Kjell Theøry, Prologue 

Multi-iteration project hosted by the International Museum of Surgical Science and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Arts from January 20, 2017 – April 9, 2017, featuring work by the performance art ensemble Anatomical Theaters of Mixed Reality (ATOM-r).

header image: ATOM-r performs “Kjell Theøry: Prologue,” at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts; a painting from the IMSS permanent, “Caesarian Section” (c.1954) by Enrique Grau, collection appears in the video projection.


about the project 
Anatomical Theaters of Mixed Reality (ATOM-r) is a provisional collective exploring forensics, anatomy, and 21st century embodiment through performance, language and emerging technologies. Participants include Mark Jeffery (choreography), Judd Morrissey (text and technology), Justin Deschamps and Christopher Knowlton (collaborators/performers). Over the course of their artist residency at the International Museum of Surgical Science, ATOM-r developed “Kjell Theøry: Prologue,” a multi-iteration project which took the form of an exhibition,  a non-narrative film, and related interventions at the Museum, as well as a series of live performances at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Arts,

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Anatomical Theaters of Mixed Reality (ATOM-r) in the International Museum of Surgical Science’s Hall of Murals during their artist residency.

“Kjell Theøry: Prologue,” is best described as an Augmented Reality (AR) experience juxtaposing the historical narrative of gay computing pioneer Alan Turing’s forced chemical castration and subsequent gynecomastia (development of breasts) with algorithmic mutations of Guillaume Apollinaire’s 1917 play, Les Mamelles de Tirésias (Tirésias’ Breasts), a genderfluid spectacle for which the author invented the word surrealism. “Kjell Theøry: Prologue” explores content that blurs the boundaries the binaries of physical and virtual space, past and future, male and female genders, and human and machine.

ATOM-r performs “Kjell Theøry: Prologue” at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Arts
ATOM-r performs “Kjell Theøry: Prologue” at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Arts
Rehearsals for “Kjell Theøry: Prologue” in the International Museum of Surgical Science’s Thorek Library and Rare Manuscripts Collection
Rehearsals for “Kjell Theøry: Prologue” in the International Museum of Surgical Science’s Hall of Immortals
ATOM-r performs “Kjell Theøry: Prologue” at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Arts
ATOM-r performs “Kjell Theøry: Prologue” at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Arts
ATOM-r performs “Kjell Theøry: Prologue” at the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Arts
Detail of inflatable sculpture by Claire Ashley with screen printed eye-ball balloons by Oli Watt created for the exhibition
AR Interface running program by Judd Morrissey, secured in rope holster created by Elena Ailes for the exhibition
Sectional tables in “Kjell Theøry: Prologue” exhibition, originally created by Bryan Saner for ATOM-r’s performance “The Operature” (2013)
Installation shot of “Kjell Theøry: Prologue” exhibition
Installation shot of “Kjell Theøry: Prologue” exhibition
Detail of sectional tables by Bryan Saner, originally created for ATOM-r’s performance “The Operature” (2013), with daisy embellishments

ATOM-r invited a number of collaborators to develop the project during their residency, including: Grace DuVal (costumes); Elena Ailes, Claire Ashley, Bryan Saner, Laura Prieto-Velasco, Stephen Reynolds, and Oli Watt (objects); Leonardo Kaplan (performance); Mev Luna (research assistant); Joshua Patterson (sound); Josh Hoglund (lighting); Javier Lopez (graphic design); and Julia Pello (video).  and multi-venue production.