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Performance piece explores effects of urban renewal

Kyle deCampPerformance artist Kyle deCamp, right, will explore intersections between individual lives and historical events in the multimedia piece “Urban Renewal, “ which will be presented at the UNT Art Gallery.

deCamp will perform the free one-hour show at 3 p.m. March 25 and 6 p.m. March 26 at the UNT Art Gallery in the Art Building. Both performances will be followed by a conversation with deCamp.

deCamp is an interdisciplinary performance artist. She is a faculty member at Barnard/Columbia Theater Department and Movement Research in New York City.

She grew up in the Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park, which was part of the urban renewal programs that local and federal governments initiated after World War II to reshape the country’s cities.

Her family’s tiny row house was one of many homes on a block that was torn down in the 1960s. For 10 years, nothing was constructed on that empty lot.

In her performance, deCamp offers the perspective of a child as witness to the demolition of the block and the changes in her city. The multimedia work combines live performance with projected video, interweaving a timeline of world history that starts in 5,000 B.C. and collides with the child’s narrative when the house is torn down.

“I am inviting the audience into a situation where we look at our individual lives in the contact of the world that we’re living in,” she said, “and how history and power impacts both those things.”

deCamp’s family moved from Chicago to Pittsburgh when she was 16. The script is based on her research into her memories of childhood perceptions of space and place. She would be weeping while simply writing a description of a window.

“I didn’t realize how deeply impacting all of this was,” she said. “Children are notoriously resilient. It wasn’t until I was an adult when I thought it was an interesting topic to look back on.”

deCamp, who now lives in New York City, has worked in dance and media. She is currently directing a multimedia ensemble production of “Madame Bovary” for Barnard/Columbia University and developing a new project about the progressive-era hospitals designed by her grandfather in New York City.

- Jessica DeLeón, University Relations, Communications and Marketing


Posted on: Wed 04 March 2015

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