Marissa Perel

"Touching Into Text"

This class will combine somatic awareness with reading to create an embodied approach to understanding language. For each class a short selection of text will be presented for reading and discussion. Through exercises that draw from various somatic practices, and experiments made up by the instructor and participants, the class will play with ways of feeling language; bringing words and their meanings into an intimate experiential sphere.

There is room in this class for contemplation, finding an individual pathway for movement and speech, and for giving space to the often daunting mind-body split. It’s possible that we will get emotional about language, that we will love or not love how some texts feel, and that we will invent radical interpretations of what we read. We will investigate who we are as bodies that are simultaneously reading and being read by others.

There is no level of ability, skill or virtuosity required for this class, except real investment in writing, reading, and taking your own body and the bodies of others seriously. Being able to listen to your body as it is reading and experimenting, and being sensitive to the processes of your peers is highly valued here. The desired outcome of this class is that participants find possibilities for integrating language and movement in their artistic processes.

The first hour of class will be a short meditation and relaxation exercise, followed by reading and discussion of the selected text. In the second hour of class, participants will find their own space in the room to investigate the text somatically, with exercises provided by the instructor and the participants. For the last hour, we will debrief on our investigations, and individually present our discoveries.

There will be guest facilitators and lecturers on specific class days coming from diverse fields of art, writing, cultural theory and criticism, poetry, music, science and healing arts practices who will either provide the selected texts, or lead discussions or experiments.

Texts will include selections from such writers as Gertrude Stein, Claire Bishop, Jack Halberstam, Dodie Bellamy, CA Conrad, David Wojnarowicz, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Camille Roy, Kim Jones, Yvonne Rainer, Amelia Jones, Peggy Phelan, Lucy Lippard, Laurie Weeks, Judith Butler, Helene Cixous, Roland Barthes, Carole Maso, kari edwards, Jill Johnston, Faith Wilding, Avital Ronell.


I am an artist, writer, independent curator and editor whose work spans performance, video, installation, visual text, poetry and criticism. Recent work has been presented at Danspace Project, Golden gallery, Movement Research at Judson Memorial Church, and Ontological-Hysteric Theater. I was co-curator of Movement Research Festival 2012: Push It. Real. Good, and co-editor of Critical Correspondence, for which I co-curated two Judson 50th Anniversary events at Judson Church and the New Museum. I write the column “Gimme Shelter: Performance Now” on the Art21 blog, and am a contributor to P-Club. B.A. Naropa University, M.F.A School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
art21 blog

Marissa Perel

Sunday March 15
1pm - 5pm
cash only

Workshop Description:

Prosthetic Encounters & Sentient Object

Everybody's body inevitably encounters a situation where it feels like there is literally nowhere to stand and nothing to stand on. Something else is needed (whether it is physical or imaginary) to see us through - that thing being an enhancement, replacement, addition, or augmentation of us, a prosthesis. We will explore groundlessness and prosthetic function to generate choreographic material and micro-performances. Each participant must bring an item and a piece of music to be put into use as sentient objects with their own internal logic and adaptive sensibilities to new contexts. We will be changing the shape of our bodies in relationship to these objects engaging performance as a prosthetic encounter.


Marissa Perel has been involved with downtown dance, music, poetry and healing arts communities in New York since 2001. Her multifaceted therapeutic practices with her own prostheses have brought her many unique and intimate relationships within these communities. Due to her interdisciplinary approach to artistic practice she can be called a performance artist, though often she is cited as a choreographer or poet. She has a BA in Writing and Literature from Naropa University, and is currently working toward her MFA in performance at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Among her recent projects are the 24 hour endurance performance, Freedom of Information, organized by Miguel Gutierrez and a solo piece entitled Workout Girl. She was a guest teacher and curator for "Somewhere Out There: Movement Research Spring Festival 2008." She has collaborated with choreographers, video artists, and composers at such venues as Dance Theater Workshop, St. Mark's Church, Judson Church, Jacob's Pillow, cakeshop, Goodbye Blue Monday, galapagos artspace, Roosevelt Island, Chez Bushwick, and her former home, Aqui the Bushwick, as well as other loftspaces, and alternative venues. In 2006, she directed Burden, a performance and installation event at the Chocolate Factory Theater. Her reviews and interviews are published in Tarpaulin Sky Press & Literary Journal, and she self-publishes her own work out of Polter Press.

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