Drawing upon my experiences as an acrobat, my work is a search for the ways in which the world becomes a stage for mundane, surprising and contradictory performances to occur. I use video, site-specific installation, photography and performance to frame these experiences. Also, I love collaborating with other artists to create new and unexpected things!
I am currently beginning work on a series of videos and a live performance that is derived from one of the first attempts to create a systematic method of classifying individuals. Late in the nineteenth century, Alphonse Bertillon, the French criminologist, anthropologist, statistician, and inventor developed a system of criminal identification that sought to classify human beings on individual standardized cards. Each card contained a pre-established set of eleven anthropometrical measurements (such as height, arm-span, length of left foot, and circumference of the skull), along with a photograph of the criminal. Although it was eventually superseded by fingerprinting, this method has much in common with facial recognition technologies currently in use by law enforcement. One thing that especially interests me is the ritualistic method used to obtain these measurements (which is laid out in Bertillon’s Signaletic Instructions) and the conflict between power and intimacy that must occur when these actions are carried out.
Aaron Henderson’s videos and installations examine the ways that humans move. Recent projects look at the personal, cultural and political ramifications of all action, from intimate gestures to displays of super-human acrobatics. Well acquainted with movement, he threw himself into walls and off of platforms for STREB Extreme Action, an acrobatic performance company from 2002-6. His videos, installations and projection designs have been presented at Lincoln Center, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Wexner Center and many other theaters, colleges and festivals across the country. Currently, Aaron is an Assistant Professor in the Studio Arts Department at the University of Pittsburgh.