Alice, a dancer with light brown skin and short curly hair, and Laurel, a dancer with pale skin and close-cropped blonde hair, hang from the ceiling. They each have one hand on a cable as they reach for each other with the other. They are nearly horizontal and their legs and feet face out. Silver barbed wire stretches between and beneath them, against the black backdrop.
Wired

World Premiere
May 5-8, 2022
MCA Chicago

At Kinetic Light, we make work that is rooted in the nexus of dance, disability, access, race, queerness, and technology. We believe that access is neither an afterthought nor  retroactive accommodation. Access is an essential aesthetic element of our creative practice. We know access is multiple, that it is never complete, and that some elements of access conflict. We also believe that in order to create an equitable experience, access and the art must be in alignment. As KL artist/engineer Laurel Lawson puts it: “equitable accessibility of art must be as complex and engaging as the work demands.” We invite you to experience the grace, beauty, and, yes, in-process-ness of access in Wired.

Our approach to access stems from years of learning, conversing, and working; it comes from trusted relationships with fellow disabled artists and disability communities; it also comes from a commitment to engage deeply with emerging research, tech, and design. This approach has changed how we understand ourselves and our work. We now know that, at its core, dance is not a visual artform. It is primarily a kinesthetic artform. And this understanding has freed us to think differently about how we create access and how access creates the work. At Kinetic Light performances, audiences are invited into a world where dance is equitably, aesthetically revealed across a broad experiential spectrum which includes sound, light, and movement. We create many entry points and ways of experiencing the work, all of which  welcome disabled audiences in our many bodyminds and ways of being.

In preparation for the Wired premiere at MCA Chicago, we have worked closely with the MCA team and members of Bodies of Work. Bodies of Work is a consortium of four programs at three Chicago organizations that share a commitment to programming that is distinguished by its integration of disability artistry, academics, and activism. These programs are the Program on Disability Art, Culture, and Humanities and the Disability Cultural Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago; the Disability Culture Activism Lab at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and the Art and Culture Project at Access Living. Along with partnering artists and organizations, Bodies of Work serves as a catalyst for the development of disability art and culture that illuminates the disability experience in new and unexpected ways. 

Collectively imagining how we can best welcome and be with you has been a pleasure. If you have any questions or concerns during the Chicago shows, please connect with a Bodies of Work or MCA usher. After the performance, please connect with us at wired@kineticlight.org.

Access & Venue Layout

For more information about arriving at and navigating the theater, please refer to MCA’s Edlis Neeson Theater Guide.  If there are any changes to the routes listed, ushers from Bodies of Work will be on hand.

Expanded accessible seating is available for this performance and some seating areas will be prioritized for mobility, ASL, and haptic access. The theatre will be seated at reduced capacity to facilitate social distancing.

  Prior to each show, there will be several areas in the lobby with information about access for the performance: 

One table will hold our tactile exhibit. Here, we invite you to experience selected elements of the show’s sets, props, costumes, rigging, and other theatrical elements through touch. More information follows in the “Tactile Access” Section.

Another table nearby in the lobby will be dedicated to orientation and installation of Kinetic Light’s audio description app, Audimance. This app is specifically prioritized for blind or nonvisual audience members whose primary experience of art is through audio description and sound. We can only offer this to a certain number of audience members each performance, so if audio description is not your primary way of experiencing dance, we will be happy to take your name on a waitlist and notify you if spaces are available after everyone who relies on audio description for access has been served. 

Please arrive at least 45 minutes early to the MCA, and bring your own mobile device (phone or tablet) and a set of wired headphones. Our multi-track audio description experience is tightly timed for the best collective experience, so we cannot guarantee your experience with wireless headphones. An usher will be there to guide you through using Audimance. More information about our unique approach to audio description follows in the “Audio Description” section. 

Access & Performance Experience

We know that access is not one-size-fits-all, and we hope you will feel encouraged to experience Wired as you would like to experience it. In anticipation of your presence, we have outlined a few specific accessible entry points to our performance in the sections below. We invite you to engage in a way that most honors and celebrates your bodymind and way of being. 

Ushers from Bodies of Work and MCA will be stationed throughout the lobby.  They are available to answer questions and guide you to where you need to go. ASL interpreters will also be present in the lobby. Accessible bathrooms can be found on the lobby level and the basement level, where wheelchair seating for the performance is also accessed. Two private all gender, accessible bathrooms can be found on the second floor in The Commons. Find an usher if you need assistance.

During the show, please know that some guests may be using their mobile device for accessibility purposes. Guests may exit the theater as desired. Upon exiting, you will be greeted by an usher who can guide you to a bathroom, a quiet space, or someplace else. The ushers will help you return once you are ready.

Below, please find sections with specific information for Audio Description, Tactile Access, Lighting, Sound, Sensory & Neurodivergent Accesses, and Physical Access.

Content

Wired Content Outline and Summary

Wired is a rich and complicated work with many points of entry and many different routes through the performance. We say that it honors the race, gender, and disability stories of barbed wire, but it is not a single narrative. In places, Wired engages questions of race, power, and dominance. It also touches on questions of incarceration, disability, and institutionalization.

We know that some audience members prefer to enter into a performance space and be surprised by the art, and others prefer to be informed about the work itself, its content, or any potential triggers/activations in advance. This content outline is for those of you who would like some additional information.

 

Tactile Experience

Our tactile experience is offered at a table in the lobby. This is prioritized for nonvisual audience members as a means of experiencing some of the items which appear in the show, including costume fabrics and wire props. 

 

Quiet space & Stim kits

There will be designated quiet spaces that audiences can visit before, during, and after the show. These spaces are wheelchair accessible and will be set up with comfortable seating, dim lighting, and an usher will be nearby when needed: 

  • For all shows, MCA’s small meditation/lactation space will be available as a quiet space for 1-2 people. 
  • Thursday-Saturday, a larger quiet space will be located in MCA’s private room at the Marisol restaurant.
  • On Sunday, the larger quiet space will be relocated to the MCA Learning Studios on the 3rd floor (accessible via the elevator next to Marisol on the lobby level). This will help avoid overlap with any patrons for brunch at the restaurant.

Stimulation kits will be available to check out through MCA. As we know, access is never one-size-fits-all, so we have worked to develop kits that offer ways to customize the theatrical experience of in-room stimuli (light and sound), as well as some common sensory tools. These kits will come in an MCA tote and will contain something soft and plushy; something heavy to rest in your lap or hands; one or more light filters; earplugs or ear defenders; and some squishy, stretchy, or manipulable objects. At the end of the show, please return the kits to MCA representatives or ushers. They will be sanitized before each show. For assistance, please find an usher or ask the box office; approximately ten kits will be available per show.

Lighting

The lighting and projections for Wired, like each facet of our work, are crafted with disabled audience experience as primary. The color palette includes warm, rusty tones; the bluish white of galvanized metal; and occasional brush strokes of green, red, and deep blue. Changes in intensity and color happen within the artistic intent of the show. The show starts warm, dark and mysterious, building to bright, shining, bluish white. There are no strobe lights nor do any lights flash at frequencies between 3Hz-30Hz. Glints of light from the lenses of some fixtures will be seen by all audience members.

While each of our performances reflect our commitment to equitable and aesthetic audience experience, Friday and Sunday’s performances will have a minimally altered experience that minimizes any stage lighting directed at the audience and stabilizes some of the lighting intensity. While no strobe lighting is used, the design includes some fast-moving video imagery which could be triggering to photosensitive guests. This will be omitted from the Friday and Sunday performances. Water-based haze is used in several sections of  the performance. House lights will be on at a low level in the back row of the theater.

Download detailed notes regarding sudden, large, or potentially impacting moments. This document is organized by Music, Flight, and Lighting.
 

Sound

The music for Wired is written by two composers, LeahAnn “Lafemmebear” Mitchell and Ailís Ní Riaín.  Mitchell’s music tells the story of the barbed wire.  Her score features melodic vocals sung over a variety of instruments, including at times: keyboards, piano, cello, guitar, and various synthesizers.  Mitchell’s voice varies from unaccompanied with some edge to sweet and lyrical across a full vocal range. Ní Riaín tells the story of the people who interact with the wire. Her score is rooted in post-modern classical music, with atonal harmonies and frequently does not have a clear melody. Ní Riaín’s music features prepared piano, as well as cello, synthesized vocals and a full range of percussion.

Download detailed notes regarding sudden, large, or potentially impacting moments. This document is organized by Music, Flight, and Lighting.

Audio Description

Listen to the Audio Program for Wired at MCA

The nonvisual, audio experience of Wired can be accessed through Kinetic Light’s Audimance app. Rooted in feedback from blind and low-vision audiences and colleagues, our approach to audio description invites listeners to choose their own experience of the work. Rather than experiencing a single line of description, listeners can select from, combine, and move between 7 different descriptive tracks which feature a range of styles and techniques. This experience is explicitly created for blind and low-vision audiences whose primary experience of dance is through sound. It is not intended to augment the experience of sighted guests. 

You will be able to choose from the following tracks: 

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha has created an original full length poetry cycle that takes the core ideas of each section and weaves them into poems. This track contains vivid description of sexual acts and body parts, as well as references to medical trauma and racialized and sexual violence. Listen to a sample of Leah's poetic cycle

Cheryl Green has created two tracks of tightly-written poetic prose. In the first, Cheryl captures the movement and emotional heart of Wired. In the second, she shares the details and emotion of the lighting and projections. Sample Cheryl's movement description and her description of the lighting and projections

Using the Rationale Method, Mo Pickering-Symes narrates the movement and plot of Wired. Listen to a sample of Mo's work.

Dylan Keefe has created a soundtrack that expresses the ideas of Wired sonically. Hear Dylan's soundscape sample

Shannon Finnegan and Andy Slater have created a track in experimental, experiential description. In an intimate track, Shannon narrates the experience of Wired and their reactions to the performance as if they were seated next to you, whispering in your ear. Andy Slater processes Shannon’s voice adding texture to their vocal tones that reinforce the meaning of their words. Listen to a sample of Shannon and Andy's work

Additionally, you may encounter in the spatial sonic environment content which orients the work to time, place, and embodiment, such as scene titles, sounds of dancer bodies and movement, and time shaping.

As a reminder, if you want to listen to Wired via Audimance, please bring your own mobile device and a set of wired headphones. We require wired headphones due to the tight synchronization of the description with the audience experience.  Once you arrive at the theater, an Audimance usher will guide you through using Audimance. You can find this usher at the Audimance table in the lobby. Please arrive at least 45 minutes prior to the show to make sure that our ushers have enough time to work with you.