Poem of Elisa Lam investigates the last known physical movements, captured by elevator surveillance, of a woman hours before her death in a water tank on the rooftop of the Cecil Hotel, then an SRO, in 2013. Footage of Elisa, released by police in the effort to identify the body, went viral, becoming subject to thousands of conspiracy theories and joining the Black Dahlia as one of the great unsolved mysteries of Los Angeles’ history.
Maya Gurantz has created a body of work in video and dance based on learning the source footage, re-enacting and excavating Elisa’s movement beat-by-beat, working like a “somatic detective” to find the movement beneath the movement and putting Elisa’s own body at the center of any possible attempt to understand her unknowable experience.
For the first time, Maya will be performing these movement sequences live–in an event that is part-dance performance, part-seance.
Maya Gurantz is an artist, performer and writer living in Los Angeles. She currently has two solo video shows up in the LA area: Deipnophoroi at the Grand Central Art Center and Mystery Cult at Greenleaf Gallery. She has also shown work at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (solo), the Oakland Museum, Angels Gate Cultural Center, Beaconsfield Gallery Vauxhall, High Desert Test Sites, Navel LA, and Autonomie Gallery. Gurantz was commissioned to create public video works by the Great Wall of Oakland (with Ellen Sebastian Chang) and The Field Experiment Atlanta. With Elizabeth Goodman, she was the 2016 Media Design Practices Summer Research Fellow at ArtCenter. Her work has been written about in Art21, The Atlantic, FastCompany, and Westword, among others. Her own writing has appeared in The LA Review of Books, This American Life, ACID-FREE, Notes on Looking, The Awl, RECAPS Magazine, InDance, and an anthology, CRuDE, published by the École Nationale Supérieure d’Art, Bourges. She teaches in the Art Department at UC Santa Barbara.