The Electric Stage

The Electric Stage was commissioned by the Art Institute of Chicago in response to the exhibition Moholy-Nagy: Future Present. The Electric Stage creates an immersive experience combining shadow puppetry, vintage overhead projectors, cinematic techniques and a lice music ensemble to explore the life and work of László Moholy-Nagy.

Renowned multimedia artist and designer László Moholy-Nagy (American, born Hungary, 1895-1946) came to prominence as a professor at the Bauhaus art school in Germany (1923-28). After Immigrating to the United States in 1937, he founded and taught at the New Bauhaus in Chicago, a school that continues todays as the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Moholy-Nagy remains the most renowned international modern artist to have resided in Chicago.

The Electric Stage weaves together a series of vignettes, which emphasize Moholy-Nagy’s restless and wide-ranging practice. The performance opens with a portrait of the artist as a young solider wounded in World War I. A resulting x-ray of shrapnel in his hand leads directly to a meditation on Moholy-Nagy’s haunting Photograms, a process of making photographic images without a camera. From here the stage is set for a playful exploration of Moholy-Nagy’s work in machine illustration, abstract painting, photomontage, typography, commercial design, and disorienting aerial photography. The performance culminates with a recreation of Moholy-Nagy’s Light Prop for Electric Stage (date), a rotating glass and metal sculpture that casts fantastic shadows with each rotation. The Electric Stage presents Moholy-Nagy as a pioneer of abstraction for the industrial age. An artist who believed every citizen could be creative, and every viewer could educate his or her senses by studying effects of light, transparency, and motion in common materials of everyday modern life.

Performed & Devised by Kara Davidson, Lily Emerson, Michael Hamilton, Sarra Jahedi, and Myra Su

Peter Ferry, percussion
Zachary Good, clarinets
Deidre Huckabay, flute

Visual Design by Lizi Breit and Drew Dir

Music and Sound Design by Kyle Vegter

Production Manager/ Sound Engineer: Mike Usrey