This past June TMT hosted its 4th Summer Institute Intensive: a jam-packed week of exploration by our brilliant and bold fellows. We asked each of our five to reflect, in whatever format they wished, on their day of leading the Institute and what’s next in their journey through the year. Up next is Aaron Minerbrook, whose work can be seen in music videos for DJ Trax, and in the post-production work he does for companies like Coty. He also creates label art and video designs for the audio-visual collective Detuned Transmissions. In the theater, Aaron works as a Video Projection Designer, Technical Director and Production Manager.
What is theater? Are there conventions you want to follow? Are there conventions you want to challenge? Part adventure, part exploration, this fellowship presents you with opportunities to participate in challenges, and experiments that you yourself must construct. Something like, let’s see what happens when you ask a group of artists to come together to think about how engagement with a place shape one’s perception of that place. Well, what is engagement?
Definitions are important. And what I’ve discovered as a TMT Fellow is that it is fundamentally important to have definitions that are meaningful to your own practice. What I’ve also learned, is that it’s great to test ideas. Like, how far do you wanna go with this? And, given the outcome, is this an idea you want to explore further?
Me and the other Fellows are now a little more than half way through our year long process of investigation together, and so far I’ve walked around Harlem Meer as a census taker of rocks, served homemade ice tea to strangers in Sunset Park, sat in a bar in Jersey City at 9 in the morning while drinking cranberry juice and laughing, conjured operatic characters while dressed in tailored garbage bags and cardboard, affixed dioramas made out of piñata chum to the inside of a tree in central park, given life to crumpled pieces of craft paper at a studio in ART/NY South Oxford Space, ordered food in gibberish, ranted at full volume on the evils of MetroCard price hikes outside The 42nd Street Port Authority Bus Terminal, partaken in an edifying and awesome conversation with Richard Foreman, and engaged in more than a few other enlightening and process-challenging conversations and performative experiments. And while redefining our own definitions of theater hasn’t been our sole preoccupation, each one of these experiences has broadened and enriched my own definition of what theater is.
Filmmaking, photography, and design are all part of my artistic practice but theater is the arena within which I have long sought to connect them, specifically in my work as a set and video designer. And that has been very exciting. But through the Institute, I am now beginning to see past that. I am beginning to see that there are interests beyond my desire for interconnectedness lying at the core of the practice I now seek to develop.