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Tinderbox @Mobius — Jordan Jamil Ahmed, Michelle Bentsman, Michael Namkung and Daphna Mero

  • Mobius 55 Norfolk Street Cambridge, MA, 02139 United States (map)
video still Michael Namkung

video still Michael Namkung

Tinderbox Series

The curatorial focus of the Tinderbox Series is on presenting a stimulating, creative and diverse series of experimental work. We are excited to present on, Friday, April 8th works by: Rosie Ranauro, Robert Metrick, and Soufia Bensaid; and on Saturday, April 9th works by: Jordan Jamil Ahmed, Michelle Bentsman, Michael Namkung and Daphna Mero. 

 Saturday, April 9th

Jordan Jamil Ahmed

"In the space between religious myth and personal history, I aim to explore in performance my relationship to my Muslim heritage. In some histories of the Kaaba, the site of Hajj or pilgrimage in the Muslim faith, it is said that the foundation stone, laid by Abraham, was once white only to become black by absorbing the sins of the people. By embodying that myth and layering my experience of the faith, I aim to explore my role as a culturally Muslim male in a politicized and divided society."

"We are bound by our shared experience of the human body. We all have hearts that pound, skin that feels. Observing a fortuitous company of bodies in a subway car, a classroom or on a sidewalk, innumerable stories are told without words. In our bodies we carry histories that we cannot hide. Being “of the body,” dance is an honest art. In my dance practice I look to explore and draw attention to this propensity for truth-telling. Dance is a means of remembering, interpreting, and expressing overtly those innate stories of the body. In dance we connect all bodies: the body of the individual, the communal, the societal, the global, and the universal.

To explore these shared experiences in dance, I draw from the experience of life in my body. In mining the specificity and history of my body (and mind and spirit) through movement, I aim to create a sense of intimacy between the audience and the performer. It is in this tenuous and vulnerable space that humans of all colors, creeds, genders, and generations can truly connect. It is in this space that we are moved, literally and metaphysically. We are moved to action, moved to tears, moved to think, and moved to remember.

My body is my medium: crooked, nuanced, untethered, and strong. There is nowhere to hide in my body. With my body, I want to tear down walls. I want to build bridges."


Michelle Bentsman

Leper of Light: An Interactive Performance

What does each point on this body hold? Fleshly correspondence to movement and speech—memory, trauma, thought that came before us—identities of the tongue that permeate—wind and wisdom.

Who sits down in the belly? Who throws daggers through my heart? O enlightened monarch of the mind, name that elusive masked momma!

Aimless ambler, sleeper, crawler—turn my lights on, one by one.

A fundamental fascination: how we process our bodies, ourselves, in the face of what lies beyond.

Drawing upon religious philosophy, mythical taxonomies, anatomy, and poetry, I utilize a multi-disciplinary approach for investigating death, ritual, memory, and loss. Critical engagement with both text and experience is crucial as I walk the tightrope between cerebral and physical engagement. I have used interactive performance installation, a beloved hybrid form, to explore and interpret yogic austerities in Hindu mythology, Talmudic destruction narratives, the consultation of demons on the Sabbath, and the Jewish burial rituals of tahara and shemira. My fondness for the liminal is, yet, limitless.


Michael Namkung

With their backs pressed against opposing walls, Michael Namkung and Susan Batchelder face each other and make synchronized drawings behind them, their legs bent at 90-degrees. This is a wall sit, an exercise for strengthening the quadriceps. While relatively harmless, it is also painful. The piece ends when one of them reaches complete fatigue.

Cooperation and competition are built in, as is the inner tension of experiencing physical pain and choosing to accept it—for to let oneself down is to let down the other. The resulting drawings become maps that delineate both the physical and psychological space explored during the piece.

Michael Namkung is an interdisciplinary artist and former world champion Ultimate player. His work explores experience of the lived human body as it perceives, performs, and makes meaning from its engagement with the surrounding world and with the bodies of others.

In his ongoing Drawing Gym project, he uses strenuous exercise and traditional drawing tools to explore the sensory experience of drawing under physical strain. Susan Batchelder has been a member of the Drawing Gym Performance Group since 2010.

Link to my work:

Daphna Mero

1. Tracks (2014), 6 Min

Tracks is a multi image video piece that explores the surface of the running track at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. By attaching cameras to the moving appendages the piece is able to portray an embodied experience of the Sisyphean exercises on the track. The absent body re-molds the space around it through walking, running and crawling.

2. Cotton candy (2011), 4 min

Laundromat. A woman is sitting and looking at spinning laundry drum while she eats a cotton candy.

Her hands become sticky and she becomes dirty, a violent encounter with a stranger resurfaces.

Her action of eating in the present merges with the past memory; the Laundromat becomes both an interior and exterior space filled with cotton candy.

The machines repetitive noise fills the Laundromat and dictates the movement inside it.

The sweetness becomes too sweet, sticky and soiling.

And she is spinning.

A non-genre film that combines elements from Video-art, Video-dance and fictional-cinema

3. Washed (2012), 13 Min

A recounting of violent event through the integration of narrative film and dance:

A female laundry worker desperately attempts to abort the fruit of a violent encounter.

When the consequences of her action are reveled, the memories she has repressed re-emerge.

My works are inspired by locations, spaces and sites, dealing with the human experience through novel ways that combine visual arts with dance.  As a dancer and choreographer, sensitivity to motion and awareness of space is fundamental for my creation process.

Location is more than a mere setting and point of reference, rather a contributing performer. It guides me towards structuring movement, sound, design and concept.

In Cotton Candy and Washed I deal with the violation of the female body using the integration of narrative film and Dance.  In Tracks I am exploring the connection between the body and technology and using the body to manipulate and choreograph the space.