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 were selected from more than 50 applicants by Untitled 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. This version of the piece at Locust Projects features Miami-based boxers Jhon Matos and Nick Plessett as collaborators in an expansion of the original choreography. Duval and Trocchia will also present a single-channel video that remixes the performance, amplifying the gestures and transforming the temporality of boxing in a dynamic display of sound and motion.
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.
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.
Robbie Trocchia is an artist working in performance, sound, video, installation, and sculpture. Past projects have explored themes of desire, intimacy, and selfhood through historical research, experimental writing, and collaborative practices. His recent work considers ancient histories of sexuality and contemporary forms of masculinity and queerness. Robbie has presented work in New York and Los Angeles. In June 2023, he was an artist-in-residence at Espacio Lavadero in Granada, ES. He is currently an MFA candidate in Digital Arts and New Media at University of California, Santa Cruz.
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