The Comfort Room

Performance Description

The Comfort Room is both a sanctuary and a treasury of inedible objects and substances. The room is maintained by a woman who is strongly compelled to eat her collection.

Artistic Statement

Jennifer Mesch is originally a self-taught dancer. She grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, and was influenced primarily by punk rock and new wave, which continue to be elements in her dancing today. Much of her work is solo, and often represents a single character in a situation that might be described as abstract narrative. Dance compositions she has made are generally inspired not by dance, but by science, literature, visual arts, film and random situations. Despite her training in dance, she strives to return to her original compulsion to dance. Much of her work over the past 10 years represents a renewed commitment to improvisation, and she often collaborates and performs with live musicians in music venues.

Scott Smallwood is a sound artist, composer, and performer who creates works inspired by discovered textures and forms, through a practice of listening, field recording, and improvisation. He also designs experimental electronic instruments and software, as well as sound installations and site-specific performance scenarios. Important to his process is exploring the subtleties of sonic texture through gradual transformations of timbre, particularly with sounds that may have originated from specific recordings of objects or spaces. His compositional and improvisational work makes use of space explicitly, and often involves surround-sound environments, found sounds, and non-conventional instrumentation and systems. His latest passion is in exploring site-specific performance spaces, using local resources for sound generation such as solar power and wind, and incorporating existing sounds into the sound texture explicitly.

Artist Biographies

Jennifer Mesch
Jennifer Mesch began as a self-taught dance improvisor and she began studying dance formally in adulthood. She holds a BS in biology and a BA in dance from Western Michigan University. Her dance training includes study at Princeton Ballet School and Merce Cunningham Dance Studio. She has danced with Dawn Cargiulo Berman (Momix), Penny Hutchinson (Mark Morris Dance Group), Jack Magai (Troy Chainsaw Ensemble), Linda Mannheim (Martha Graham Dance Company), and Jennifer Monson (Birdbrain Dance). She directs Jen Mesch Dance Conspiracy and has choreographed over 50 works for dance performance and experimental theater. Mesch frequently collaborates with composers and musicians, including Newton Armstrong, Stephan Moore, Scott Smallwood and Nate Wooley. She currently resides in Edmonton, Alberta and works as a cardiac sonographer.

Scott Smallwood
Scott Smallwood artist who works in all aspects of the sonic arts. As an improvisor, he has collaborated with numerous artists, including Pauline Oliveros, John Butcher, Seth Cluett, and Benton-C Bainbridge, and Jennifer Mesch. His recorded work has been released by numerous imprints including Deep Listening, Static Caravan, Autumn Records, and most recently on Wowcool Records, with long-time collaborator Stephan Moore as the duo Evidence. He has written for several instrumental ensembles, including recent works for the New York Virtuoso Singers, Ensemble SurPlus, and the Nash Ensemble of London. He studied composition, improvisation, and electroacoustic music at Miami University, the Peabody Conservatory, and Princeton University, and has been active as an educator for over 15 years. Scott currently lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he teaches composition, improvisation, and electroacoustic music at the University of Alberta.