The Austin Chronicle

Why They Come Back

By Robert Faires, April 22, 2011, Arts

Most of the artists who enliven your average Fusebox Festival are new to local audiences, but a few will be familiar from festivals past. Reggie Watts, Phil Soltanoff, and the dance company tEEth are all making return visits this year. What apart from the killer breakfast tacos keeps them returning to Austin when Fusebox rolls around? Here are two answers.

Phil Soltanoff is a hybrid artist mixing and colliding dance, theatre, visual art, and new technologies. After treating Fusebox to L.A. Party in 2010, The 12:19 Library in 2009, I/O in 2007, and a workshop piece involving trash bags in 2006, he returns this year with Discussing Art in the 21st Century. "I'm really not one to go around making art designed to please people. That doesn't mean, by the way, I'm deliberately trying to alienate the audience. On the contrary, I make naive work that's simple to enter if you're willing and curious. My interest is always tuned to the questions of art-making, and each project advances and raises new questions. Ron is very much in tune with that questioning process. It's why I return. We're in constant touch about what's happening, what's in the air, what work is interesting and what isn't and why. Those questions, year after year, define our relationship in many ways. They also shape what I'm thinking about and what I'm making, and Ron generously provides a platform for me to test those ideas. It's a great relationship we have. And an extremely unique one. The only other comparable one is my relationship with CIE111 in Toulouse, France. We've worked together for years, too."

Angelle Hebert is half of tEEth, the Portland-based dance company that she and composer Phillip Kraft founded in 2006. They presented Rash at Fusebox in 2008 and Grub in 2009. They return this year with Home Made. "We are super excited to return to Fusebox! It is an incredible honor to be included on a roster of such high caliber artists – artists we admire, respect, and identify with, who are taking creative risks, are reinventing mediums of expression, and cannot be defined by a particular genre or discipline. It has also proved to be a great way to meet new artists, connect with a new community/audience supporting contemporary work, expose and educate ourselves on contemporary performance happening on a national and international level, and foster and develop creative relationships – all of this we feel is essential to the survival, evolution, and growth of our own work as artists."

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