Ericka Beckman (US, 1951)
Residency period: January-March 2023
During her residency, Ericka Beckman worked on the film iteration of her first live performance, Stalk, which was presented during the Performa Biennial in New York in 2021. Stalk is a continuation of Beckman’s research, which is based on fairy tales and popular narratives – this time focusing on the efforts of farmers and herders to self-organize. At La Becque, Beckman has been developing, writing, and drawing storyboards for 10 minutes of new material for this project. She has also been working with a vocalist to record a new vocal soundtrack. The artist plans to film new live-action scenes in the summer of 2023 during a residency in Armenia. The final version of the film iteration of Stalk will be presented in Valais in October 2023.
Among other avenues, Beckman gave a lecture at EDHEA as part of the ongoing research project “Les arts du consortage comme manœuvres collaboratives” led by the Valais School of Art, which focuses on Swiss herders and farmers who are implementing collective structures to share and preserve natural resources. Beckman will return to EDHEA for a performance workshop based on Stalk in the fall of 2023.
Beckman has also showcased a large part of her drawings in an exhibition at the Francesca Pia Gallery in Zürich in addition to showing 4 short films at the Bellevaux Cinema in Lausanne, in collaboration with the art space Tunnel Tunnel.
Ericka Beckman was trained as a visual artist and is known for her films that combine games with research into language acquisition, social learning and identity formation in place of dialogue and character identification. Described as a key figure of the Pictures Generation, her work investigates how individuals shape their self-image based on outside influencers in an age of mass media. Her films and installations use colour, sound and movement to examine cultural signs and subjectivity, particularly with regard to labour, leisure and gender. She uses both game and the fairy tale as an alternative narrative base. Rethinking fairy tales can offer an addition to interdisciplinary dialogues and bring new and unexpected points into view.
1: Ericka Beckman at La Becque, photo Aurélien Haslebacher
2-7: ‘Stalk’, Performa Biennial, 2021
8: Ericka Beckman in La Becque's studio