Static Apnea is the discipline of holding one’s breath underwater, motionless. Breath has been taken away. By a virus. By a knee. By the uncertainty. The struggle to restore it has rendered us motionless, collectively holding our breath. Do you know how long you can hold your breath? Would it be long enough to save yourself? Would it be long enough to save someone you love?
One audience member, surrounded by a tunnel of blue light, descends towards a single performer behind a wall of glass. In a 9 minute and 2 second performance–the female record for static apnea–this performative installation explores how far one might be willing to go to save a life.
Static Apnea is staged in a 40’ storage container that has been designed specifically for this production. It is open at both ends, has high powered fans and air purifiers to ensure proper air flow. Each audience member is required to wear a face mask and a plexiglass wall separates them from the performer. Temperatures will be taken on arrival.
Directed by Christopher McElroen, a Brooklyn based media artist and the Founding Artistic Director of the american vicarious, Static Apnea was first performed at The Performance Arcade, New Zealand.
Most recently, Christopher developed Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation in collaboration with four-time Grammy Award nominee, Gerald Clayton.
Christopher received a 2013 Helen Hayes Award for his direction of the world premiere stage adaptation of Ralph Ellison’s iconic novel Invisible Man. Following its development, which was featured nationally on NPR’s All Things Considered, the project premiered at the Court Theatre in Chicago, January 2012, and was nominated for seven Jeff Awards, Chicago’s highest theatrical honor. Invisible Man has received productions at The Huntington Theatre in Boston and The Studio Theatre in DC, where it received three 2013 Helen Hayes Awards.
Alongside visual artist Paul Chan and Creative Time, Christopher co-produced and directed Waiting for Godot in New Orleans, a yearlong community development through the arts initiative in post-Katrina New Orleans. The project began by asking residents of a wounded and divided city a simple question: “What are you waiting for?” The tremendous response of the work, which ultimately staged Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot outdoors in the Lower Ninth Ward and Gentilly communities of New Orleans, was recognized by the New York Times as one of the top ten national art events of 2007. The archives from the production have been acquired into the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and were on exhibit at MOMA May 2010 through September 2011.
Christopher had the honor of directing the world-premiere of 51st (dream) State, the final work of poet, musician and activist Sekou Sundiata. 51st (dream) State was a multimedia exploration of American empire that premiered in New York at The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival before touring internationally.
Christopher co-founded the acclaimed Classical Theatre of Harlem (CTH) where from 1999 – 2009 he produced 41 productions yielding 18 AUDELCO Awards, 6 OBIE Awards, 2 Lucille Lortel Awards, a Drama Desk Award and CTH being named “1 of 8 theatres in America to Watch” by the Drama League.
Each performance is limited to 1 audience member. Doors open at 12pm and performances begin every 20 minutes–click HERE to find available performances times and to RSVP. Walk ups will be accommodated if time slots are not filled.