Introducing The Performance Piece That All Your Favorite Artists Are A Part Of

"It is beautiful and it’s intense and it’s incredible..."

Photographed by Walter Wlodarczyk

Lana Del Rey once said that "life imitates art," but the opposite tends to be more common in reality. Monica Mirabile and Sarah Kinlaw further explore this concept as they examine the relationship between authority and obedience in a variety of forms through their social psychology experiment "Authority Figure." On the nature of the performance, Mirabile said that "the severity of 'Authority Figure' developed from reflecting on what’s happening in our current political climate."

"I often work within the realm of control, and our concepts generally have to do with control—what is control, how you gain it, and how it’s taken from you," she added. "I’m thinking more about how to incorporate what I do as a choreographer with what I care about as a person, and so these things sort of just started to develop into this project."

Around 150 people were cast to perform in "Authority Figure," and that number doesn't even include the rest of the collaborators. A few familiar names from that long list include choreography by Sigrid Lauren (Fluct), India Salvor Menuez, and Richard Kennedy; installations by Jen Monroe (Bad Taste), Ilana Savdie, Kathleen Dycaico, Jerome Bwire, Signe Pierce; and original music scored by Dev Hynes (Blood Orange), Caroline Polachek, SOPHIE, and Dan Deacon. 

Kinlaw said that they "specifically brought people on board that we knew personally and could trust, as well as those whose work and ethos we respected." Both Kinlaw and Mirabile recruited friends from the art community to be a part of this project so the amount of support has been tremendous, and allowed everyone involved to be comfortable growing into their vulnerability. "There are so many people involved and there are so many different perspectives, and they’re all being represented in this project, but still it’s a small group," said Mirabile. "So the ways that we’re affected most greatly from obedience and authority are determined by the individual."

"One of the interesting things is that all these musicians are really operating outside the body of their more pop practices that they’re known for," added Polachek. "I think everyone is really using 'Authority Figure' as a way to step outside of their repertoire and play with something else."