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Alaina Stamatis: Strife Lessons

For her spring 2012 residency in performance art at the Clocktower Gallery, writer and engineer of unsettling fantasies Alaina Stamatis conducted a series of surreal classes, referred to as "Strife Lessons." By hypnotizing an audience through soothing narration, and pleasurable, repetitive motion, Stamatis guided participants through a themed succession of traumatic experiences. The hope was that when they emerged from her "class," they learned to value their happy lives and were propelled toward greatness. Each event included a collaboration with a musician, who created an appropriate, harrowing soundscape. This performance series was supplemented by self-help broadcasts for Art International Radio and informative, pocket-sized books.

Twiching Around Lower Manhattan

To "twich" is to attempt to see a rare bird in a location that other birders have reported chance sightings. On this guided audio tour, Alaina Stamatis leads groups on the trail of local perching birds, songbirds, and birds of prey that have gone extinct since their last sighting. This hapless search draws upon many of life's own ill-fated pursuits. The tour follows a clear path through lower Manhattan (beginning upon exiting the Clocktower Gallery). Participants are loaned a camouflage poncho and camouflage binoculars, in order to better stalk the birds.

Yoga For Two

The Clocktower Gallery presented Yoga for two, a prenatal yoga class developed to help its participants cope with the pain of life change. The practice was accompanied by Justin Frye (of PC Worship, Gary War, and Dan Deacon ensemble) performing his piece, "Aborted Scraps," and video projections by Sean Berman. Positioning was exhibited by Sarina Dailey and Cammisa Forrest Buerhaus, and was narrated by Alaina Stamatis. "Eating for two, drinking for two, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart for two, missing the bus for two, allowing the belly to sink toward the floor for two, flossing for two, dropping the head slightly for two, dancing for two, moping for two, reading about the misery of the world with two sets of eyes; one pair is pale and not yet able to distinguish the horrors from the trees." - Alaina Stamatis


In Your Defense

This self-defense class, choreographed by esteemed martial artist Mark DeNardo, questions of one's own armament against natural and man-made elements are risen and then mulled over; through soothing narration these ideas are then laced with doubt regarding a possible shield from one's own past behaviors. Participants enjoy an elegant beginners lesson in self-defense.

The class is live-scored by Camilla Padgitt-Coles of Future Shuttle and Ivy Meadows.