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Thurs, Feb 9–Sun, Feb 19, 2017

Location: Floor Three, Susan and John Hess Family Theater

Beginning on February 9, artists MPA, Amapola Prada, and Elizabeth Marcus-Sonenberg enter Orbit, a continuous ten-day performance staged in the narrow space between the windowpanes of the Whitney’s theater, overlooking the Hudson River.

The enclosed environment—which includes a composting toilet, plants, a ten-day supply of food and water, basic bedding, a treadmill, instruments, and a three-camera video surveillance system—is inspired by the simulation projects conducted by universities and space agencies to test human life on spacecrafts and on Mars. The participants’ conditions partially emulate those of astronauts orbiting Earth: sleeping in scheduled rotations, receiving messages on a delay, exercising daily, and tracking their energy usage. They embark on Orbit without rehearsal, each with their own assignments, objectives, and visions of the future and survival. They transmit messages across the glass to beings both present and unseen. The endeavor is, in the artist’s words, “real theater.” The Orbiters exit on February 19, 2017, in the performance Assembly.

Orbit is live 24-hours a day for ten Earth days, from February 9 to 19, 2017 and is on view from either side of the window, in the Whitney’s Hess Theater during regular Museum hours, and 24/7 at the corner of West and Gansevoort Street. A series of theatrical climaxes will occur each day, full schedule forthcoming. 

Orbit is movement III of the four-part, unfolding exhibition MPA: RED IN VIEW, which includes an installation in the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Gallery on the Museum’s first floor. 

Entrance to the theater is free with Museum admission. Please note: the theater will close at noon on Sunday, February 19 in preparation for the ticketed performance Assembly.

Artist Statement

For 10 days, we will be in Orbit
measuring our bodily in-take and out-take to test a sustainable equation
in a real theater in which we are ourselves and an analog of ourselves.

In Orbit, we are floating in rotational absence—but potently present. 
we are dead to life, because life is dying

and it is our fault.

we will do this because we must do this and do this together now to continue to know why we do what we do.


Orbiters: Amapola Prada, Elizabeth Marcus-Sonenberg, and MPA

With: General Sisters (Dana Bishop-Root & Ginger Brooks-Takahashi) (Food and Nourishment), Jason Hughes (Technical Direction), Maria Shaplin (Lighting Design), Allie Tepper, Greta Hartenstein, and Jay Sanders (Ground Control); Malin Arnell (Former Orbiter); Allie Tepper (Dramaturge); Nance Klehm (Compost Consultant)

MPA (b. 1980), Orbit, 2016. Digital collage. Courtesy of the artist.

MPA (b. 1980), Orbit, 2016. Digital collage. Courtesy of the artist.

Climax Clock

Climaxes are daily points of intensity that the Orbiters enact with each other, observers from the street and theater, and immaterial and material components in Orbit.

*Performances marked with an asterisk take place outside of Museum hours, and may only be viewed from outside the Museum on West Street.

Thursday, February 9
11:30 am; 2:45, 3, 3:15, 5:15, 6 pm*

Friday, February 10
10:45 am; 2:45, 3, 3:15, 7:30, 9:15 pm, 10 pm*

Saturday, February 11
2 am*; 1, 2:45, 3, 3:15, 7:30, 10 pm*

Sunday, February 12
6 am*; 1, 5:30 pm

Monday, February 13
11:30 am; 2:45, 3, 3:15, 5:45 pm

Tuesday, February 14
9:30 am*
Please note: the Museum is closed on Tuesdays.

Wednesday, February 15
11:30 am; 1:15, 4:45, 6*, 7:30 pm*

Thursday, February 16
7*, 11:30 am; 2:45, 3, 3:15, 5:20, 6 pm*

Friday, February 17
7 am*; 1, 1:15, 1:30, 7:30, 9:15, 10 pm*

Saturday, February 18
11:30 am; 3, 7:30, 10 pm*

Sunday, February 19
11:30 am