2015 + 2016 Lab Artist: Jennifer Monson
Jennifer Monson is a choreographer, performer, and teacher who stands in a category of her own. Since 1983, she has explored strategies in choreography, improvisation, and collaboration in experimental dance. In 2000, her work took a new turn to investigate the relationship between movement and environment. This ongoing research led her into inquiries of cultural and scientific understandings of large-scale phenomenon such as animal navigation and migration, geological formations such as aquifers, and re-functioned sites such as the abandoned Ridgewood Reservoir.
In 2004, Monson incorporated under the name iLAND, Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature, and Dance. Members of the iLAND Board of Directors and community came to VPL in May 2015 to focus on creating an experimental platform for iLANDing – a set of practices and principals that facilitate in-depth, creative, interdisciplinary collaboration with dance, science and environment. Their residency culminated with a public workshop during VPL’s Open Lab event that shared some of the basic tenets of iLANDing in respect to researching the phenomena in southern Vermont.
In May 2016, Monson returned to VPL’s Lab to develop her newest piece in tow. Working with a diverse range of artists who spanned discipline, geography, and generation, Monson and her collaborators gathered for a 10-day residency in Vermont to work on two parts of the in tow project: the live performance, and the sound score with harpist/composer Zeena Parkins. Drawing on two years of research, in tow pushed both artist and audience to expand and reimagine approaches to the experimental category of live performance. The residency culminated in open rehearsals and conversations during VPL's Open Lab where audiences had the opportunity to observe their creative process.