About the Grant

$30,000 for a Headland's commission of Giant Step (MAP 2012), a collaborative cross-disciplinary multimedia performance project by hip hop performer Beans and visual artist Gary Simmons, with an integrated performance component provided by a Step dance ensemble.

About the Project

Building on various lineages of African-American popular cultural practice, Giant Step will take an additive approach to the musical performance generated by the series of instrumental backing tracks and the rhythmic products of Step Dancers and bodybuilders' medicine ball “slams” accompanying the vocal layers of hip hop performer Beans. Starting from quiet at the beginning of the performance, individual audio elements will be introduced one by one, with selective musical components periodically highlighted in the sound treatment, and other components dropping back out of the mix, somewhat in the fashion of Jamaican dub style recording and performance.

Paralleling this approach visually, individual components of the set — designed by visual artist Gary Simmons and featuring a wide array of sculptural elements representing the technical apparatus of audio production itself, including speakers, tape machines and effects processors — will be brought in to the staging area one by one, creating a stylized version of the potent, worn-from-use, and inventive look and atmosphere of a Jamaican dub or dance hall sound system setup. These visual installation elements will be brought into the set by the pair of bodybuilder performers, one final dynamic component to the overall staging that will be both dense, and stripped down and raw at the same time.

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