By Natalie Creamer
On Monday, July 30th the collaborators of Liquid Culture, a series of public events spearheaded by Lauri Stallings and gloATL, met at the Sandler Hudson Gallery to initiate a community dialogue exploring the role of public art, and their recent production at Sol LeWitt’s 54 Columns.
The Atlanta Opera was invited to participate in this series of what Lauri Stallings called “installations,” or “utopia stations.” This was an experimental collaboration to introduce new audiences to the world of opera. Facilitated by Andrew Alexander of Creative Loafing, the community dialogue was led by the creative visionary, Lauri Stallings, and Atlanta Opera Communications Manger, Laura Soldati, who discussed the evolution of Liquid Culture and how non- traditional forms of dance and opera can be presented. GloATL dancers and Atlanta Opera singer, Megan Mashburn, shared their experiences as performers, and personal feelings on this particular way of presenting their art forms.
As the Atlanta Opera’s newest marketing and communications intern, and a young lady with limited exposure to modern art, watching Liquid Culture for the first time was an emotional whirlwind. The dancers were wearing the same costumes, beige leotards and platinum wigs, and the singers were wearing white, in order to maintain uniformity. The purpose of everyone wearing neutral colors was to replicate the pillars at 54 Columns. The dancing was typical of Lauri Stallings’ choreographic style – uneven and gestural with random spurts of energy. Moments into the dancing, opera singers emerged from different areas of the crowd. The beautiful harmonies and melodies juxtaposed perfectly against the backdrop of gloATL’s stylized dancing.
Liquid Culture’s unconventional performance gave audience members the opportunity to consider a concept unlike traditional formats of dance and opera. Setting the scene in a public landscape allowed members of the crowd to participate in a “360 concept,” and walk alongside the performing dancers and opera singers. Collaborating with Lauri Stallings and gloATL, The Atlanta Opera showed the public how opera can be enjoyed by all walks of life.
All images courtesy of Jeff Roffman
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