Alice Gosti is an Italian-American choreographer and hybrid performance artist who has presented her work at local venues including On the Boards, Seattle Art Museum, Intiman Theater, as well as internationally. She is the founder of Yellow Fish // Epic Durational Performance Festival, as well as the creator of several site-specific durational works including Invisible Womxn and Bodies of Water.
Alice first discovered durational performance through experimental performances she saw growing up in Italy. Her parents are both visual artists, and seeing performances in galleries with them helped Alice realize dance’s potential beyond traditional venues. “It made me feel like what I was doing, dance and body-based work had a lot of space in museums and galleries but in its own way,” she explains, adding that she often wondered, “If they can do this in galleries and museums, why can’t we do that in concert venues for dance and vice versa?”
In 2014, Alice received a GAP to assist with the creation of How to Become a Partisan, a five-hour durational performance inspired by the Italian Partisan movement. The show premiered in 2015 at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle, and looked at the role women played in the movement’s success as well as the visibility/invisibility of women in the present day. It was Alice’s first large-scale durational piece and held particular importance for her because, as she explains, “Before How to Become a Partisan, no one had ever asked me, ‘What do you dream about making?’” Which is what Tonya Lockyer, Artistic Director of Velocity Dance Center, asked where as they were working on Alice’s Made in Seattle project.
How to Become a Partisan helped pave the way for several other durational works and, as Alice calls them, “political spectacles.” In 2016, Bodies of Water premiered at the Seattle waterfront. In 2017, Invisible Womxn was performed at Velocity Dance Center’s Strictly Seattle Festival and excerpts from it were also performed at Bumbershoot.
In March, Alice’s most recent production, Material Deviance in Contemporary American Culture, premiered at On the Boards. Alice first found inspiration for the show after reading an article about hoarding. As she learned more about the topic, Alice says she realized, “I wasn’t as interested in talking about hoarders as I was about objects, how we relate to objects, and how objects are so important to us and define so much of our identity.”
Alice refined ideas for the show through a series of residencies, including the Millay Colony for the Arts residency she received as part of her 2017 Fellowship award. The month-long residency allowed her to spend time creating a script and plans for the show, and to begin establishing a more regular artistic practice. “It was incredible,” says Alice on the residency. “I hope that it continues forever because I just spent a month being trusted that I could do anything I needed. […] It was pretty much like, ‘Here’s the space, here’s the time, but you know what? It’s also a beautiful property so you can go for walks and have nature and silence inspire you.’ And I really needed all that. I really needed to have the time to establish a daily practice, and being in a place like the Millay Colony really allowed me to understand what I wanted that to be and how I wanted that to happen.”
Asked if she has any advice for artists considering applying for grants like GAP and the Fellowships, Alice says, “If making art is what you want to do, apply every time. Do not get discouraged if you don’t get selected over and over again. Persist. Find people that are willing to read through your work or help you, or hire people that are willing to help you because it’s always worth it.”
Material Deviance in Contemporary American Culture is set to go on tour later this year. In addition to preparing the show to travel, Alice is also creating an adaptation of How to Become a Partisan to be performed in Italy on June 9th, 2018 and developing concepts for a multi-year project exploring stereotypes surrounding immigrants.
To learn more about Alice and her current projects, visit her website.
Megan Gallagher is a writer from Redmond, Washington. She currently serves as Artist Trust’s Communications Intern.