Artistic Statement

[in-progress revision 2021. wow, I haven’t read this in a while. humilty]

In my work I strive to create a theater of the singing body through its most essential mechanics—the breath, contraction and expansion of the diaphragm, and the propulsion of sonic resonance. I use these simple mechanics to power both movement and sound, causing a bodily phenomenon heard and felt.

I am the great-granddaughter of Eastern European Jewish immigrants who settled in New York City. My grandfather was a Broadway producer in the 80’s and I grew up regarding the tuneful stories of the Broadway stage as personal folklore. My work emerges from this history, and it’s roots in Vaudeville, Yiddish theater, minstrelsy, Blues, Jazz, and the Harlem Renaissance…  Musical theater is a place where my family’s jewishness undeniably thrived. In thriving we also participated in building an American mythology intertwined with appropriation, assimilation, erasure and the mythic Westward frontier. I arise from this history, with its entanglements embodied through melody, harmony, catharsis and yearning. What can it teach me about my body?

My work tends to the voice as a full-bodied instrument; as a vessel of physical and cultural memory whose vibrations transmit and materialize our inner worlds.  I engage the voice as both artifact and artifice; as emotion; as means for dislocation and memory; as causality; as musical vehicle; as representational object of human-ness; as magical;as material; as seductive; as transportive; as consonant and dissonant; as real.

Private Country, Photo by Brian Rogers
Private Country (2013) Photo by Brian Rogers

Oh… I know
I know I feel it often times I do
but is it more than a feeling?

-Talya Epstein as “stranger” in Private Country

To read more about my evolving consciousness, and how my work contains historical violence, read: Fault Lines Tremble: A Conversation with Tatyana Tenenbaum by Tara Sheena for Culturebot