Shaun Irons & Lauren Petty: Why Why Always

In this sci-fi misadventure of secret agents and seductresses, Jean-Luc Godard’s prescient 1965 film Alphaville meets the on-line phenomena of ASMR videos. In an atmosphere of electronic energy, Why Why Always is an éloge to poetry, art, and cinema set in a tyrannical society controlled by a sentient super-computer. This timely, live cine-performance considers the evolving relationship between man and machine, searching for the human, irrational and emotional amidst a world of mechanization, repression and control.

Created and Conceived Shaun Irons & Lauren Petty
Video and Media and live-processing Shaun Irons & Lauren Petty
Performers (live) Jim Fletcher, Elizabeth Carena, Laura Bartczak, Marion Spencer
Performers (video) Scott Shepherd, Madeline Best
Narration Christina Campanella
Voiceovers Olivier Conan, Shaun Irons
Additional music Brian Rogers
Costumes and Props Amy Mascena
Creative Technology Design Danli Hu, Lauren Petty
Sound Engineer Ian Douglas-Moore
Lighting Jon Harper
Ending choreography originated by Shandoah Goldman
Stage Manager Randi Rivera
Technical Consultant Bill Kennedy

Company, Cast and Crew Bios:
Shaun Irons and Lauren Petty are Brooklyn based, multiplatform artists who make interdisciplinary performances, multimedia installations, films and interactive video scores for live performance. Recent projects include a feature-length documentary Standing By: Gatz Backstage about ERS’s epic production GatzKeep Your Electric Eye On Me, a multimedia performance seen at HERE (2014), as well as a self-generating video installation, Atmospheres & Accidental Ghosts (NY Electronic Arts Festival, 2015). Their work has been seen in NYC, nationally, and internationally at venues such as BAM, The Brooklyn Museum, Abrons, The Chocolate Factory, Anthology Film Archives, Tokyo Wonder Site, REDCAT, and the Venice Biennale. They have received numerous awards including grants, fellowships and residencies from the NEA, NYSCA, NYFA, LMCC, Jerome Foundation, Harvestworks, Asian Cultural Council, Signal Culture, Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, BAU Institute/Camargo Foundation and the Bogliasco Foundation. www.automaticrelease.org 

Jim Fletcher (Ivan Johnson/Lemmy Caution) has worked a lot with Richard Maxwell and the New York City Players.  This summer at Bard College he appeared in the Wooster Group production, A Pink Chair.   

Elizabeth Carena (Natacha, Professor Von Braun, etc.) is a multi-disciplinary performing artist based in Brooklyn. She has collaborated on more than a dozen productions with Third Rail Projects, including the summer 2017 production of Ghost Light at LCT3, and the long-running immersive hit Then She Fell, where she originated the role of the Hatter. Her band Mother Feather, known for their bombastic live performances, just finished recording their second LP on Metal Blade Records, following their eponymous debut in 2016. She works as a freelance arts administrator, and holds a BA in Theater from Fordham University at Lincoln Center. www.elizabethcarena.com

Laura Bartczak (Seductress #5, Beatrice, etc.) is a movement and film artist based in Brooklyn. Her choreography and film work has been presented by Radar at Anthology Film Archives, Lubov Gallery,  AUNTS, BKsD, Movement Research at Judson Church, CATCH, Mono No Aware, The Domestic Performance Agency, Gina Gibney Dance Center, DCTV, and Dance Film Association among others. As a performer, she has worked with  artists including Laurel Atwell, Shandoah Goldman, Thea Little, and Lindsey Drury.  Laurabartczak.squarespace.com

Marion Spencer (Seductress #7, etc.) is a New York-based performer, maker and teacher. Since moving to New York, Marion has had the pleasure of collaborating and performing with Stephan Koplowitz, Melissa Riker/Kinesis Project, Annie Kloppenberg, Shandoah Goldman/Carte Blanche Performance, Vanessa Justice Dance, Michiyaya Dance, Hollis Bartlett, and apprenticing and performing with David Dorfman Dance. Marion also makes and performs her own work and teaches dance to teens and adults. She graduated with honors from Vassar College in 2009, where she studied Geography-Anthropology and was a member of the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre. To learn more about Marion, please visit www.marion-spencer.com   

Christina Campanella (narration, original song) is a composer, performer and sound artist. Her music-theater works, sound installations and film scores have been presented throughout the U.S. and Europe (EMPAC, Museum at MIT, HERE, Harvestworks/NY Electronic Art Festival, Fylkingen in Stockholm, Simultan in Romania, Noorderzon in The Netherlands), including Red Fly/Blue Bottle, co-created with writer Stephanie Fleischmann. She has also been an actor/vocalist in downtown theater and independent film since 1998, played keyboards with various New York bands, and is a frequent collaborator of composer/sound artist Joe Diebes (WOW, botch, i/o). In 2018, Christina will perform in Diebes’ opera Oyster at Roulette in Brooklyn. She is a recipient of three NYSCA Individual Artist Commissions in Film, Media, and New Technologies. www.xtinasworld.com

Olivier Conan (voiceovers) is a Brooklyn and Lyon, France based French musician, producer and voice over artist who has toured South America with his Peruvian flavored project Chicha Libre, dubbed many a Korean cartoon into French and produced hundreds of concerts at Barbès, MoMA, Pioneer Works and other places around NYC. He is currently the Artistic Director of the Ampitheater at the Lyon Opera.

Amy Mascena (props, costumes) is a Brooklyn based visual and installation artist. She previous worked with Shaun & Lauren creating sculptural objects and drawings for their large-scale multimedia installation Revolving Twilight and more recently created a table top installation and custom made candy for their performance Keep Your Electric Eye On Me. Amy was awarded a NYSCA theater commission to design props for Why Why Always

Danli Hu (creative technology design) is a Beijing born, New York based new media artist and creative technologist. She obtains an MFA in Design and Technology program at Parsons School of Design and has an undergrad degree in Digital Media at Beijing University of Technology. She has a great passion for physical installation and creative coding and focuses on using technology as a tool for poetic expression and philosophical approach. hudanli.com

Ian Douglas-Moore (sound engineer) is a musician and sound engineer who has worked extensively in New York, Berlin, and throughout Europe. Audio credits include “Yesterday Tomorrow” by Annie Dorsen and “Misses and Mysteries” by Antonia Baehr and Valérie Castan. He plays minimal improvised guitar music, often in the company of saxophonist Paul Roth (with whom he runs Earwash Records) and sound artist Pär Thörn; co-curates the experimental music series WOrK with David Watson; and can also be heard playing rock music with Gold Dime and Pleasure Prince.

Jon Harper (lighting) is a lighting designer and also the Director of Production at Abrons Arts Center, and is happy to have helped Shaun and Lauren with their lighting for this show, both in its first iteration and now this one.  He previously designed their piece Keep Your Electric Eye On Me at HERE Arts Center, and has been saying “Why, Why, Always?” ever since. He is also married to Madeline Best of the Chocolate Factory Theater, with whom he shares the distinct joy of parenting their two youngsters.

Shandoah Goldman (choreography, final sequence) is the choreographer and founder of Carte Blanche Performance. She holds a M.A from London Contemporary Dance School as well as a B.A from Bennington College. She has presented her work at Joyce Soho, Ailey CitiGroup Theatre, Spoke the Hub, Wild Project, CPR, Rabbithole, Dixon Place, Pioneer Works, Roulette, as well as many site-specific locations. She has been an artist in residence at Art Omi, chashama, Pioneer Works and Residencias del Sur in Buenos Aires. www.carteblancheperformance.com 

Randi Rivera (stage manager) is a native New Yorker. She is the Stage Manager & Lighting Director for Half Straddle theater company, traveling both internationally and domestically with their work since 2012. She is also the Technical Director + Production Manager for Keigwin+Company, working with them on and off since 2011. Randi proudly freelances for many performing arts organizations both in NYC and on the road – favorites include Faye Driscoll Group, Phantom Limb Company, Doug Elkins Choreography Etc, Sidra Bell Dance NY, The Chocolate Factory, and Harlem Stage. Randi has been working with and a fan of Lauren & Shaun since 2011, and she is thrilled to be on this team. All of her work is for her family.

This presentation is made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts’ 2017 Electronic Media and Film Presentation Funds Grant program, administered by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.