ENSEMBLE FOR NONLINEAR TIME
Ensemble for Nonlinear Time was a community-based residency and exhibition culminating in performances based on multidisciplinary storytelling with professional dancers and immigrant and refugee artists. This collaboration between choreographer Hope Mohr and multidisciplinary artist Ranu Mukherjee created new narratives about the future with people who have experienced remaking their lives. The project centers displaced voices and pairs them with the wisdom of the moving body.
Hope and Ranu conceived this project motivated by climate-based migration, and began collaborating during the pandemic with ARTogether, an Oakland-based nonprofit serving immigrant and refugee artists. In October of 2020, Ranu and Hope led the project’s pilot workshop. They continued these workshops throughout the fall of 2021 in both the Bay Area and Los Angeles, continuing their partnership with ARTogether in Oakland and adding a partnership with 18th Street Art Center in Los Angeles.
Through movement, drawing, and writing, artists from all mediums brought their stories, learned from each other, and collaborated. By imagining rupture as a character that changes over time, they connected to its lessons and their sense of continuity. In these safe spaces, they could give voice to what sustains them and create visions of possible futures.
The community-based residency at 836M pushed Ensemble for Nonlinear Time into its next phase, and during their three-month residency, Hope and Ranu developed their fall workshop series material into choreography with a select cast of dancers and community participants. They explored embodied narratives and built choreographic and film sequences centered around witnessing rupture as a learned experience. Hope and Ranu view this knowledge as essential to our time and catalyst for imaginative capacity, joy, and resilience.
Ensemble for Nonlinear Time had an intensive and rich process with performers, resulting in new multidisciplinary work that weaves together performance, video installation, and hybrid film. Visitors were invited to return to the gallery over the residency’s course to see the progression of performance and transformation of the gallery space into a future reimagined.
Hope has woven art and activism for decades as a choreographer, curator, community organizer, and writer. She co-directs The Bridge Project, which creates and supports equity-driven live art that centers artists as agents of change. As a dancer, Mohr trained at San Francisco Ballet School and on scholarship at the Merce Cunningham and Trisha Brown Studios in New York City. She performed in the companies of dance pioneers Lucinda Childs and Trisha Brown. Hope makes dances that “convey emotional and socio-political contexts that just ride underneath the surface of a rigorous vocabulary” (Dance View Times). She has directed performance projects with breast cancer survivors and military veterans. Her work has been presented in such venues as the Baltimore Museum of Art, Highways Performance Space (L.A.), Moody Center for the Arts (Houston), SFMOMA, ODC Theater, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She was named to the YBCA 100 in 2015 and was a 2016 YBCA Fellow. In 2014, Dance Magazine editor-in-chief Wendy Perron named Mohr one of the “women leaders” in the dance field. Her new book, Shifting Cultural Power: Case Studies and Questions in Performance, is forthcoming from the National Center for Choreography.
Ranu does hybrid work in painting, moving images, and installation to build new imaginative capacities, drawing on collage histories, feminist science fiction, and Indian mythological images. She is guided by the forces of ecology and non-human agency, diaspora and migration, motherhood, and transnational feminisms. Ranu has produced commissioned projects for the San Jose Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Asian Art Museum, the de Young Museum, the 2019 Karachi Biennale, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the San Francisco Arts Commission. Recent honors include a Lucas Visual Arts Fellowship at Montalvo Arts Center (2019-2022), Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2020), and a residency at 18th Street Arts Center Los Angeles (2022). Gallery Wendi Norris represents her, and Mukherjee is the Chair of Film at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.