AMERICAN THEATER | HERE Announces New Digital Platform, URHERE

Jared Mezzocchi, Mey Seifan, Adham Hafez, Ximena Garnica, Shige Moriya, Kameron Neal, and Paul Pinto.

NEW YORK CITY: The innovative performing arts space HERE plans to introduce a virtual platform, URHERE, to provide access to innovative outdoor and digital premieres, with the aim of nurturing experimentation, sparking dialogue, and engaging with the local community. Set to launch in November, URHERE expands on HERE’s mission to support multidisciplinary work made by independent artists and ensembles at every stage of their careers.

The platform will create a space to enjoy HERE’s virtual programming and non-traditional outdoor experiences. It will house archival works from the HERE vault, while providing a seamless experience for accessing new digital and outdoor premieres. Everything will be accessible from one interface, designed as an interactive play space inspired by the board game GO. HERE has partnered with design firm Imaginary Places to create the platform.

URHERE will allow audiences from all over the world to experience new work via computers, phones, or headsets for a range of digital productions. The platform will include native digital programming: virtual, augmented, and mixed reality, as well as live-streamed performances and more. Outdoor programming will allow audiences to view free and accessibly priced public works designed to transform public spaces and explore the potential of art, featuring projects by local and international artists.

Funding for URHERE has been provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of the Digital Accelerator for Arts and Culture funding initiative.

For the platform’s inaugural season, HERE has commissioned four new works as a way to beta-test UHERE. URHERE will launch with the world premiere of a provocative new work, Section 230by Jared Mezzocchi (HERE Artist Residency Program Alum from the VR project, You Are Dead. You Are Here). This digitally native work will be performed live and in-person for a mixed in-person and virtual audience. Section 230 takes a deep and often dark look at the law that shaped the internet

Also in November, HERE will present a hybrid virtual/in-person premiere of MetaDreams. This mixed-reality performance features a virtual world built through Web3 tools and is a choreographic investigation of how dreams under states of emergency are a document of our times. The work features online and augmented reality elements, holographic in-person installation, and live performance in a mixed-reality setting. It culminates 10 years of research by Syrian German choreographer Mey Seifan, and is co-directed by New York-based choreographer and theorist Adham Hafez. It was developed in partnership with Berlin artists Mert Akbal, Harshini Karunaratne, and generative artist Ahmed El Shaer, working among AI, performance, digital design, and world-building.

In Spring 2023, HERE will have two pre-recorded digital native works, developed through the ALL ARTS Artists in Residence program and airing on URHERE. Untitled is a new film by multidisciplinary artist, director, and choreographer duo Ximena Garnica and Shige Moriya (current HERE Resident Artists). Untitled embarks on a poetic journey through an enigmatic landscape of mythical characters, ambiguous bodies, textures, and materials, with food at its center. It is a companion to Garnica and Moriya’s upcoming immersive live performance A Meal.

Artists Paul Pinto (HERE Artist Residency Program alum) and Kameron Neal will build on their series of immersive music video cantatas interrogating whiteness, first presented digitally in HERE’s Prototype Festival in January 2021 and in-person by La MaMa and CultureHub in February 2022. Whiteness: Part Two is the next chapter in a series reflecting on the silliness, the severity, and the anxieties of skin color. While Whiteness: Part One leaned heavily on the US census as source material, Part Two looks at the Brazilian and Japanese census from the perspective of a total outsider, all the better to reach beyond the national conversation about race in America.

In addition to these premieres, URHERE will host a rotating library of notable works, including everything from soundwalks to archival stage performances, with selections such as Cairns (Gelsey Bell & Joseph White), Only You Will Recognize the Signal (Rob Handel, Kristin Marting, Kamala Sankaram), Symphonie Fantastique (Basil Twist), Cannabis! A Viper Vaudeville (Grace Galu & Baba Israel), The Hang (Taylor Mac), Stairway to Stardom (Amanda Szeglowski/cakeface), duck 9000 Paper Balloons (Maiko Kikuchi & Spencer Lott).

HERE is an arts organization in New York City known for producing and presenting new hybrid performances integrating artistic disciplines, including theatre, dance, music and opera, puppetry, media, installation, spoken word, and performance art. It was founded by Kristin Marting, Tim Maner, Barbara Busackino, and Randy Rollison in 1993.

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