we need to lobotomize ourselves to create a hit? Must we sell our souls? Using various approaches from theater, dance and visual arts performance, we will generate tons of material in daily rehearsals in Studio B and boil it all down to a one hour show.

Michael Portnoy (b. 1971, Washington, DC, USA) is a New York-based artist. Coming from a background in dance and stand-up comedy, his performance-based work employs a variety of media: from participatory installations to sculpture, painting, writing, theater, video and curation. Portnoy is largely concerned with manipulating language and behavior as a tool for world-bending – either in his “Relational Stalinist” game structures in which confusion, complication, and ambiguity are used to stretch participants’ speech and movement; or his quest to “improve” existing breeds of art through re-engineering. He has presented internationally in museums, art galleries, theatres and music halls, including recently Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Austria (2019 & 2018); Witte de With, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2016); the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2015); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2014); Cricoteka, Krakow, Poland (2014); Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2013); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2013); The Kitchen, New York, USA (2013); dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel, Germany (2012); 11th Baltic Triennial (co-curator), Vilnius, Lithuania (2012); and the Taipei Biennial, Taipei, Taiwan (2010).