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Artist, Choreographer

April 1, 2015
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Madeline Hollander

Current location and where you come from.


What do you do?

I choreograph movement sequences and capture physical gestures – these manifest as either live performance or video installation.

How long have you been doing what you do? Why did you start?

I have always been fascinated by physical movement — whether it be human, mechanical, planetary, unconscious, invisible, etc. — and the limits and similarities across different scales and mediums. I have always identified people by their specific movements or poses, the way that most people recognize someone by their face or voice.  There was no real starting point, but for my 7th birthday my parents gave me my own set of wood-working tools and ballet lessons. I have been finding ways to combine dance with invention ever since.

Where is your favorite place to go for inspiration and why?

Airports, beaches, gyms, waiting rooms – any environment that guarantees a landscape of awkward movements and poses performed by a wide range of bodies at various stress levels. I love watching how people wait in line, multi-task while writing texts, sunbathe, walk through sand, show-off, take selfies, weave through crowds lugging bags… It’s incredible how many different ways someone can get into the ocean. If I am at home, I’ll browse YouTube for slow-motion sports replays of fouls, feats, and collisions or skim “How it’s Made” videos for interesting Rube Goldberg-like maneuvers. I can always rely on Buster Keaton, C. Chaplin, Marx Brothers, Maya Deren, Merce Cunningham, Charles Atlas, and Yvonne Rainer for inspiration.

What ideas, books, people, films, artists, etc are inspiring you personally or informing your work right now? 

RIght now in the studio I am particularly interested in things that spin/loop to yield a goal — the Large Hadron Collider, cement trucks, ceiling fans, rock polishers, washing machines, etc. I’m experimenting with ways choreography —  through cycles and repetition — can also evolve both naturally (physical exhaustion) and intentionally (choreographically) to achieve a goal..or create a mess.

Also, I just finished reading Feelings are Facts, Yvonne Rainer’s autobiography. It was  was amazing because it is essentially a diary full of gritty and explicit stories of her personal relationships, choreographic process, and depicts the Judson-era from an inside-out perspective. It unveils the intricacies and relationship dynamics between the main figureheads and presents real human beings instead of their legacies.

Who are your favorite people to collaborate with and what does collaboration bring to your work?

I have always collaborated with my sister, Celia Hollander, who has been making the music and sound compositions for my work. The evolution of her compositions and my choreography occur simultaneously and mutually inform each other, which ends up generating an incredible momentum. However, unlike other collaborations that usually entail learning new languages or techniques, my sister and I are so fluent with each other’s minds and processes that it feels more like osmosis than ‘collaboration.’  Recently I have had the pleasure of working with the artists Alexandra Lerman, Elizabeth Jaeger, and Ian Cheng, and each of these experiences have taught me new ways to contextualize and challenge my own work.

Do you have any rituals or practices that help you get into the creative zone? 

Taking a ballet class, watching films in reverse, walking up the Hudson.

If you could collaborate with anyone in the world (living or dead), who would it be and what would you do together. 

A hypnotist, an amputee, a pick-pocket, a pilot, a psychic, a surgeon, a bee hive, a sports team, a windmill…

What’s been your career highlight?

It’s ironic, but two years ago I broke my foot while performing Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake at the Teatro Liceo in Barcelona. This led me to focus more of my time and energy on choreography.

What do you think our generation’s creative legacy will be?

Introducing/inducing an entirely new form of memory and attention.

What’s the most memorable dream you’ve had recently?

Last night I dreamt that I was wearing a ton of oversized scuba diving gear and jumped into a small lagoon that apparently reached the center of the Earth, or was just infinitely deep. Knowing the “ground” was so far away made swimming around feel like I was actually hundreds of miles high up above something and I kept getting waves of vertigo mixed with awe. I don’t remember what happened with all of the gear or what happened next.

Where are your favorite places to eat, drink, visit, or hang out in your city?

The Ear Inn

What’s something that you haven’t experienced yet that you want to? 

Flying an airplane by myself.

Tell us a secret.

(I have synesthesia)

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