Billy Mark is an interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Detroit. He’s married to fiber artist, Sarah Mark. His areas of exploration lately have been embodied poetics, experimental liturgies, site-specific music and poetry, and the creative and spiritual resources found in monasticism.
Wind was a piece commissioned by Cranbrook Museum. The piece drew its inspiration from the obvervation that a flag is an invitation for wind. People were invited to three bare flagpoles in an empty lot in Detroit. There on the middle pole they could enter into a hoody / monks robe with 20 ft long sleeves. When fully zipped into the hoody/robe by a partner, the partner would then pull the rope and slowly raise the sleeves (which were attached to a crossbar) up the flagpole. The partners would then switch. This process was done every sunrise and sunset for 40 days. Psalms were also read at these raising and lowerings.
HOW CAN I PRAY FOR YOU
In the African American Art wing of the Detroit Institute of Arts, people paired together with a stranger, located three pieces of art that spoke to an unaddressed pain, laid down a string path between those three works. They then switched paths with their partners and walked the other person's line.
THE PSALMS ARE BLACK
This is a cycle of seven poems read by seven audience members one after another. Each of the poems begin as the writer / mover starts on one side of the stage and ends when the mover reaches the other side. Each audience member reads the poem in any way they choose. They could repeat one word over and over, or they could rearrange the lines, or read it straight through. The writer / mover silently interprets the poem with their body.
What is a sound map? Good question. In the same way that you can pin a location to a google map, there are apps that allow you to pin audio files to create a “sound map”. Using the app you can follow this map on your phone and walk to different pins. Once you are in range, the audio file will play on your phone. For this piece, the pins will be sections of a narrative that can be gradually experienced as you walk from place to place.
Vacant Lots is two stories…and yet one story. On the East side of Woodward, the sound map will be based on a novel about middle schoolers growing up in North End in the 1950's written by literary icon Bill Harris, with score by Detroit Jazz legend Marian Hayden.
On the West side of Woodward, in the Piety Hill neighborhood, a similar sound map will be set by high-schoolers (Arise Rock and Kaleb Bowdre) who live in the neighborhood. While the pieces will be divided by geography (the East / West divide), and generation, both will explore life in a place through the eyes of a young person.
I. Hymnal: An embodied hymnal of movement phrases, melodies, and text presented on three screens. Hymnal will debut as a part of the Enunciated Life exhibit at the California African American Museum.
II. Offering: is seven offerings of my body as a living sacrifice set to solo sax compositions. Each music piece is composed by Jon Armstrong and will be geotagged to seven specific sites surrounding the Googleplex in Mountain View Ca. (Supported by Image Journal)
III. Pew is a yellow pew with a built-in audio player placed in a green field and other places around Detroit. The pew looks from/onto the nature of a place. People are welcome to experience in silence, and/ or listen to a guided text and music meditation that explores what can be seen from the pew. (Pew is a part of the Enunciated Life exhibit at the Redbull Gallery)
Produced by Jessica care Moore and Billy Mark, the Detroit Solo Theater Festival will showcase original works from local and national performing artists at Andy, a new black box theater located in the heart of the West Side.
The festival will feature theater legend Roger Guenevere Smith, Detroit based artists, and will include a series of masterclasses, and workshops for beginners to develop new work.
This festival will create an intergenerational space for artists to expand their creativity while offering the Detroit community a chance to hear and uplift the stories of our city, one voice at a time.