Renee Sills is a performance artist and movement educator based in Portland, OR. Her work synthesizes techniques for physical conditioning, kinesthetic and emotional awareness, and improvisation to create collaborative and evolving choreographies that seek to both express and understand questions of purpose, power and politics. She has brought her work to a variety of venues including Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Coffee Creek Women’s Rehabilitation Facility, MUTEK, and The Elektra Festival. She has a BFA in New Media from Concordia University in Montréal, and an MFA in Art & Social Practice from Portland State University in Oregon. Renee is currently the Artist in Residence at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).
An important part of my practice is teaching. I am the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Sola School of Contemplative Arts. Our school is has a range of classes, workshops and certification programs that focus on mindfulness and somatic practices as tools for social engagement and activism. We currently have partnerships with 3 high schools, a senior center, an arts-oriented care facility for adults with disabilities, and an organization which places our program graduates in rehabilitation facilities. I teach a anatomy and a series of workshops that explore ethical principles through task-based practice. Learn more about Sola School here.
The pictures above are documentation of a workshop I taught called ‘Bodystorming’. Questions were asked and answered only through gesture. No words allowed. I’m interested in how we express physical/emotional intelligence.
Working with the “Bodystorming’ technique of gestural conversation (vs interpretation) I worked with the choreography students at PSU to conduct journalistic research through dance. The Dance Reporters covered a number of events during Assembly of 2015 and reported on their findings in the Summarizing Performance on the last day. A number of Assembly participants performed with the dancers after being interviewed by them and asked to share their opinions (through movement.)
The following collections of images and videos are documentation of a series of projects I’ve been working on that use the guided audio walk format to lead participants through sensory tours of landscapes. The audio walks offer invitations to notice and relate to specific environmental elements through attention and gesture. The result is a surprising and spontaneous choreography created by many people engaging each other while also immersed in their own private experience.
Audio walk at Reed College for the annual BMCA Conference
Audio walk at Peninsula Park