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About the EventProfessor Michelle Ellsworth

Join us for an educational evening with Distinguished Professor Michelle Ellsworth, who will share excerpts of her work and talk about some intersections between: dance, language, machine learning, and some classical Greek writers.

She will spotlight two projects of hers:

  • Post-Verbal Social Network (PVSN) employs both contemporary and pre-industrial technologies to augment the physical labor of choreography and community. In a series of PVSN prototypes, Ellsworth and friends commingle simple mechanical apparatuses as well as Javascript, Arduinos, and a Generative Adversarial Network with choreography to test possible non-language based body to body encounters.
  • Phone Homer: Clytemnestra's Guide to Surveillance-Free Living is a techno-feminist remix of the ancient epic poem, The Iliad. This so-called “work” demonstrates how to avoid exposure to: 1) unstable “watching” and 2) insecure humans. With a completely offline internet and prerecorded replicas of her most frequent conversation, Clytemnestra demonstrates how to live free from surveillance and interpersonal drama.

About the Speaker

Though not a licensed scientist, technologist, pharmacist, or carpenter, Michelle Ellsworth (a middle aged white woman) nevertheless co-mingles these disciplines with dance in an attempt to choreograph coping strategies and wood-based and web-based solutions to geopolitical (and personal) phenomena. Among Ellsworth’s honors are: Doris Duke Artist Award (2019), Guggenheim Fellowship (2016), Doris Duke Impact Award (2015), NEFA National Dance Project Grant (2017, 2014), Creative Capital Fellowship (2013), and USA Artists Knight Fellowship in Dance (2012). She has received three National Performance Network Creation Fund Commissions (2004, 2007, and 2016). Ellsworth has performed all over the world and has been teaching at CU since 1998.


Sean J. Patrick Carney. “Dark Eco-Comedy: Austin’s Fusebox Festival,” Art In America. (May 2, 2019)
“Ellsworth has somehow squeezed an unreasonable amount of late capitalism’s extant anxieties into one of the most affecting performances I’ve seen in years. The Rehearsal Artist made visible a century’s worth of social accelerants stoking the Anthropocene, all in the time it takes most of us to get to our jobs. It is—I say this with sincerity—an important work.”

Brian Siebert. “For Michelle Ellsworth, Practice Makes … More Practice,” The New York Times. (Jan 2, 2018)
“Yet her eccentric and marvelously original art defies easy categorization.”

Maura Donohue. “Getting Real #1: Michelle Ellsworth’s ‘The Rehearsal Artist’ for American Realness,” CultureBot. (Jan 12, 2018) 
“Ellsworth delivers another stunning head trip, literally, as limited audiences encounter and become part of several fleeting social science experiments.”

Claudia La Rocco. “Notes to Self.”  ArtForum. (29 January 2015)
 “... a simultaneous belief in and skepticism toward the power of performance as cathartic social encounter.”

About the Series

The CU Boulder Retired Faculty Association (UCBRFA) presents the distinguished professors of the University of Colorado, a lecture and presentation series featuring some of our finest professors and their extraordinary research and scholarly work.