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Past Future Tenses

Past Future Tenses


Emily Craver's research developed during her graduate studies in the Department of Dance and ACCAD where she worked in the motion lab exploring connections between body, algorithmic thinking, and community building. Her MFA project, Past Future Tenses was a full moon performance held on Oct 31st at the Chadwick Arboretum North. Performed by Emily Craver and Doug Barber, the project took place outdoors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Project Team

Graduate Researcher – MFA Thesis Project:
Emily Craver, Director
Doug Barber, Collaborative Performer
Kathryn Nusa Logan, Film

Faculty Advisors:
Daniel Roberts, committee chair, Associate Professor, Department of Dance
Norah Zuniga-Shaw, committee member, Professor, Department of Dance
Alex Oliszewski, committee member, Associate Professor, Department of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts

This piece was made possible in part by a Global Arts and Humanities Graduate Research Grant.

Project Description

Past Future Tenses developed out of many threads of research. Ghosted by the many iterations made impossible by COVID-19, the fluidity of its form has become its foundation. The project works with the “could-have-beens” that linger in the air as we all collectively work through realities and expectations. The originally proposed project was an interactive collaborative piece on the third floor of Sullivant Hall, exposing process through audience-effected factors within the performance and blurring the lines of agency and audience. A global pandemic reframed the work. The drastic jolt from previous plans stirred up new questions and new priorities. The stew of ideas from which Emily and her collaborators sipped on for Past Future Tenses includes improvisational presence, verbatim chatbot theater, and digital translations into the body.

Still from Past Future Tenses performance


As I gather and reflect on the work of the past year and the past three years and the past ten years, it is exciting to see the thru lines. While convinced I was polishing performance techniques, I did not realize all along that I was also developing rehearsal techniques. When thinking about the importance of agency for each of my collaborators, I also was thinking about the importance of agency in audience interactions. I look forward to continuing to make with these techniques and themes. I revel in thinking about the day when my collaborators and I can take this material and reinvigorate the sweaty, intimate versions of it."

Meet var and farb. They exist like you. A technicolor nightmare-scape fills their void. What fills your void? Would you like to test your void? Hmmm, it seems that the water is not warm. Built in the not too distant past (or was it future?), Var and farb are delighted by your presence. They wish you the whole universe for all of your wanderings. In var and farb's pasttime, they dream of the past. In var and farb's futuretime, they dream of the future.