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DECLIVITY: The First Movement of Relay of Voices

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Choreographed and directed by Victoria Bradford with movement by Angela Gronroos, Lisa Leszczewicz, Carla Gruby, Zack Bailey, and Ben Sanders, with music by Todd Mattei.

“Declivity” is the first movement of Relay of Voices: The Great River Run, a site-responsive performance that in 2019 will last for 120 days, engage 104 towns and cities, and cover 2,300 miles along the Mississippi River Valley from Minnesota to Louisiana.  Bradford’s team will travel the river’s entirety on foot and follow its natural downward slope, a “declivity,” increasing as it goes in velocity, intensity, fierceness and impact.  

Relay also begins in Chicago, the city that brought the team together in order to reach and engage with the people of 104 mostly rural communities. MCA is located 641.9 miles away from the headwaters of the only river which connects 40% of the contiguous United States.  

Relay always begins in response to location, listening to place, and, in the case of MCA, bringing the river to the museum. In “Declivity”, the team is listening to the labor of the river, the might of its crosscurrents, and the story of labor told by the water, the land, and the people who work it and live with it. Performed as a 180 minute relay cycle beginning on the back lawn, going around the building, and using the front steps, they walk the bottom of the river, run upstream, get caught in the current, meander, wait, maneuver, levee, breech, and remind us of their paths as they go.