Fainting Couch: A Contact Improv Dance Performance

Join Christy Chan for a walkthrough of her exhibition, Patterns, followed by a contact improv dance performance by members of UNA Productions dance company in response to Chan’s Fainting Couch. Light reception to follow. Patterns, part of MCAM’s 2022 Art + Process + Ideas Exhibition, invites the public to examine America’s intergenerational privilege and culture of gaslighting when confronting racial and social inequities. Chan has decolonized an 1890s fainting couch and transformed it into a touchable art and conversation piece. She asks, who gets to be fragile and who has to be strong?

Founded in 2013 by Artistic Director and Choreographer Chuck Wilt, UNA Productions is a dance production company focused on creating, teaching, and performing internationally. UNA’s mission is to discover and communicate deeply rooted embodiments of human existence through physically powerful dancing and imagery that are evocative and colorful. UNA celebrates individuality and is dedicated to bringing vibrancy and joy to the world.​

Christy Chan is an interdisciplinary artist who works in video, narrative filmmaking, installation, storytelling and community organizing to create participatory platforms for dialogue around race, class and social justice issues. Her hybrid social practice-public art projects seek to foster opportunities for self-representation by communities of color, with the belief that storytelling is a form of narrative justice and narrative justice is a form of social justice. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at Southern Exposure, YBCA, and SOMArts in San Francisco; the New York Arts Foundation and Ortega y Gasset in New York; Film Independent in Los Angeles; and on NPR and PBS, among other institutions. Chan is the creator of Dear America, a mobile guerrilla public art project that projects the works of AAPI artists on high rise buildings throughout the Bay Area without permission. She has been awarded support or residencies from SFFILM, the California Arts Council, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Kala Art Institute, Montalvo Arts Center, Headlands Center for the Arts, Berkeley Film Foundation and other institutions. She is working on the feature film project Pen Pals which has been featured on NPR’s Snap Judgement and The New York Times and tells the story of Shelly, an 8-year-old girl who writes idealistic letters to the Ku Klux Klan after the Klan targets her family. Based on real-life events, Pen Pals draws on Chan’s experience growing up in a Southern town with a white nativism movement, an experience that continues to inform her ongoing explorations of race, power, and what it means to be an American. She holds an M.A. in Communication Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University. Chan is a current A+P+I Artist in Residence at Mills College Art Museum and a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow. See less