For Misnomer’s March e-news, we conducted a Q&A with Misnomer dancer Coco Karol.
What do you do you when you’re not dancing with Misnomer?
Outside of working with Chris Elam, I have a very diverse and busy artistic life. In addition to dancing for Chris, I dance with Cherylyn Lavagnino performing contemporary ballet, which, yes, means pointe shoes! I am also currently dancing as a puppeteer for Christopher Williams upcoming show at DTW. In addition to the choreographers I work for, I also have many of my own artistic projects, most of which are centered around installation and collaboration. I have collaborated with various sculptors, designers, painters, video artists, and photographers, performing in festivals such as DUMBO under the bridge arts festival, AUNTS, and at the New York Studio Gallery. In addition, I run a small performance space in Brooklyn which I built and live in called The Petri Space, meant to be a petri dish for the exploration and experimentation of a range of artistic work. There, along with two other women, we feature dance and installation work, along with comedy shows and poetry and prose readings. In conjunction with The Petri Space and an art collective called Subject To Change, we are currently working on spring show that will feature a modern roof top victory garden and engage with themes of community through the metaphor of plants and branches, roots and growth. And when I have a minute to spare you will usually find me with my nose in a book or my fingers covered in watercolors!
What are your feelings on creating new work in the bank vault?
Wow, well its an extraordinary time to be an artist working on Wall street across from the New York Stock Exchange. The poignancy of the metaphors in this run very deep. And I am reminded of that every day as I go to the studio. As the US and global economy are suffering, the artists are going to keep making art despite it all. Artists, dancers, writers, musicians, we are going to keep doing what we do in some form and capacity. We will make space, dance in bank vaults, get creative about how and where and what, but we will continue to make work. When I am rehearsing in the vault, which is underground, I like to think of the image of Wall st. bankers and tourists walking above an empty bank vault with us dancing below. Where stacks of money and credit used to be stored under high security, there are now bare feet prancing around and exploring the many ways to make meaning out of space.
What was it like to work with Bjork in the Wanderlust video?
Working on the set of Wanderlust changed my life and in many ways the way I have been approaching my own work these days. I was struck by how many people, most of them unpaid interns or underpaid artist, came together and created something spectacular, because they believed in the vision and in Bjork. They did it with an overwhelming positivity you rarely find in such a large project. And getting to work with Bjork was really quite magical. the first shot with her, I was uncomfortably harnessed to her back as she sat on one of the yak puppets. When she began to sing, I not only heard, but felt the vibrations of her voice through my back, and they echoed through my chest like some sort of beautiful cymatic sound healing. It was a truly amazing way to begin the shoot. Furthermore, I very much respect Bjork’s work and it was a treat to get to know her a little better as a person, to see her as a loving mother, a woman, and an artist.