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Needlessly Complicated


I began my work at UCSD with designs that were more complicated externally with as many wild elements as possible. I have learned how to take a wide range of ideas, and instead of spreading them thin across a broad swathe of elements I can now incorporate them into a rich yet narrow pallet of carefully tuned elements. With Joe Turner's Come and Gone, I had taken the needlessly complicated ideas that could have been externalized, and fed them into the details of my design. Certain critical concepts were contained within individual elements such as the texture of the floorboards, or the “hand carved“ patterns to echo traditional African art where a simple clean line would have sufficed.

With Space Between, directed by Alicia Peterson Baskel, my only design elements were white gallery walls, and the art that was displayed on them. Here, the positioning of drawings and videos was absolutely critical with mere inches making worlds of difference, and minor subtleties of wall texture speaking volumes about nature of the space. The twist was that after all of this precise work, these moving walls were released to the dancers to improvise with them however they wanted. Having calculated all of details so carefully afforded us the room for total improvisation with movement. The lesson I have drawn is that the more limited the elements, the more precise the fine tuning required, but the more universal their ability to connect, and the more likely an audience will read them properly.

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