Head Hi presents
THE DAILY MIRROR
1976 | 2022
On December 13, 2022, Head Hi was thrilled to present a live performance at Ace Hotel Brooklyn featuring the choreography of Wendy Perron and Morgan Griffin with film and photography by Babette Mangolte.
In 1976, downtown New York dancer/choreographer Wendy Perron began an accumulating project, creating movement every day that reflected the interior and exterior landscape of that day. She titled it The Daily Mirror. In 2021, upon recently uncovering the only documentation of this practice, five pages of photos by French cinematographer Babette Mangolte, Perron asked dancer Morgan Griffin to re-imagine the work with these images as source material and provide it a new life through another dancing body. As intended, the work was passed on to this next generation and the living archive continued through Mangolte’s photographic documentation.
For the occasion, Head Hi has published our first limited-edition artist book, a flip book of both performances. As an organization dedicated to art and design, exploration and interaction, Head Hi is proud to publish this book, bringing attention to artistic and personal reflection.
MORE ABOUT THE DAILY MIRROR
The Daily Mirror 1976/2022 began when I opened up an old folder and found five contact sheets from Babette Mangolte of my 1976 solo, The Daily Mirror. Looking through these tiny images — 138 in all — I felt like I was entering a time tunnel. I wondered what it would be like to make these images come alive again with a younger dancer. I remembered that Morgan, who had been in my grad seminar at NYU Tisch School of the Arts during the Zoom year, liked pairing vintage things with new things. I’d seen Morgan’s dancing and felt simpatico with it, so I asked if she’d be interested in traveling through these archival images to make something new. She responded enthusiastically to the photos, so my vague wondering became a plan. I contacted Babette, who then offered to film Morgan dancing — the other end of this time tunnel. So last June, we filmed Morgan’s sequence, as it existed then, at Cathy Weis’s studio in SoHo, next door to Trisha Brown’s studio, where I had performed the original solo in 1976. The project soon expanded to become a live duet for Morgan and me with visuals by Babette.
A note of explanation on the original Daily Mirror: In the spring of 1976, I decided to make a solo by choreographing a piece of movement every day, adding it to the string of movement from before. It would be like a journal, reflecting the interior and exterior landscape of the day. As I performed it, I spoke the name of the day of the week relevant to that particular breath of movement. At the time, I wrote a note for the audience: “I am not aiming for a particular image to be remembered. Rather, I would like to allow each motion to dissolve into the next and not be kept in the mind’s eye.” Over time, I changed my mind, and now I am fine with memory being built in the choreography. The new version is very much about memory, and about time gaps—small ones like the difference in pacing between a younger and older dancer, and big ones like 46 years. — Wendy
Morgan Griffin is a New York–based dancer and choreographer. She received her BA in dance with minors in English and US Government from Connecticut College (2012), her MA from NYU Steinhardt (2022) in Dance Education and her MFA from NYU Tisch Dance (2022). She has danced with Adele Myers and bandPortier, as well as presented her own work across New York and Connecticut. She is the dance series co-curator as well as artist in residence at Art Cake NYC. She has recently performed at the West End Theater, at the Art Cake 2020 Dance Series, and at Vans CH66 with Daisies NYC. She has choreographed work for Paco Rabanne and Noah NYC campaigns, and teaches dance to a wide range of ages and abilities. She continues to create work and collaborate, combining her interests and expanding on the concepts of imagination, discovery, inspiration and curiosity.
Wendy Perron is a dancer/choreographer turned writer/editor/historian. She danced with the Trisha Brown Company in the 1970s and choreographed many works for her own group. She has taught at Bennington College, Princeton University, and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. In the early 1990s she served as Associate Director of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and she has lectured internationally on Judson Dance Theater and postmodern dance. She has written for the New York Times, the Village Voice, and Dance Magazine, where she was editor in chief from 2004 to 2013. In 2011, the New York Foundation for the Arts inducted her into its inaugural Hall of Fame. Her second book, The Grand Union: Accidental Anarchists of Downtown Dance, 1970-1976, met with acclaim when it was published in 2020. Wendy has recently performed with Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks and currently teaches dance history at the Juilliard School.
Babette Mangolte is a French experimental filmmaker/photographer who moved to New York in the 1970s where she documented the city’s performing arts scene. During this period, she developed a photographic and cinematic language based on the subjectivity of the camera, the viewer’s key role and the human body’s relationship to space. In the 1980s, she actively and rigorously pursued this research and participated in defining and building a performing arts archive to set it into a specific time and context. Her work spans over 50 years, marked especially by photographing Yvonne Rainer, Trisha Brown, Richard Foreman, Lucinda Childs, Simone Forti, Robert Morris, Joan Jonas and Robert Whitman. She was the cinematographer on Chantal Akerman's film Jeanne Dielman (1975), which was recently voted the best film of all time by the the British magazine Sight and Sound’s “Greatest Films of All Time” critics’ poll. Last summer she was honored with a solo exhibition at Rencontre d’Arles and the Women in Motion Photography Prize.
Head Hi is an organization dedicated to art and design specializing in publications and cultural programming located in Fort Greene, Brooklyn by the Navy Yard. Working with local and international artists, designers, publishers, community members and organizations in various fields, Head Hi is a space for exploration and interaction that hosts talks, book launches, art shows, music performances and other events.