The University of Wisconsin–Madison Division of the Arts welcomed artist/consultant/citizen scientist Stuart Flack as the Fall 2018 Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence.
Along with faculty and staff from the Bolz Center for Arts Administration and Associate Professor Kevin Ponto of the Design Studies Department, Flack brought together ideas from social science, design, computer science, theater, dance, and writing to examine the theoretical background, history, and most importantly, the practical issues around incorporating complex information into live performance.
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About the Artist
Stuart Flack is playwright, producer, social entrepreneur, and policy researcher based in Chicago. His award-winning work includes productions at many of the leading theaters in the United States. He has worked with The Seldoms, a Chicago-based dance/theatre company, on two full-length works, currently touring, which examine power, politics, and social action. In 2015, Stuart Flack was commissioned by Steppenwolf Theatre Company to adapt John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me.
Flack is currently a Senior Fellow at the Environmental Law & Policy Center where he is leading The Community-Based Environmental Monitoring and Public Health Advocacy Project. He is also developing a performance piece with the Invisible Institute, a Chicago-based community action group which monitors and disseminates data on police misconduct.
As a producer, he ran the Chicago Humanities Festival, the largest festival of arts and ideas in the United States from 2007 through 2012. From 1990–2007, he was a partner at the global consulting firm of McKinsey & Company.
Stuart Flack’s residency was 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 included the Design Studies Department, WARF, and Wisconsin Union Theater.
The UW–Madison Division of the Arts has hosted world-class artists in residence since 1995 and formally launched the Interdisciplinary Arts Residency Program (IARP) in 1999. The IARP is made possible by funding from the university’s Office of the Provost.
Adrian Danzig is the Founder and Creative Director of 500 Clown, a Chicago-based physical theater company. He has led workshops in physical theater all around the country and internationally. His credits include Comedy of Errors at California Shakespeare Festival, The Feast: an intimate Tempest at Chicago Shakespeare, and The Better Half with Lucky Plush Productions. He has performed in shows at The Goodman, The Second City, Steppenwolf Studio, Berkeley Rep, Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Court Theatre, and Lookingglass. Danzig was an early Neo-futurist and a founding member of Redmoon Theater and Hubinspoke Theater. He received his BA (government) from Oberlin College and his MFA (performance) from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. He has studied clown with Ctibor Turba, Philippe Gaulier, Ronlin Foreman, Dominique Jando, Els Comediants, David Shiner, and Avner the Eccentric, and was a clown with Big Apple Circus Clown Care. He is writing a book on physical theater with support from the Raven Foundation.
Jacob Mills is a professional actor, physical comedian, and educator. He has been performing and teaching since 1974. He is a past artist-in-residence for Chicago, and his performances have been featured in a wide array of venues in the United States and Europe, including schools, theaters, festivals, and cruise ships. Mills has performed with Cycropia Aerial Dance, Cherry Pop Burlesque, and Chicago’s Zyngara New World Circus. He has been a featured instructor at the Rhinelander School of the Arts. From 1981-2009, he toured and performed with the juggling and comedy duo, Cheney and Mills. In 2002, he co-founded the Wild Rumpus Circus with Marcia Miquelon and teaches mime, mask movement forms, acting, improvisation, and a variety of circus skills. Jacob studied theater at Cabrillo College in California, the Goodman School of Drama, and graduated from Hayes-Marshall School of Theatre Arts in Portland, Oregon.
Marcia Miquelon is a dancer, improviser, aerialist, stilt walker movement teacher, and project manager whose background includes ballet, modern dance, improvisation, African, and Latin dance. She joined Cycropia Aerial Dance in 1994, and performed, taught, choreographed, and directed projects with this unique artists’ collective for over 20 years. In 2002, she opened the Mazo Movement Arts Center and co-founded the Wild Rumpus Circus. She has produced many workshops, festivals, and events featuring internationally known teaching artists, particularly in contact improvisation and aerial dance, and she has worked as a teacher and performer in locales including Andara, Namibia; Boeblingen, Germany; and Doha, Qatar. She holds a BA (modern studies) from the University of Virginia, a 200-hour yoga teacher certification, and an adjunct certification in the Skinner Releasing Technique (dance/movement).
Resources + Media Mentions
- Isthmus reported on the final residency event in Dazzling with data
- The final residency event was covered by The Cap Times in Juggling the numbers: Vaudevillian showcase explores ways of ‘performing’ data
- Read “WSB-Hosted Artist in Residence Coaches Students to Blend Art and Information,” courtesy of the Wisconsin School of Business
- View photos of the Wisconsin Science Festival in “A hands-on exploration of science.”
- Learn more about Stuart’s work with LEGOs in this The Cap Times interview.
Performing Information: Exploring Data through Live Performance
Course: Integrated Arts 312 / Integrated Arts 612 Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence lecture meets with Management and Human Resources 365 / Management and Human Resources 765
Day/Time: Thursdays, 3:00 – 6:00 pm
Updated Location: Room 2210 R/S (2nd floor, WSB Learning Commons Business Library), Grainger Hall | 975 University Avenue
Limit: 18 students across any discipline
Description: Each three-hour course session mixed discussion of the week’s reading, analysis of data and information techniques, and workshops in which students apply and test their thinking. Three to four of the workshops were led by practitioners in dance, clowning, dramaturgy, information design, or virtual reality. Students toggled between theoretical, historical, creative/practical modes, continually applying what they learned in the actual making of information-driven performance in a workshop setting through collaborative and experimental trial and error.
Download the course flyer (PDF).
- Stuart led the course “Devising Work for the Stage: A Playwriting Workshop.”
- Aspiring playwrights learned to write a 10-minute play at Stuart’s “Quick Theatre Workshop.“
- Guest artists Marcia Miquelon and Jacob Mills conducted a series of workshops as part of Stuart’s class and provide mentorship for students as they prepared for the final event!
- Learn more about Stuart’s project What Color is __?, a Wisconsin Science Festival event, by watching the video “Data visualization with color blocks.”
The Bolz Center for Arts Administration welcomes Stuart Flack in conversation with Adrian Danzig for “The Serious Business of Clowning Around: Work and the Creative Process.”
The Seldoms are a Chicago-based dance company committed to igniting thought and understanding of real-world issues to their audiences.
Guest Artists Marcia Miquelon and Jacob Mills speak about their lives as performers, educators, and founders of the Wild Rumpus Circus.
Children, teens, and adults from across the state, as well as visitors to the Town Center at The Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, “answer” a 25-question survey using 2×4 Lego blocks of various colors from a standard Lego set.
Presentation about the “What Color is ______?” by Stuart Flack and Associate Professor Kevin Ponto, School of Human Ecology, Design Studies and faculty in the Virtual Environments Group at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery.
Whether scripted or devised from scratch through improvisation, explore the many possibilities of creating anew piece of theatre in this free workshop.
Budding playwrights will get a chance to work with professional playwright Stuart Flack on creating a 10-Minute Play, geared for the two upcoming UW short play festivals.\
The Alternative Career Options for Arts Majors Panel will feature professionals in the arts sharing their experiences working in a variety of capacities.
The final event of Stuart Flack’s residency is a series of short bits presented vaudeville-style by students in his “Performing Information: Exploring Data through Live Performance” course.