Stuart Flack, the fall 2018 University of Wisconsin–Madison Division of the Arts‘ Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence, and students will present “Data Vaudevilles: Bits & Bytes” in the H.F. DeLuca Forum at the Discovery Building (330 N. Orchard Street, Madison) on Saturday, December 8 at 2 pm. Stuart Flack is a playwright, producer, social entrepreneur, and policy researcher who explores incorporating complex data into live performance.
“Data Vaudevilles” will feature a series of short vaudeville-style “bits” performed by seven UW-Madison students in Flack’s residency course with support from local professional clown Jacob Mills. Students who created work for this event are Robert Brookens, Chris Castillo, Reggie Liu, Isabel Martín Sánchez, Nick Pjevach, Zach Pulse, and Abby Swetz. These students represent a wide range of areas of study including Arts Administration, Public Affairs, Oboe Performance, Technical Theatre, Spanish & Portuguese, and Composition & Rhetoric.
This free performance is the culminating event of the residency’s course, “Performing Information: Exploring Data through Live Performance.” During the semester, students learned how to engage in data analysis while studying theatrical approaches to sharing that data in unique and performative ways, such as performing infographics. The three to five minute-long ‘bits’ utilize a variety of techniques drawn from theater, street performance, clowning and dance. They also employ music, poetry, humor, LEGO® blocks, Solo® cups, digital technology, and a wide range of other surprises.
The content of the final performances is sourced from a variety of data sets, with students choosing subjects such as water quality and nitrates, eating disorders, and the export of garbage to developing nations. One student will utilize business cards in a series of magic tricks to show the socio-demographics of Fortune 500 companies. Another will use LEGO® blocks and data from the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) report on migrant children following their separation from their families at the Mexico-U.S. border, tracking those who have been reunified, those held in custody, or pursuing asylum.
“There are many topics about the world that artists want to make pieces about and want to explore. Many of those things can be made using traditional tools or modes but many of these subject areas, climate change as an example, requires some new ways of communication. We’re looking for new ways to harness data to inform people about the issues we care about most.” – Stuart Flack
Students developed these new works over a six-week period, supported by the guidance of professional performers Marcia Miquelon and Jacob Mills (Mazomanie, Wis.), guest artist Adrian Danzig of 500 Clown (Chicago), and Angela Richardson, local artist and residency lead.
Since this event is inspired by street performances, the audience will move through the space, following the performers. Attendees are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes. An open discussion with the performers follows the show.
Name: “Data Vaudevilles: Bits & Bytes”
When: Saturday, Dec. 8 | 2-3 p.m.
Where: H.F. DeLuca Forum, Discovery Building | 330 N. Orchard St., Madison
Cost: Free and open to the public
Stuart Flack’s residency is presented by the UW–Madison Division of the Arts and hosted by the Bolz Center for Arts Administration at the Wisconsin School of Business with Angela Richardson as lead faculty. Co-sponsors include the Design Studies Department, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and Wisconsin Union Theater.