Go Deeper

robbinschilds comes to LAB and Second Thursdays

Posted May 9th, 2011

This week the LAB (Live Arts Brewery) will be home to the New York City-based duo robbinschilds. In its ongoing effort to provide deepening residency support to artists, the LAB has invited the company, Sonya Robbins and Layla Childs, to spend a week in Philadelphia to work on their new piece, I came here on my own. While here, Layla and Sonya will meet with Philadelphia-based artists, show some newly created material for the LAB’s Second Thursday series and meet with the 2010 & 11 LAB Fellows.

Layla and Sonya met nearly twenty years ago while attending Bard College. After graduating they moved downriver to New York City and began presenting their work individually. It was not until they began collaborating in 2003 that they caught the eye of Craig Peterson, then artistic director at Dance Theater Workshop [now LAB director]. Peterson says, “I had seen their shows periodically over the years but something came alive when they began to create together. They deepened their commitment to bigger ideas and the strength and quality of their work really came alive.”

Since forming a partnership they have shown their work at venues in New York City, nationally, and internationally. Philadelphians may recall their memorable piece C.L.U.E. (a film collaboration with visual artist A. L. Steiner that has also toured the world, but that did not star Martin Mull) that was part of the “Dance with Camera” exhibition at the ICA last year. Layla and Sonya share an interest in performance and installation and describe their creations as “highly visual time-based works which explore the intersection between architecture or place, and human interaction.” With a particular attraction to empty places, public spaces, geological formations, time travel, and psychedelic filigree, the artists’ intricate structures traverse inanimate, human and extra-pedestrian states.

“It’s so exciting to be here in Philadelphia,” says Sonya. “It feels so welcoming. Already the pace feels a bit more relaxed than New York City, which is refreshing.” Layla adds, “And working in this space is fantastic. Spaces like this, with all the equipment and freedom to just play and work out ideas don’t really exist in New York. It’s just amazing to be here.”

Until now the LAB has not had the opportunity to work with many artists from outside of Philadelphia. While the space is filled with artists on any given day, funding has not been available to support residencies for visiting artists. Says Peterson, “I think it’s important to have artists come to town to make work here and interface with the creative community in Philadelphia. I hope that the LAB can be a creative destination for working artists and I want to use our activity as a way for the Philly community to meet with and learn from a variety of creative voices.”

robbinschilds will be working in the LAB daily until Saturday, May 15. To learn more about their work, visit HERE.

Of course, we’re hoping they decide to move here.

See their work live at this week’s Second Thursday, May 12, at 7pm at the Live Arts Studio, 919 North 5th Street (at Poplar), free onsite parking, free event, complimentary beverages.

–Craig Stephenson