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J. Louise Makary
This Is Where Wool Comes From
May 1 - 31 2015

J. Louise Makary works with video and performance to explore issues of control in interpersonal relationships, in social systems, and in the construction of cinematic media itself.

The choreographic vocabulary of a sheep being sheared provides the foundation in This Is Where Wool Comes From (2015) for a loose fictional narrative that confuses the roles of dominance, empathy, and passivity.

In conventional shearing, the shearer catches a sheep from the pen and removes its wool in a standardized set of movements designed to immobilize the animal and keep it calm to avoid marks and cuts from the shears. The shorn sheep is released through a chute in the floor or an opening in a wall. The animal appears to be calm, but studies show a spike in levels of sheep’s cortisol, or stress hormone, during shearing. Using two human performers (Makary and transgender filmmaker Madsen Minax) and charged mise-en-scène elements, This Is Where Wool Comes From begins as a dramatization of that experience before unfolding into a dance of aggression and tenderness that questions the degree to which we are complicit in our victimhood.

Directed and edited by J. Louise Makary
Choreographed and performed by Madsen Minax and J. Louise Makary
Shot in Skowhegan, Maine

Camera: Willie Stewart
Location Audio: Danny Carroll and Alejandro T. Acierto
Color: David Scott Kessler
Sound Design and Mix: John Baker

J. Louise Makary lives and works in Philadelphia. She was named a Pew Fellow in the Arts in 2013 and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2014. Her work has been shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Icebox Project Space, and Slought Foundation in Philadelphia, SPACES in Cleveland, and the American Dance Festival in Durham, among other venues. She earned her MFA from Temple University in 2013.

Review by Ryan McCartney in Title Magazine, online here.