My New Theater: Reading Dante III / An exhibition by Joan Jonas

Reading Dante III

Soundtrack by Joan Jonas, music by Jason Moran with David Lang

September 14 – October, 2011
Opening, September 14, 2011, from 6-7 PM

MIT Media Lab Complex, E14 First Floor
75 Amherst Street, E14, Cambridge MA 02139

My New Theater: Reading Dante III is an exhibition of four video elements created for Joan Jonas’s Reading Dante series, an ongoing project that is a series of installations and performances. Taking Dante’s Divine Comedy as a starting point, the Reading Dante performances combine drawing, animation, video and objects to make simple effects for a live audience. In these performances and installations Jonas translates Dante into her own visual language without an attempt to illustrate the text, creating an experiential montage. As Jonas describes the process, she “manages the material of time, thinking of the audience’s experience… walking through an installation [they] can look from one place to another… I think of stretched out time.”

Particularly attracted to abstract or philosophical moments in the text, the artist chooses passages that contain compelling imagery of an amalgam of locations and spaces. In this installation version, (Reading Dante III, 2010) Jonas has edited the videos with a considered pace, thinking of film and the experience of viewing the material. These constructed “theaters” were first designed as the My New Theater series beginning in 1997, and are now reconfigured for MIT, 2011.

This exhibition was made possible through a collaboration between the Arts at MIT and the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology.