About the Grant

$21,000 to support In This Place…(MAP 2006), a site-inspired theater project by Ain Gordon driven by alternative histories of the city of Lexington, Kentucky in collaboration with video artist Joan Brannon.

About the Project

Ain Gordon and the Pick Up Performance Co(S) in partnership with the LexArts with the participation of the Actor’s Guild of Lexington will produce a site-inspired theater project driven by alternative histories of the city of Lexington Kentucky. Titled In This Place… it will be written and directed Ain Gordon in collaboration with native Lexingtonian video artist Joan Brannon. While Lexington has made significant efforts to document and promote its history, those efforts are primarily traditional and reflect the conventional power structure and morals of most US cities. Further, Gordon contends, “the writing of US history is a socially and politically reductive process mercilessly editing out the diverse passions of humanity in favor of mainstream drama.” Gordon feels the same tastes which force the chaos of reality into a historic narrative palatable to mass receptors mirror the exigencies of the “well-made” play; a plot in which action, consequence and resolve flow too neatly for serious engagement with difficult topics. For this project, Gordon will unearth and research marginalized or forgotten histories to evoke the beautiful and harsh multiplicity of Lexington’s past.

This performance will begin with an alternative historic walking tour peopled by actors. Each site on the tour will culminate in the unveiling of a stone marker inscribed with a web address for a site with written and visual histories. Visitors to the site will be invited to post their own associations with a given locale. These postings will extend the project’s central questions; what is history and story and who gets to tell it? The audience will then be lead into a black-box theater featuring a video installation of the tour sites and a live actor as Samuel Oldham (the first free African-American to build his own home in Lexington). After years of neglect, Oldham’s house is currently undergoing restoration for potential public viewing. Oldham and his house are at the literal and metaphorical heart of this project; living on the verge of being wiped away.


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