In Production for a Circle, written and directed by artist Aria Dean, two young, fashionable couples convene for dinner and everything loses its shape. The four characters–A, B, C, and D–pass through a crisis of subjecthood, causing them to lose sight of themselves, of each other, and of the boundaries between them. Without a distinct sense of self, the otherwise individual actors become interchangeable vessels. Altogether, they lose coherence and become a chorus with no object to speak of, instead delivering a text about being emptied out and filled back up with nothing.
Production for a Circle’s inquiry into subjectivity, meaning, and communication draws on Dean’s ongoing artistic research and practice into reconfigurations of the subject posed in discourses across art, philosophy, and critical theory; namely: the deterioration of the coherent, free-willing individual and an escape from what Deleuze and Guattari would call the “abstract machine of faciality.” Production for a Circle does not actively theorize another specific way of being, but drags the characters to the edge of the void wherein it might be found. We leave them wanting to be new.
Production for a Circle also marks a shift in Dean’s practice toward an exploration of the relationship between theater, film, and sculpture, and toward employing dramatic narrative for theoretical ends. The production is performed in-the-round on a minimalist set and captured by a 360 degree camera at its center.
Production for a Circle was originally written and performed as Get-Together: A Tragedy of Language, a table-read at the Swiss Institute in New York City in March 2018. It was later performed at the Hammer Museum during Dean’s Artist Residency in summer 2018. The film that results from Production for a Circle is the final instance of this larger, ongoing project.
Aria Dean (b. 1993) is an artist, writer and curator based in New York and Los Angeles. She is Assistant Curator of Net Art & Digital Culture at Rhizome. Dean’s writing has been featured in Texte zur Kunst, e-flux, Artforum, Art in America, Kaleidoscope and many other publications. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include (meta)models or how i got my groove back, Chapter NY; Aria Dean, Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo; lonesome crowded west, Chateau Shatto, Los Angeles; Gut Pinch, The Sunroom, Richmond; and White Ppl Think I’m Radical, Arcadia Missa, London. Dean has also participated in group exhibitions internationally at Het Hem, Amsterdam; ICA Philadelphia; Higher Pictures, NY; Bodega, NY; Schinkel Pavilion, Berlin. Her films have been screened at Julia Stoschek Collection, and International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) 2019. She has lectured at various institutions such as Yale University, Cranbrook Art Museum, La Casa Encendida, Transmediale Festival, and Atlanta Contemporary.
A —- Bingham Bryant
B —- Annie Hamilton
C —- Brendan Kirk
D —- Dasha Nekrasova