Locust Projects presents bout, an audiovisual performance and installation, as part of the ninth edition of the LAB MFA summer exhibition and residency program. The piece was devised by Nicki Duval and Robbie Trocchia, MFA candidates in Digital Arts & New Media at University of California Santa Cruz. This year's candidates we selected by from more than 50 applicants by Unitled Art Fair Artistic Director Omar Lopez Chahoud, past exhibiting artist from the 181 collective, Abby Donovan, and last year’s LAB MFA artists Tara Kesavan and Indranil Choudhury.
During the residency, Duval and Trocchia will develop and present a new iteration of a work that deconstructs competitive boxing and the work of American realist painter George Bellows, erasing boundaries between arts and athletics. In the expansion of the piece at Locust Projects, there will be multiple boxing matches happening simultaneously in different spaces inside and outside of the venue. The referee and ringside official will glide between the various bouts and activate sound, video, and lighting to create a dynamic and expansive performance that will be adapted into a multichannel installation.
Our individual practices overlap with an attention to queer embodiment and gender performance – bout sits at the center of these interests. The piece strives to create substantive relationships between athletics and the arts; our collaborative practice consciously involves performers and spectators that are often dissuaded from participating in art world circles. We have made a point of featuring different boxers from the locations where we’ve staged bout who each add their own character and insight to the work. As such, the tropes of Bellows’ brutal works are reconfigured through a tender collaborative structure. Sound and gesture work together in order to destabilize and question codes of masculinity in boxing, offering a queer grammar of touch that participates in the lineage of performance work by artists like Cassils. The video component heightens the intimacy of the performance and expands viewership beyond the immediate attendees to those outside the venue.
This is our first collaboration.
About the Artists
Nicki Duval is a multidisciplinary artist primarily working in performance art, video, and sound. Their work primarily focuses on time, queerness, the body, and questions of form and formlessness. Recently, they have largely focused on athletics (and specifically, baseball and boxing) as a vehicle for thinking through these concepts. Their durational performance piece and installation Throwing, a queer love letter to the pitching mannerisms that disrupt an easily commodifiable game flow, premiered at the 2023 Digital Arts and New Media MFA exhibition at University of California, Santa Cruz. They also make and perform experimental electronic music as EEL TANK.
Robbie Trocchia is an artist working in performance, sound, video, installation, and sculpture. Past projects have explored themes of desire, intimacy, and
power through historical research, critical theory, and autofictional writing. Robbie has presented work in New York and Los Angeles.
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