Checa explores the corruption of utopian concerns related to Modernism. The piece is rooted around theories related to Russian Constructivist design as well as the adoption of Modernist art techniques for torture during the Spanish Civil War. The set reinterprets Alphonse Laurencic’s “checa” prison cell, which employed devices derived from artist Wassily Kandinsky’s philosophies to psychologically torture prisoners. In the work performer Lauren Bakst, clad in a costume based on Varvara Stepanova’s constructivist designs, performs choreography influenced by directives based from this history. The piece raises questions as to whether art can truly serve a social purpose that negates a capitalist agenda and whether art is at risk of becoming a prisoner to itself in the age of market-driven practices.
Checa was developed as part of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Process Space Artist Residency Program.