Last Friday the 17th, Loculus--a new performance collective based in the Pioneer Valley--had its third event in correlation with the release of issue 3, volume 1 of its quarterly journal. The event--”Solo”--was held at the Florence Civic Center, and featured a variety of performances--ranging from the ironic and comical to the emotional and confrontational. Loculus officially began in the summer of 2015 after receiving a grant from the Northampton Arts Council, springing from the desire to make performance art a more inclusive, dynamic presence in Western Mass.
Olana Flynn and Hayley Jane-Blackstone, two of the group’s founders, spoke about why they see the Pioneer Valley as especially fertile ground for the arts and communal engagement in general, and what inspired them to create Loculus:
Olana: “We live in this area that has a really vibrant, active artist community, specifically a DIY community, there’s the punk community, there’s the contact improv community, all of these sort of sub-artistic groups, and we were definitely feeling like there was a lack of space for the type of dance and performance that we do. A major goal is to not put on a performance in a theatre--that people come and they pay $10 and they sit down--but to have things be more like you show up, you leave if you want, you come and go... it’s taking dance and performance art and kind of taking it off the high-pedestal that seems to exist when artists of other mediums think about it.”
The group is also particularly interested in expressing a sense of conflict. By placing conflicting perspectives in conversation with one another, Loculus shows how the most dynamic performances often stem from discord.
Elaborating on this philosophy, Olana explains that Loculus encourages contradiction in order to push the boundaries of the collective: “Part of the aesthetic is creating dissonance, not just difference but dissonance and conflict between what people are doing and that one thing in the journal might totally contradict the next thing because they come from two different minds but those minds are contemplating similar questions: how do you bring experimentation into performance, how do you push the boundaries between an audience and a performer--how they interact--how do you push the boundaries of what spaces performances can be seen in.”
Loculus is Hayley-Jane Blackstone, Olana Flynn, Stephanie Jacco, Molly McBride, Madison Palffy, and Aliza Persing. The next Loculus performance will be in May (location to be determined), when they release the 4th issue of their journal. To find out more about Loculus, visit their Facebook page, or keep an eye out for their journal and other ephemera.