Happy Hour on the Fringe: 2019 LOVE Park Artists
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Happy Hour on the Fringe: 2019 LOVE Park Artists

Posted August 27th, 2019

On this episode of Happy Hour on the Fringe, we share a drink with Marc Wilken from Parks and Recreation and three independent Fringe Festival artists: Dana Suleymanova (Dear qupid), Eric Thayer (Give Your Heart), and Leah Stein with Asimina Chremos (RISE: Relationship is Self Existing).  All of the performances are participatory and engage with the City of Brotherly Love as they explore love, the beating heart, and how human bodies share space in LOVE Park this September.

Featured photo: RISE: Relationship Is Self Existing

Listen to the episode and read the transcript below.

Conversation with Love Park Artists

[Music Intro]

Raina: Hello and welcome to Happy Hour on the Fringe. Fringe Arts is Philadelphia’s premier presenter of contemporary performing arts. I’m Raina Searles Marketing Manager here at FringeArts and I invite you to pour one up and enjoy our conversations with some of the most imaginative people on this plane of existence.

Raina: Today we’re excited to be speaking with some of the independent artists in the 2019 Fringe Festival who will be performing in Love Park this year, presented by Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. With us here today, I’d like to welcome Marc Wilken from Parks and Recreation, Dana Suleymanova, creator of Dear qupid, Eric Thayer, creator of Give Your Heart and Asimina Chremos and Leah Stein, co-creators of RISE: Relationship is Self Existing. Welcome.

Leah: Thank you.

Raina: So to start off, since it’s Happy Hour on the Fringe, our first question is always, what are we all drinking? Today where we’re feeling a little light. It’s noon, but we’re having water.

Eric: It’s delicious.

Leah: It’s 100 degrees out.

Asimina: I already drank all mine already.

Raina: So just to kind of start off, we would love to do some framing for the projects that are happening in Love Park. So Marc, could you tell us a little bit about the recent renovation of Love Park and what led you to seek out these artistic activations of the park?

Marc: Sure. Parks and Rec and the Conservancy have certainly been trying to animate and activate Love Park over the last year. With the new renovations we really wanted to change the dynamic of the space, make it more inclusive and diverse, make it so people can come across the park and maybe come across something unexpected, something they may not see in another space, and just have conversations around people and public spaces so they can begin to think about what is public space in the future?

Raina: How did we come to this partnership where we’re now presenting Love Park presentations in the Fringe Festival?

Marc: Well, Fringe is pretty weird and unexpected, so I think there was tons of synergy around the festival and and what’s been successful over the years. We thought it would be great to Love Park to be integrated into the series and try to be a host site to bring on all these innovative, imaginative artists to think about Love Park, what it means to them, what it could mean to Philadelphians, and to have a story around again, how we use our public spaces.

Raina: And what were you looking for in the pieces that you wanted to bring in?

Marc: I think one of the big things we looked for is something that’s very interactive, something that people can engage with, touch, listen, feel, have a powerful moment, have a playful moment and everything in between. We also know Love Park is a very transient space. So how people are connected through that space, individuals walking through and how they are sort of tied together on one plane, I think it’s definitely compelling for us.

Marc: So providing a variety of programming that’s diverse, different, unique, and also stands out throughout the month that we host is important to us. And I think the three artists really presented really compelling proposals that I think will be a fun way to engage the audiences, people that again kind of walk through and maybe aren’t even expecting a show and then have this kind of really intimate experience, we’re really excited about.

Raina: So let’s talk about what those intimate experiences will be. Can we just go around and everyone can give your own introduction and then what your piece will be?

Dana: So my name is Dana. I just moved to Philadelphia about five months ago from Houston, Texas. So I’m just super excited to be in the city and get a chance to make some work in a very public space like Love Park. Yeah, I think my introduction to Love Park was in a very touristy format and it still frames the way I think about it. So I think, yeah, my piece does activate, especially like interested in the love sign as a place of photo taking, but also I’ll be performing alongside it, giving free love advice.

happy hour on the fringe love park

Dear qupid

Dana: So people passing through the space, whether that’d be on their lunch breaks or around like during the day will be invited, if they choose to ask me any sort of a love questions that are pending in their lives and trust me to respond accordingly. So it’s a very playful piece and I’m pretty excited to see the ways that people interact with it. So yeah, I’m really excited to get a chance to do it.

Marc: What’s the piece called?

Dana: It’s called Dear qupid. So I’ll be dressed in a diaper with some feathered wings and a series of a bow and arrow that I created out of like rubber bands and plaster. So it’s all very handmade and there’ll be like cardboard props and puppeteers. So I guess in the description that you would be able to find online, like a shoddy lemonade stand created by a child or like a childhood theater play or that is very wonky and low production.

Eric: Hi, my name is Eric. I’ve lived in Philadelphia for a couple of years. I actually also came from Houston where I went to grad school. My project is called, Give Your Heart. It’s a participatory sound event that’s going to incorporate or it’s going to use medical technology as an inroad to a a community participatory event. I think this is a good time to mention that my project is sponsored by ThinkLabs and they were generous enough to furnish the digital stethoscopes that I’ll be using, so I do want to thank them for their generosity.

happy hour on the fringe love park

Give Your Heart

Eric: Yeah, the piece is also going to be in the shadow of the Robert Indiana sculpture. And essentially what I’ll be doing is bringing people in, monitoring their heartbeats with the digital stethoscopes, layering and re-projecting those sounds into Love Park and my hope is that it sounds like a communal drum circle. I’m very influenced by social sound, music as a social binder. I’m interested in creating communities with my work and I’m also interested in very experimental work. I don’t often repeat performances, so I’ve never done this before. We will see how it goes.

Leah: Looking forward. My name is Leah and I’m excited to be collaborating with Asimina on RISE. And I’m very interested in public space and movement and how movement can activate our awareness of each other. Also of the place itself and not creating a separation between ourselves and the environment, which is a thread in a lot of my site specific works. And there’s something about having this experience, I love the way you describe what we’re all doing here and that something shifts in people’s attention in a place that they may have been before or they’re not really thinking about it, and then when they return they carry that with them. Which I can imagine with you guys, what I’m hearing what you guys are doing too. So, Mina you want to say more about RISE?

Asimina: Sure. My name is Asimina. I’m a dancer and interdisciplinary artist in the city. I danced in Leah’s company years ago even before it was a company and I’ve been very interested in how when we’re moving through public space, we’re aware of the formations and constellations and constantly shifting groupings that we’re making with each other. RISE stands for Relationship is Self Existing. Which means that whether or not we’re aware of it, we are in relationship with other people.

Asimina: So Leah came to mind when I was looking at this proposal that was the call for entries for the Love Park artworks. And I thought, oh, this project of mine that I’ve been trying to figure out, RISE, I would love to do it at Love Park, but I think I need a little bit more support. So Leah, she’s really strong on site specific work. I had tried this piece indoors before, and I thought, let me talk to Leah and see if we could work on this together and collaborate. So I’m really, really pleased that Leah and her company accepted to try this out and we’ll see what happens.

Raina: So how do you expect this piece to look different from past iterations being outdoors and being in Love Park specifically?

Asimina: Well in the past I had tried to use masking tape to get participants to create a graphic representation of their relationship. And I don’t know if that is going to work in the outdoor space. We’re going to talk about it. Leah’s company put out a call for participation, so we have 30 people signed up to meet with us coming up very soon in a week or two to try out some ideas. So I’m not sure. Basically my answer is I don’t know yet. We’ll see.

Leah: Yeah, I mean I’m interested in the not knowing and experimenting, but I’m also just there’s so many elements there like the chairs, and the ping pong tables and the grass and the fountain. So I feel like that we’ll be doing something with those, like really what’s there and how we connect the people in the space integrated with those elements and of course the love and the love Philly. So you know how we all are connected with these elements, physical space, physical bodies and like that our hearts are there too.

Raina: And Eric, for you, you’ve talked about this idea of communal music and kind of bringing communities together. How did you decide to bring this medical technology into that?

Eric: Well, I’m approaching 40 and I’m beginning to realize that my body is changing in some pretty profound ways. And I’ve been looking, yeah, it’ll happen to you, in some profound ways. And I’ve been thinking about how I can be more introspective and how I can use my body and its changes in my practice. And it started with some different videos and some other different 2D works. But I was really fascinated by sound. And so I began to think about what sounds does my make? And you know as a guy being immediately thinking about the sophomoric things that my body can do.

Eric: But I realized that my heart is, it constantly makes sound and I thought to myself, wow, if I can project these sounds. And then I started thinking about family vacations. I have a big family and … we haven’t done one in a while, but we done some big vacations where everybody brings drums and guitars and we just start making noise until we can’t make noise anymore because somebody comes to say, hey, it’s midnight. You can’t do that.

Eric: And so I started to think about the heart as a percussion instrument and then how it, and then how it can kind of take a physical form or a performance or a concert. I actually applied to a festival in Houston. Dana might be familiar with Experimental Action, and I submitted an iteration of Give Your Heart and it was rejected and I said, okay, that’s no problem. And then Love Park came around and it just seemed like the proper site in which to to do this performance, even way better than Houston. No offense to Houston or anything. But Love Park just stood out as this kind of location in the heart of the city, no less, with the Robert Indiana sculpture. And so I really jumped at the chance to try to perform here. And thankfully Marc was generous enough to select the performance.

Marc: To be honest, I mean they all spoke to us from the context of Love Park and connecting people. And I appreciate the communal concept. I think we at Parks and Rec and the Conservancy are also embracing that. We just launched a music cart that has functioned as sort of a impromptu jam session series with both classes, but also people just playing with an instruments for the first time and we’ve had several kind of unexpected jam happenings where people from different walks of life come together and make some music randomly. It’s very organic, without any really nudging other than having instruments on site.

Marc: So those would actually be at Love Park in the fall so there’ll be much more a sense in place of people coming together to create art or experience art with this festival. So we’re excited to see all the things come together next month.

Raina: I love the idea about it being the heart of the city because we talked so much about Center City and Love Park is like this iconic like love, heart, you know, like right in the middle of everything but also being this place that you can kind of go in the middle of all of the traffic and the busy streets all around it that says we can go and actually just experience art and interactive art and kind of take a moment to step outside of that and be surrounded by people dancing or by the sounds of beating hearts. Yeah.

Raina: And Dana, I’d love to also know a little bit more by your piece because when I read your show description, what immediately came to my mind is the Peanuts cartoon and Lucy’s psychiatric booth.

Eric: All for a nickel yeah.

Raina: And so I’m wondering what your inspiration for this piece was and what can the audience expect coming to see your performance and what kind of advice do you have to give?

Dana: Yeah, for sure. Yeah, no, I’m glad you mentioned that because I’m a big cartoon fan so I have like thought about the idea of something like a lemonade stand or, yeah, I guess like failure and naivete is something I’m really interested in my work especially because I am like so young and the idea of … I feel like I also, if you ever see me in person, I have a baby face and I’m very short. So like I think in a lot of my performative personas, I like to play to that. Those like expectations of me I think when people just see how my body and stature looks.

Dana: So I’m interested in that and how it relates to maybe something like a failed business or something where you’re trying to like provide a service and maybe people are interested, but there’s also the idea that people will be really weirded out or put off and that’s also fine with me. And that’s something I’m like interested in.

Dana: And when I did this piece in Houston, it was, you mentioned for Experimental Action Festival, which happens every two years and it’s kind of a new thing in Houston which is really great because it finally kind of brought together performance in like an event setting, which I don’t think the city of Houston really had that much before of like an outlet to bring a lot of performers from all over. So that was super awesome to get a chance to participate in.

Dana: Yeah, the first rendition of the piece was like honestly my first time really doing anything interactive and so I was obviously a little scared, like kind of giving up that control and not really trying to trust that I will react in the right ways in the moment. And there was a variety of love questions that I received and I was honestly like surprised at some of the vulnerability that people showed. I thought because it is a playful piece and comedy is something I like to use a lot in like kind of a slapstick goofy setup. But I feel like some people really trusted me with a lot of their baggage or just, it kind of put me in a position where I was like, wow, some of these questions are like super intense and poignant and some of them are obviously like people writing boobies on the paper or like something very childish that’s not really even a question. Yeah.

Dana: I was put in a position where I had to like assess in the moment I guess or maybe questions that were more like playful or generic, I would reciprocate in also a playful or generic response. But I felt that when people asked very serious things that they’re probably dealing with, I had to meet them halfway and do my best to kind of, yeah, answer their love questions.

Dana: And I realized I feel like in that piece I don’t really know much about love at all because it was a lot of really difficult questions. So I’ve had a couple months to learn some more about love and hopefully done some research and I’m excited to like kind of see what new questions I’ll get asked. Yeah.

Asimina: Do people, I’ve heard you describe a little bit before, but about the arrows or I don’t know if you want to give it away, I’m so interested in the possibility for other people who maybe didn’t even ask a question, but do they go far into this space? And do people get to respond?

Dana: So yeah, no, that’s a great question. So I guess I’ll kind of talk about maybe the setup of the piece. So it is … I’ll be sitting on top of a ladder with a lot of like sort of moving props to set the space of like me essentially being Cupid sitting in the sky, like awaiting people to ask me their love questions, which will be dropped into a bucket via a pulley system. That I’ll pull up to the ladder and it’ll be written on sheets of paper with like a pen or something. And so I’ll read, it’s kind of like one by one. So I try to like control the amount of influx of questions by when the bucket is pulled up, I’ll like kind of hold it up there.

Dana: Yeah. So and I answer on the back of the paper. And so I’m also limited by the size of the paper. So sometimes people will ask very extensive things that obviously like involve maybe a paragraph or like a whole novel in response. But I am also like limited to how much I can give away. And so then those sheets of paper are attached to the bottoms of the arrows, like the arrow feather. And I use my best archery skills to try to aim and shoot back at the person. And a lot of times I’ll miss or sometimes the person maybe walks away and sometimes there’s a crowd the forms that are just kind of looking at the arrows that can pile at the bottom on the floor and just kind of read and like laugh to themselves or so it is sort of like anonymous as well.

Dana: So there’s like a pile kind of starts to grow and people are able to also read other people’s questions and love advice. So it’ll be interesting to see.

Eric: Dana you also mentioned trust, I think that’s another commonality that we all have here. We’re all, A, trusting that the audience is going to be okay inserting themselves in the performance and they’re also trusting us not to, I guess not to betray them in a certain way, it should really kind of involve them in a safe way within the performance. I think it’s a really key element to all three of the projects that we’re doing.

Dana: And I think especially in performance, maybe more than other visual art that I do like sculpture, like maybe, I mean there’s trust that I create a sculpture that won’t fall and like injure someone, but I feel like in this sort of setting there’s like, yeah, there’s trust that I’m not going to endanger you or that I have your best intentions at heart, which I think is also something that really interests me in the history of performance art and stuff where some performers do really play on that trust by testing the limits of their bodies. So, yeah.

Marc: Yeah. I would add that we, tying into what everyone shared, Love Park, we view it as a laboratory to sort of test and stretch and pull what is possible in public spaces. And we also support all kinds of artistic performances, live music and other art. But we also want to try to really highlight these kind of more deeper or exotic or unique performances that test people to think a little more about what it is while doing, yeah, raising awareness of your surroundings and that there are other people that are in your space and that these people connect in some way.

Leah: Just real quick, well there’s an artist in Philadelphia, Jungwoong Kim, and he did a performance called SaltSoul and it was at the Asian Arts Initiative. He did these performances in public spaces including Dilworth Plaza and it was remarkable the way people joined in. And I do feel like it’s something about, so it was a powerful piece about a combination of loss, like the Korean tugboat and the people who were lost on that ship. And he was really connecting to also the Salvation Army on Market Street where people who are lost in that space and how he was honoring that in the space and how people came together. It was amazing the people who were not part of the performance who just actually were-

Raina: Really invested.

Leah: Really invested and actually became performers. And I’m so, it’s fascinating to me and it’s not always obvious, so I’m really curious how we approach that and also with a different tone in Love Park our inclusivity and real like connection with people.

[FringeArts commercial]

Stephanie: Hi, I hope you’re enjoying this interview as much as I am. It’s always great to hear from the artists and their processes as well as their influences and inspirations. My name is Stephanie, I’m the podcasting intern for Fringe Arts. The Independent Artists FestiFund of Culture Trust is a scholarship fund creating grants for Fringe Festival artists who need our support to continue their important work. If you would like to support the artists participating in the 2019 Fringe Festival, visit fringearts.com/festifund. That’s F-E-S-T-I-F-U-N-D, to donate to FestiFund winners Elizabeth Zimmerman, Stacy Shorts, Leah Stein, Marissa Kelly, and Tara Lee. And who knows, one of these artists will probably be on a future episode of Happy Hour in the Fringe.

Fringe Arts thanks our Fringe Festival supporters, including the Durst Organization, M&T Bank, Parx Casino, the University of Pennsylvania, our producer circle and members and listeners like you. Now let’s get back to our Happy Hour in the Fringe Interview.

[End FringeArts commercial]

Raina: One question I have for all of you that has come up is this idea of the interactive, and I’m curious, how do you prepare for audience interaction? Broadly like what are you thinking when you know you won’t know the questions you’re going to get or you don’t know who’s going to come in and be interacting with your piece? How do you prepare for that?

Eric: About 85%, and then you just let the last 15% just do what it does. That’s my approach anyway, because you, I mean, you can’t really prepare for every inevitability, so you just have to be able to roll with it. You just have to be flexible.

Leah: Yeah, it’s good to spend time in that space and see how people behave. Just watching, what do people do in that space? Personally thinking about how does that happen in that space? Like how do, and people often ask people to take pictures. So I’m just noticing kind of what interactions are already naturally happening there. And then experiment I think. And also it helps to try things out with planted, you know, I think we’re going to experiment and have people who are not necessarily the general public or people we’ve invited to see to test it out.

Eric: Yeah. It’s always nice to have a ringer.

Leah: Yeah. Yeah.

Asimina: I mean I think a lot about performance as being as an organism where the audience is part of the performance so that even if you’re just going to a symphony orchestra, which has a very formal kind of setup of like the musicians are on the stage and the people are in the audience, that’s still an interactive, participatory kind of thing. Like the people are there, the artists are there. There’s the collaboration and an agreement already. And then as you get into more experimental forms of who’s the audience and who is the performer? You know, the space can change.

Asimina: All kinds of things can change, especially in a public space. You could have numerous little performances with numerous little audiences and then things can happen to such an extent that you’re not sure who’s the performer and who is the audience. Who’s watching, who’s allowing themselves to be seen? And I’m really looking forward to experimenting and exploring all that. But coming from a basis of recognizing that performance is already participatory on some subtle level and just how we can kind of work with that and highlight some aspects of it and maybe down play other aspects.

Dana: Yeah, I feel like, I mean I don’t know if you really prepare for, I mean I guess that, I think that’s just like kind of the other good part of it and maybe why performance is so interesting. You can’t always like be ready for things that happen and you just need to kind of expect the unexpected or expect like disruption or whatever. And I think like those things sometimes make the piece even more interesting or like the ways that you choose to react to certain things in your environment happening. They all feed into the piece. So I think just being in an open mindset where you’re kind of ready for weird possibly strange things to happen is good.

Asimina: Yeah. I mean it’s an energy exchange. If you didn’t, I mean you could do your whole piece without anybody there, but then it would or with just people who already knew what was gonna happen but that would be a different kind of exchange.

Eric: Yeah. The idea of bringing the audience onto your side as a creator of cultural content, not only a consumer, but simultaneously a generator and a consumer I think that’s where the magic happens. I mean, like you mentioned like an opera, I mean there’s an exchange going on, like you said, I don’t know how dynamic it is. I think to break the forth wall down and to really bring everybody in together and then like to confuse the idea between producer and consumer, I think that’s where really intense performance comes from. Really profound performance comes from.

Raina: I do think it’s interesting though, because you know, you mentioned the fourth wall and the fourth wall I think is really just this social contract. Like you know when you go to the orchestra at any moment you could stand up and boo, you could insert yourself into the piece but you kind of agree like I am sitting in the audience and not doing those things. I’m just watching.

Raina: And so there’s also the idea of like, what can you do to open it up to the audience? So how do they know you want them to participate? And I think in RISE especially, that’s a really interesting idea because it isn’t one where you’re specifically saying like come ask for advice, come let me do your heartbeat. It’s a dance piece that you want people to get involved in. So what does that invitation look like?

Asimina: We’re gonna figure that out. I feel like dance is maybe could be a misleading term in this case. We’re definitely going to be working with simple action, walking, standing, making eye contact, using peripheral vision. Using peripheral vision is something that I think that dancers are really good at and also athletes, but it’s not something that people necessarily use when they’re walking down the sidewalk, unfortunately, some people do, some people you notice that those eyes in the back of their head, they don’t even have to turn their head and they step to the side so you can go by. I always think that’s brilliant, but some people are pretty oblivious and especially now that we have phones, everybody’s looking at their phone.

Asimina: So when we are talking about dance, we’re talking about some of the skills that dance has, like awareness of yourself in space, awareness of your proximity to other bodies. But we’re not necessarily talking about breaking it down. So the kind of participation and we’re going to be looking at is doing like walking in directions and in groups and seeing how we might be able to like pull people into our–

Leah: Swarm.

Asimina: Our swarm or our tribe or our school of fish. We’re going to be looking at people who are ringers, who kind of know and who might walk in a formation into a crowd of people who might not necessarily be paying attention and then create some stillness in the middle of that, so that people find themselves in the middle of something.

Asimina: So those are the kinds of constructs that we’re looking at just simple things about bodies in space together, some of whom are moving very intentionally and might kind of like pull people into their awake. And some people who might just be there to meet a friend and the next thing they know they’re like there’s somebody standing really still right next to them and they’re part of a line that they didn’t know they were in a line or you know, things like that.

Asimina: Yeah. I hope that clarifies a little bit about the dance part of it, that we’re not going to be necessarily like waltzing around or breaking it down or anything like that.

Eric: It sounds like just kind of like I guess a like a daily choreography or an ordinary choreography, something like that. Just kind of bringing the fact that it is somehow choreographed. Like my walk to work is super choreographed. I stick to a very strict line that I go to. Certain streets, I turn left I turn right. And I noticed it the other day I said, oh my God, like I’m so programmed. And I think what you’re trying to do is just break that programming up a little bit.

Asimina: Yeah. Just a little bit of like, oh yeah, I’m part of a group here. You know, I’m not alone or it’s not just me and my family in a little circle licking our ice cream cones. Like this little circle is in the middle of a park that has other people in it doing other things. Just to kind of and the love part of it I feel is to recognize that we are all connected and we are all sharing space all the time, and that nobody is invisible.

Asimina: A lot of times we’ll go into a public space and there are some people that we just pretend not to see, you know, they’re not important for what we need at that moment. So we’re just like, oh, but if you really have awareness about walking through space, using your peripheral vision, you’ll recognize, oh, there’s a person sitting there, there’s a person lying down there, there’s another human being over there, there’s a bunch of people there. And we, I am with these people, we are together here.

Asimina: And in my own daily life I’m really challenging myself to kind of remember when I go into Trader Joe’s and everybody’s like spaced out, like standing forever in front of the yogurt to decide what they want. And I’m just like, get out of my way. And I’m like, no, we, we, it’s not just me trying to get my yogurt with this person in my way, me and this other person and the yogurt, like this is a system.

Leah: We all love yogurt.

Asimina: We are all connected. You know, there’s no reason for me to be grumpy like about this, this is what it means to share space with other people, especially in an urban environment where there’s a lot of us close together.

Dana: Yeah. Can I ask you a question about the piece? Yeah. I guess I’m curious like are you inspired by any other like dance pieces like when you were kind of thinking about how you wanted this piece to progress, or not even dance pieces, but I don’t know, is there any like sort of things that you’re tying into or pulling from?

Asimina: Well, Leah mentioned, do you want to mention those sort of historical precedents that you noted when I was sharing the idea with you?

Leah: Oh, well certainly, and I mean there’s such a strong history of breaking down the fourth wall in dance and in the ’60s of just people doing these performances and experiments. So that, I mean, I know even still I’m influenced by that. And I have, of course the fourth wall and pedestrian movement and juxtaposition that’s just happening in life. So the piece that Asimina was referring to is, I remember seeing, a Lucinda Childs piece, Reconstruction, she was part of the FringeArts I think a few years ago. So people were in the University of the Arts dance studio looking at Broad Street. And there was a performance that looked like, it’s that feeling of who’s performing and who’s the audience, who’s the, yeah. So I remembered that.

Leah: But I feel like I’m from that tradition in a way, but I love what you guys are both talking about and it’s not just we’re all here. And which is really important, let’s notice it, but how are we interacting? And I’ve been thinking about that in this piece of noticing how … Well people are in their, in our bodies, people are like not that aware of their bodies normally. Like that’s not a high priority in our culture, of course it is for dancers.

Leah: So my question is, how to make people feel okay about moving and being in a body and having a body and so how do we interact? How do we make eye contact? Kind of what is our … I’ve been thinking about that in that space. How do you look at people and just say, hey, and as the performers were kind of, my thought is that we’re inclusive. We’re not like doing this thing and hope you notice, we’re going to be like, we’re doing this thing. You can be with us or …

Eric: I love the inclusive, the word inclusivity that you use. What I’m trying to do with my performance, there’s a shared biology at work here too. It’s a kind of a universality. Hopefully people can understand that because we’ve all got hearts, they’re all beating. They’re all creating these percussive sounds. And hopefully the people that engage with the performance can absorb that, oh wow, this person isn’t so different. It’s universal. I hope that it serves as a way to to bring people together.

Raina: Awesome. So I think I would love to wrap up with one final question for you, Marc. About what else we can expect with … not just Love Park but the Philadelphia park system and the different locations?

Marc: Sure. You know one thing that stood out was the the tech component, the beating heart, capturing that personal very intimate thing that people probably don’t think about all the time. And art and tech I think is something we at Parks and Rec and we certainly want to continue explore how those things could engage with public spaces, whether it’s a structured program like a performance to more of a cast installation that’s there for a duration of time. So we’re definitely exploring what else that could be in the coming months and the coming years both at Love Park and other parks around the city.

Marc: We also want to do more kind of package, you know, art and performance installations in public space. So doing more like large scale installations in parks, like Fairmount Park where we have plenty of land to play with and doing installations where you can have performances around them, excites us. And I think also particularly Fringe, trying to work and grow our partnerships out into the neighborhoods to do more of these types of performances, not just downtown but also out into communities around the city so they could also have access to these types of performances and work with local artists in those neighborhoods to put them on. So continuing to support and engage with the creative economy that is the life line of our city and to begin to do more interactive pieces around the parks.

Raina: Great. Thank you all so much for joining us for this episode of Happy Hour on the Fringe.

Marc: Thank for having us.

Raina: So RISE: Relationship is Self Existing by Asimina Chremos and Leah Stein Dance Company will have three performances on September 14th. Give Your Heart, by Eric Thayer will be performed on September 9th, 11th, and 14th. And, Dear qupid by Dana Suleymanova will be performed on September 9th, 15th, and 22nd. All performances do have rain dates so make sure to check our website and the Fringe Arts app for more information. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. And we hope to see you in Love Park next month.

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