Things that occurred: a group of girls chatting on the street abruptly realized there was a dancer just two feet behind them softly ruffling her nest of paper behind a showcase window; a gaggle of neighborhood kids stood at the door of the Defibrillator Gallery for many minutes, watching three women slowly shift and pose against a gray wall; a few smiling observers snapped pictures of Ayako Kato—the dancer behind the showcase window—giving me, momentarily, the marvelously uncomfortable sense of being at the zoo. The three-hour durational performance by Zephyr Dance invites the visitor to experience the evening as they please, to come and go at will, chat if they like, roam the gallery, sip wine or coffee, and allow themselves to be pulled wherever their attention leads them. And that attention is immediately fine-tuned; the gallery atmosphere hushes the visual noise of Milwaukee Avenue with soft lighting and a grayscale palette. Each chapter of movement, each lighting change stands out like a painting on a wall. Little sound and movement surprises punctuate the evening. Small porthole-shaped video installations—one a live feed from within in the gallery projected on the floor near the front door, one of rehearsal footage on the back wall—both provide and encourage a multiplicity of perspectives. The effect is serene and sensuous. Zephyr artistic director Michelle Kranicke has created a space where sensitivity is heightened and room allowed for active, liberated observation. (Sharon Hoyer)
At Defibrillator Gallery, 1136 North Milwaukee, (773)489-5069. Friday-Sunday, September 21-23, 7pm. $11 suggested donation.