The choreographic vocabulary of a sheep being sheared provides the foundation in This Is Where Wool Comes From (2015) for a loose fictional narrative that confuses the roles of dominance, empathy, and passivity. Performed by trans-identified artist Madsen Minax and director J. Louise Makary, the
choreography brings gender and identity to bear on intimate, physical material that is often seen as
neutral in its farm context.

 

In conventional shearing, the shearer catches a sheep from the pen and removes its wool in a standardized set of movements designed to immobilize the animal and keep it calm to avoid marks and cuts from the shears. The shorn sheep is released through a chute in the floor or an opening in a wall. The animal appears to be calm, but studies show a spike in sheep’s cortisol, or stress hormone, levels during shearing. Using two human performers and charged mise-en-scène elements, This Is Where Wool Comes From begins as a dramatization of that experience before unfolding into a dance of aggression and tenderness that questions the degree to which we are complicit in our victimhood.


TRT: 07:15

Directed and edited by J. Louise Makary
Choreographed and performed by Madsen Minax and J. Louise Makary
Shot in Skowhegan, Maine

Camera: Willie Stewart
Location Audio: Danny Carroll and Alejandro T. Acierto
Color: David Scott Kessler
Sound Design & Mix: John Baker / Philly Post


Screenings and installations:

BODY + CAMERA FESTIVAL
SEPTEMBER 23, 2017
MANA CONTEMPORARY
888 NEWARK AVE.
JERSEY CITY, NJ

THERE MAY BE NO BEFORE AT ALL
SEPTEMBER 8 - OCTOBER 27, 2017
THE MARTHA AND ROBERT FOGELMAN GALLERIES
     OF CONTEMPORARY ART
THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS
3715 CENTRAL AVE.
MEMPHIS, TN

BODY + CAMERA FESTIVAL
MAY 19 - MAY 21, 2017
MANA CONTEMPORARY CHICAGO
2233 S. THROOP ST.
CHICAGO, IL

MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
SEPTEMBER 17, 2016
WHITESBOG VILLAGE
NEW JERSEY PINE BARRENS
BROWNS MILLS, NJ 

BACKUP_FESTIVAL
MAY 19 & MAY 20, 2016
BAUHAUS-UNIVERSITY WEIMAR
GASWERK THEATRE
WEIMAR, GERMANY

ARTIST-RUN AT SATELLITE MIAMI
DECEMBER 3, 2015
THE HOTEL
7410 OCEAN TERRACE
MIAMI BEACH, FL

FOURTH WALL AT VOX POPULI
MAY 1 - MAY 24, 2015
OPENING RECEPTION: MAY 1, 6 - 11 PM
319 NORTH 11TH STREET
3RD FLOOR
PHILADELPHIA, PA

BANNERETTE NEW YORK
JANUARY 31 - MARCH 1, 2015
OPENING RECEPTION: JANUARY 31, 6 - 9 PM
52 TOMPKINS AVENUE
BROOKLYN, NY