Leralee Whittle – Forces identifies the institutionalized body in a performance installation featuring video of her making art in gyms across America.

During tours around the US, Leralee Whittle became fascinated with the random collections of brightly colored exercise props in a given aerobics room, the minimalist, open space of a racquetball court and the simple line designs on the floor and walls of various gyms. She set up the camera to film herself interacting with preexisting installations. Her body took on texture, shape, content and added color and movement.

Whittle used the dynamics of gym environments and behaviors as inspiration for movement vocabularies. For example, she used the overly impeded actions of amateur athletes playing defense in ball sports and their hyped-up, chaotic efforts to score points on offense. She observed that many exercisers tried to be motivated, but were weighted with resignation. Aerobics classes took place in Romper Rooms with colorful, inanimate work-out buddies designed to aid overly energetic instructors in jump-starting uncreative, lethargic adults.

How Whittle filmed herself in these environments leads to questions like: What is health? How have we adopted such dumbed-down physicality? Why are competitive sports more widely accepted than artistic expressions?  Why aren’t more of us perverting such dismal institutionalized settings with art?

In performance, environments will be created with the video, bodies, text and soundscape to explore work-out and sports institutions as microcosms of American attitudes and behavior reflected in our relationships to health and narcissism. WorkArtOut will be performed in a gym on a basketball court and in a sports complex.

Sound design for WorkArtOut will be composed by musician, Paul Sprawl. Leralee Whittle will be the choreographer and central performer. Everyday people will rehearse and perform sparse gym landscapes and sculptural scenes with their bodies and work-out props.

About the Artists:

Leralee Whittle and Paul Sprawl improvising in art installation “Superficial” by Alison Filley (2009-10 Artist-in-Residence)

Leralee Whittle – Forces delves into the oddly accepted and lethal ways we live by re-contextualizing communication and amplifying forces at work. The body exposes subtexts, images juxtapose deadening formalities and truths about “social stability” are performed.

Paul Sprawl combines percussive guitar techniques with bottleneck, tapping, harmonica and a baritone voice like the wind reaching out across the desert. His guitar is like crackling fire and riding bandits. His songs tell stories of politics, love and romance, the down trodden, and the interesting lives of those he meets all over the world.

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