Amant (East Williamsburg), 306 Maujer St, Brooklyn, NY 11206
Oct 22, 12:00 am—1:00 am
Oct 23, 12:00 am—1:00 am
Oct 24, 12:00 am—1:00 am
LIVE STREAM: October 21, 22, 23, click Watch Live, top right corner
In Amazon (Proxy), British-American artist Danielle Dean brings together online gig workers and actors to revisit events that took place at Fordlândia, a short-lived rubber plantation established by Henry Ford in the Amazon in the 1920s. Taking place both online and in person at Amant, the live performance builds on the historical event to create a contemporary drama that riffs on our current modes of working and socializing remotely.
Amazon (Proxy) originated during Dean’s period of research in the archives of the Ford Motor Company in Detroit, where she came across Fordlândia, a city founded in the rainforest in 1928 to control the production of rubber for Ford’s car tires and abandoned in 1934 after the workers rebelled against harsh conditions. In 2021, Dean shifts the focus to the e-commerce company Amazon and its crowdsourcing marketplace “Amazon Mechanical Turk”–– a website that makes it easier for individuals and businesses to outsource their processes and jobs to a globally distributed workforce who can perform tasks at home, on their own time. In the past decade, the website has become a platform on which humans train Artificial Intelligence (AI) in online campaigns of data collection. With its website, Amazon has reconfigured the typical Fordist assembly line into a globally fragmented yet deeply intertwined system of Turkers, all working remotely from home––a phenomenon amplified by the 2020 global lockdown.
Amazon (Proxy) is part of a series of works by Dean all based on the Ford archives that include animation, performance, video, and watercolors.
Curated by Charles Aubin, Senior Curator & Head of Publications
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Amazon (Proxy) (2021). Performa Commission for the Performa 2021 Biennial.
Amazon (Proxy) by Danielle Dean is co-commissioned by Performa and Tate Britain and co-presented with Amant. It is supported by Toby Devan Lewis, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Amant.
Amazon (Proxy) is recipient of the Tomorrowland Projects Foundation Award. A second chapter will be presented at Tate Britain in a solo exhibition by Danielle Dean in January 2022.
Concept and direction: Danielle Dean
Theatrical direction: Mireya Lucio
Choreography: Sandella Malloy
With actors Emily Barkovic, Austin Davis, Ava Rose Paul, and Manik Singh Anand
Featuring Amazon Mechanical Turk workers Amy Cutler, Hunter Keels, Elizabeth Rhodes, and Greg Vendramini
Script by Danielle Dean, Mireya Lucio, and the Amazon Mechanical Turk workers
Musical performance: Mustafa Faruki
Production assistants: Michael Heinz, Kalina Winters, and Edythe Woolley
Technical direction: Andre Ferreira
Lighting designer and operator: Andre Ferreira
Assistant light designer: Dominick Chang
Lighting technician: Ed Charrette
Broadcast technical director and PTZ camera operator: Kyle Harrigan
Audio engineer: Vincent Dee
Stage manager: Madeleine Joyce
Lead stagehand: Corey Hucks
Video editing: Conrad Jones
Amazon Mechanical Turk workers cinematographer: Conrad Jones
Forest cinematographer: Luis Guizar
Sound design: John Somers
Many thanks to Lonti Ebers, Ruth Estévez, Isabella Nimmo, Nick Pilato, Vivyan Zhang, and Tony Limauro at Amant for their immediate enthusiasm for Amazon (Proxy) and wonderful support over the past year. Special thanks to Ben Hartley at the National Arts Club and LeighAnne Tucci at 28 Liberty.
The artist would like to thank Manuel Shvartzberg Carrió, Sophia Lee, Luisa Aguilar-Solis, Jamie Kenyon and Oliver Newton at 47 Canal, Kibum Kim and Young Chung at Commonwealth and Council, Alejandro Romo, Lilly Irani and turkopticon, and Wajid Mohammed.
Senior Curator & Head of Publications: Charles Aubin
Producer: Bob Kalas
Associate Producer: Sheridan Telford
Performa 2021 Biennial Fellow: Steph Christ
Portrait of Danielle Dean
ABOUT Danielle Dean
A British-American artist of Nigerian descent, Danielle Dean (b. 1982) studied Fine Art at Central St Martins in London and received her MFA from California Institute of the Arts. She has been a Whitney Independent Study Program Fellow in New York and is an alum of the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Dean currently teaches at the University of California San Diego. Recent solo exhibitions include “Trigger Torque” at Ludwig Forum for International Art in Aachen, Germany (2019), “A Portrait of True Red” at Cranbrook Art Museum in Detroit (2018), and “Bazar” at 47 Canal in New York (2018). Danielle Dean’s work was featured in recent group exhibitions such as “Freedom of Movement” at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and “Knock Knock” at the South London Gallery (both 2018). Dean lives and works in Los Angeles, California.