Below is a collection of important historical artists, spaces and productions which we can use as examples of interdisciplinary collaboration. This list is in no way exhaustive and we would love suggestions for other examples to include - just CONTACT us and share.
Ballet Russes (1909-1929)
The Ballets Russes was an itinerant ballet company based in Paris that performed between 1909 and 1929 throughout Europe and on tours to North and South America. Originally conceived by impresario Sergei Diaghilev, the Ballets Russes is widely regarded as the most influential ballet company of the 20th century, in part because it promoted ground-breaking artistic collaborations among young choreographers, composers, designers, and dancers, all at the forefront of their several fields. Diaghilev commissioned works from composers such as Igor Stravinsky and Claude Debussy, and artists such as Léon Bakst, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse, and designer Coco Chanel.
Sun Ra & the Arkestra (1952-now)
The Arkestra was first led by jazz pioneer, mystic, philosopher, poet and consummate Afro-Futurist, Sun Ra (b. Herman Poole Blount 1914, Birmingham, Alabama; died 1993). From the mid-1950s to his death, Sun Ra led "The Arkestra", an ensemble with an ever-changing name and flexible line-up, who expressed their "cosmic philosophy" and afro-centric politics through music, costume, performance, film and publication. The Arkestra is currently led by longtime saxophonist Marshall Allen.
Merce Cunningham Dance Company (1970-2012)
Merce Cunningham Dance Company frequently collaborated with visual artists, architects, designers, and musicians. Many of Cunningham's most famous innovations were developed in collaboration with composer John Cage, his life partner. Cunningham and Cage used stochastic (random) procedures to generate material, discarding many artistic traditions of narrative and form. Other collaborations have included musicians David Tudor, Gavin Bryars and popular bands like Radiohead, Sigur Rós and Sonic Youth; as well as visual artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Daniel Arsham, Tacita Dean, Liz Phillips, Rei Kawakubo, Roy Lichtenstein, Bruce Nauman, Ernesto Neto, Frank Stella, Benedetta Tagliabue, and Andy Warhol. Works that he produced with these artists had a profound impact on avant-garde art beyond the world of dance.
A wild marriage of Marshall McLuhan's theories, the emergent hippie counter-culture, and a radically anarchic attitude to art making, Intermedia was the origin of Canada's artist-run centre culture. Intermedia was a centre for poets, dancers, musicians and visual artists interested in exploration and interdisciplinary practices. Activities included Duchampian and Fluxus-based investigations into mail art, telecommunications art, live electronic music, video and performance art.
Tropicália, also known as Tropicalismo, is a Brazilian artistic movement that arose in the late 1960s. It encompassed art forms such as theatre, poetry, and music. The movement was characterized by a combination of the popular and the avant-garde, as well as a fusion of traditional Brazilian culture with foreign influences. Today, Tropicália is chiefly associated with the musical faction of the movement, which merged Brazilian and African rhythms with rock and roll, but was also connected to pop art and the neo-concrete movement. A dominant principle of Tropicália was antropofagia, originally put forth by poet Oswald de Andrade in 1928, a type of cultural cannibalism that encouraged the conflation of disparate influences, out of which could be created something unique. Musicians who were part of the movement include Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Os Mutantes, Gal Costa, Tom Zé, and the poet/lyricist Torquato Neto, all of whom participated in the 1968 album Tropicália: ou Panis et Circencis, which served as a musical manifesto.
Judson Dance Theatre (1962-1964)
Judson Dance Theater was a collective of dancers, composers, and visual artists who performed at the Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village, Manhattan New York City between 1962 and 1964. It grew out of a composition class taught by Robert Dunn, a musician who had studied with John Cage. The artists involved were avant garde experimentalists who rejected the confines of Modern dance practice and theory, inventing as they did the precepts of Postmodern dance.
Some of the notable seminal dance artists, musicians and visual artists who were part of the Judson Dance Theater include:
Trisha Brown, Jessica Cargill, Lucinda Childs, Philip Corner, Judith Dunn, Malcolm Goldstein, David Gordon, Sally Gross, Deborah Hay, Fred Herko, Tony Holder, Meredith Monk, Aileen Passloff, Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer, Arlene Rothlein, Carolee Schneemann, Jen Scoble, Valda Setterfield, Elaine Summers, James Waring
Victory over the Sun (1913)
Victory over the Sun was a Russian Futurist opera. The libretto written in zaum language was contributed by Aleksei Kruchonykh, the music was written by Mikhail Matyushin, the prologue was added by Velimir Khlebnikov, and the stage designer was Kasimir Malevich. The performance was organized by the artistic group Soyuz Molodyozhi. The opera has become famous as the event where Malevich made his first "Black Square" painting (in 1915).
Sankai Juku (1975-Now)
Sankai Juku is an internationally known butoh dance troupe, co-founded by Amagatsu Ushio in 1975. Butoh first appeared in Japan post-World War II in 1959, under the collaboration of Hijikata Tatsumi and Ohno Kazuo. Music and sound effects are employed, often repetitiously, and range from dynamic drumming to jazz, natural sounds such as wind, sirens, etc., to electronic music and sounds so soft as to be barely perceptible – and periods of silence. Spare scenic backgrounds, delicately nuanced lighting and arresting props add to the ethereal nature of their performances.
FLUXUS (ca. 1961-Now)
Fluxus is an international network of artists, composers and designers noted for blending different artistic media and disciplines beginning in the 1960s. They varied in performance, Neo-Dada noise music and visual art, urban planning, architecture, design, as well as literature. Fluxus has a strong current of anti-commercial and anti-art sensibility. Fluxus was heavily influenced by the ideas of John Cage and Marcel Duchamp, and has involved dozens of artists, writers and musicians including Alison Knowles, La Monte Young, George Brecht, Al Hansen, Dick Higgins, George Maciunas, Joseph Beuys, Yoko Ono and Nam June Paik, among many others.
The Wooster Group (1975-now)
The Wooster Group is a New York City-based experimental theater company known for creating numerous original dramatic works for theater, dance, and media. The ensemble is directed by Elizabeth LeCompte and has launched the careers of many actors, including founding member Willem Dafoe. It's other founding members include Jim Clayburgh, Spalding Gray, Peyton Smith, Kate Valk, and Ron Vawter.
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1973-Now)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 musical comedy horror film directed by Jim Sharman. The screenplay was written by Sharman and Richard O'Brien based on the 1973 musical stage production. It became known as a midnight movie when audiences began participating with the film at the Waverly Theater in New York City in 1976. Audience members returned to the cinemas frequently, talked back to the screen and began dressing as the characters, spawning similar performance groups across the United States. Fans in costume at the King's Court Theater in Pittsburgh began performing the movie with the film as a "shadow cast". In this way the film has become an evolving and regionally specific collaboration between audience, performers, and the original creators of the film.