Open Casting Call: The Paradox of Stillness


Walker Art Center

Cally Spooner, DEAD TIME, 2019, Art institute of Chicago. Photo courtesy of the artist

The Walker Art Center is seeking actors, dancers, musicians, and members of the public to activate 10 artworks testing the boundaries between stillness and aliveness.

Presenting works from the early 20th century to today by an international roster of artists, the exhibition The Paradox of Stillness: Art, Object, and Performance (on view April 18–July 26, 2020) examines the notion of stillness as both a performative and visual gesture. Stillness and permanence are qualities typically seen as inherent to painting and sculpture. We are familiar with the frozen gestures of a historical tableau, the timelessness of a still life painting, or the unyielding solidity of a bronze or marble figure. This new exhibition expands the artwork’s quality of stillness to accommodate uncertain temporalities and physical states. Reconsidering the history of performance, the presentation highlights artists whose works include performative elements but also embrace acts, objects, and gestures that refer more to the inert qualities of traditional painting or sculpture than to true staged action.

The Paradox of Stillness features 10 works that include a live performer. These artworks will be activated for specified periods during the run of the exhibition by a selection of actors, dancers, musicians, and other performers, both professional and nonprofessional. Approximately 35 people will be cast to cover 20 distinct roles. Each application process is similar, though may vary slightly depending on the specific requirements of the performance and the needs of the artist. The following artworks are part of the open casting call.

Casting Call Overview

Unless otherwise noted, all performance and activation shifts are four hours long. Many positions require evening and weekend availability. All positions are paid, with the exception of Good Feelings in Good Times and Definierter Ort, beweglich Ziele, which will be activated by volunteers. Headshots do not need to be professional.

Deadline: Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, with a final deadline of November 26, 2019. Applications for Anthea Hamilton’s new commission are due November 4, 2019.

For more information: Do not hesitate to reach out to Project Manager Eben Kowler at [email protected] or 612.253.3412 with questions about the schedule, rehearsals, performer requirements, or application process.


New Commission: Anthea Hamilton
Seeking three performers, at least one in a speaking role.

Anthea Hamilton (UK, b. 1978) works across media, incorporating sculpture, installation, and performance into her practice. Created from a combination of objects and images, both found and made, the environments she produces are live and conversational, at once humorous and serious, minimal and maximal. For this commission, the artist is interested in exploring correlations between body language and familiarity of place. The choreography/actions will be developed and rehearsed with the artist, but a level of improvisation will be required. Performers who are new to the Twin Cities and are finding their feet and connection to the place are encouraged to apply. Performers who moved to the area but are now established as well as those born in the Twin Cities are also invited to apply.

Schedule: April 17–19, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, and 30; May 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 10. Rehearsals: tentatively April 13–16, 2020, to be determined in collaboration with the artist and Walker project manager.

Performer requirements: Applications from all are welcome. No specific training, skills, degree, or company experience are required. Performers will be asked to create movement and material from images and scenarios in conversation with the artist. Experience in physical theater, devised theater, dance improvisation, or mask work are a plus.

To be considered: Please email a CV or resume, headshot, and brief description of how you relate to finding a connection to place to [email protected], along with your name and “Anthea Hamilton performer” in the subject line. Selected candidates will be invited to an audition with the artist on the morning of November 11, 2019.

Deadline: November 4, 2019

Links: The Squash at Tate Britain (2018), Grasses at Serpentine Gallery, London (2016


Artwork: Pierre Huyghe’s Name Announcer (2011)
Seeking one or two “announcers” to activate the piece.

Name Announcer by Pierre Huyghe (France, b. 1962) consists of a tuxedoed announcer who greets guests at the entrance to one of the museum’s galleries. The announcer will politely request the visitor’s name. When the visitor steps past the greeter and into the gallery, their name will be announced to everyone within earshot. This interactive piece incorporates the viewer into the work of art, acknowledging their presence in the gallery space.

Schedule: Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, April 17–July 26, 2020
Rehearsals to be scheduled in consultation with the artist’s representative and Walker project manager (tentativeliy April 11, 2020).

Announcer Requirements: Ages 25 to 65; clean and tidy in appearance, tall.

To be considered: Please email a CV or resume and a headshot to [email protected] with your name and “Name Announcer” in the subject line. Selected candidates will be contacted to set up a Skype audition with the artist’s representative and the Walker project manager.


Artwork: Senga Nengudi’s R.S.V.P. (1975)
Seeking one female dancer of color with improvisation experience and one musician comfortable improvising with dancers.

R.S.V.P. by Senga Nengudi (US, b. 1943) is a sculpture of sand-filled, dark-hued pantyhose knotted and stretched in all directions, bringing to mind the resilience and vulnerability of the human body. As Nengudi describes, the work “relates to the elasticity of the human body, from tender, tight beginnings to sagging… The body can only stand so much push and pull until it gives way.”

Schedule: April 17 and July 18, 2020. Rehearsal: April 9 and/or 10, plus one brush-up rehearsal to be scheduled in consultation with the artist, performers, and Walker project manager.

Performer requirements: Dancers should have experience improvising to live music. Musicians should have experience with improvisation and be able to perform in a gallery setting with minimal technical support; experience working with dancers is a plus.

To be considered: Dancers, please email links to a website and/or videos of performances as well as a headshot to [email protected] with your name and “R.S.V.P.” in the subject line. Musicians please send links to your music and note any experience working and improvising with dancers. For all candidates, please identify yourself in any video or recording (for example, “I am the dancer in the red shirt” or “I play the trumpet”). The artist will make final selections.

Links: R.S.V.P. at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (2015), R.S.V.P. I at MoMA Learning (2003)


Artwork: Francesco Arena, Angolo Scontento (Homage à la mort di Sigmund Freud), 2018
Seeking people born in 1939 to activate a monumental sculptural installation.

Angolo Scontento by Francesco Arena (Italy, b. 1978) monumentalizes the death of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. The work consists of a copper band suspended above the ground, which is mounted to form a corner. This sculpture is activated by a seated performer born in 1939 (the same year in which Freud died). When someone approaches the sculpture, the performer gives the visitor their name and birth date and tells a little bit about their life.

Schedule: Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays on alternating weeks, April 17–July 26, 2020.  Rehearsal: April 14, 2020

Performer requirements: Born in 1939.

To be considered: Please contact project manager Eben Kowler by phone at 612.253.3412, or email [email protected] with your name and “Angolo Scontento” in the subject line.


Artwork: Simone Forti, Cloths (1967)
Seeking four of five people with performance art experience.

Simone Forti (US, b. Italy, 1935) is known for her dance constructions—performances that combine sculptural objects with performance scores. In Cloths, three performers, obscured by black panels of fabric, sing sections of songs ranging in style from classical to folk to pop in several languages.

Schedule: April 17–July 26, 2020, on the following dates: April 17–19; May 7, 9, 10, 28, 30, and 31; July 16, 18, and 19. Rehearsal: April 6 and 7.

Performer requirements: Performers should feel at home in front of an audience and enjoy singing whether anyone is listening or not. They do not need to be experienced singers or dancers.

To be considered: Please send your resume or CV along with a brief paragraph describing why you would like to be a part of this project to [email protected] with your name and “Cloths” in the subject line. Please include the names of three of your favorite songs and links to those songs, or better yet, you singing them.

Links: Performance of Cloths at the Box, Los Angeles (2012)


Artwork: Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled (Go-Go Dancing Platform) (1991)
Seeking several dancers for the run of the show.

“Untitled” (Go-Go Dancing Platform) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres consists of a painted platform with a single row of light bulbs tracing the perimeter. For the majority of the time that the work is on view, the platform is empty. However, the platform may be activated by a dancer for a limited amount of time each day of the exhibition. The dancer wears a silver lamé bathing suit and listens to their own music through headphones, while dancing on top of the platform.

It is important that the dancers are able to maintain a personal/internal focus whether the gallery is empty or crowded with visitors.

Schedule: Tuesdays–Sundays, April 17–July 26, 2020. Rehearsal: April 10 and/or 11.

Performer pequirements: Prior dance experience. A degree or company experience is not required.

Audition Information: 

Tuesday, December 10, 10 am–12 noon
Jawaahir Dance Company
3010 Minnehaha Av S
Minneapolis, MN 55406


Tuesday, December 17, 7–9 pm
Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts
Target Education Studio (2nd Floor)
528 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Please register in advance by sending a CV or resume to [email protected] with your name and “Untitled (Go-Go Dancing Platform)” in the subject line. Please bring a personal listening device and headphones and wear clothes that you are comfortable moving in. No street shoes.

Links: Go-Go Dancing at the Hammer Museum (2009)


New Commission: Cally Spooner
Seeking two thoughtful and energetic dancers to participate in a new work.

This new piece by Cally Spooner (UK, b. 1983) explores the spectrum of (a)liveness between the notions of still life and temps mort, or dead time. Temps mort refers to a cinematic technique developed by Italian filmmaker Michelangelo Antonioni in which the camera is left running to film unplanned and unscripted occurrences. In doing so, diffractive collisions of matter emerge through hidden, elongated stillness and elongated time. Drawing from the history of still life painting, this new live work will reflect on how still life might be conceived today, such as the kinds of wealth, obsessive arrangement, and commodity fetish found in a managed and controlled Instagram feed.

The new duet will channel thoughts around these concepts into a live performance, one that reflects on life cycles, death drives, exchange, and currency, exploring the different temporalities and rhythms that play out anatomically in the duetting bodies: from the stagnation created by a strive for anatomical perfection to an elongation of time created by the attempt to repair.

Schedule: May 14–17, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, and 31; June 4, 6, and 7. Rehearsals: April 13–17; brush-up rehearsals May 12 and/or 13.

Performer requirements: The performers should be trained dancers who are athletic movers and sympathetic to the concept of the piece, which explores the impact of finance, technology, and neoliberalism on a subject’s anatomy. The performers will be working with artist Cally Spooner on developing new elements of a work originally created for the Art Institute of Chicago.

To be considered: Please email links to a website or videos of performances and a headshot to [email protected] with your name and “Cally Spooner performer” in the subject line. Selected performers will be invited to a Skype interview with the artist.

Links: Detailed Casting CallDEAD TIME at Art Institute of Chicago (2019)


Artwork: Goshka Macuga, Death of Marxism, Women of All Lands Unite (2013)
Seeking several female-identifying performers to activate a living tapestry.

London-based artist Goshka Macuga (Poland, b. 1967) draws on archival materials, assembling together seemingly disparate images in order to create new narratives. Tapestry is a significant form for the artist. In this piece, the tapestry serves as the stage for two female performers who pose in a Déjuener sur l’herbe–style action after the painting by Édouard Manet. The work’s title plays on the famous communist rallying cry engraved on Marx’s tombstone, “workers of all lands unite,” replacing the word “workers” with “women.” In this exchange, Macuga shifts the slogan from a communist call to action to end class struggle to a feminist one, calling for the end of sexist oppression.

Schedule: Tuesdays–Sundays, April 17–July 26, 2020. Rehearsal: April 15

Performer requirements: Must fit costume: the artist-designed leotards are a women’s size 8 but are made of elasticized fabrics that can accommodate between a size 4 and 10.

To be considered: Please send a CV or resume, portrait, and measurements to [email protected] with your name and “Death of Marxism, Women of All Lands Unite” in the subject line. Selected candidates will be contacted to arrange a costume fitting.


Artwork: Roman Ondak, Good Feelings in Good Times (2003)
Seeking volunteers to wait in line for one hour for nothing in particular to happen, with no particular purpose.

In this participatory piece by Roman Ondak (Slovakia, b. 1966), an artificially created queue is formed. This may be in a spot where it would make sense for people to line up or it could be in an unexpected but not totally irrelevant location. At once light-hearted and Kafkaesque, Good Feelings in Good Times touches on a universal experience that evokes feelings of boredom, frustration, and camaraderie in the face of an anonymous bureaucracy. As the artist describes, “I became interested in the phenomenon of the queue because it is very unstable, but on the other hand it shows a very strong sense of participation… Even if you are not queuing, you are participating as you are facing your memories of queues in the past.” Activations of this piece will periodically happen, unannounced, throughout the show for one hour at a time.

Schedule: Per the artist’s instructions, audiences will encounter this piece by chance. Due to this objective, the activation schedule is available by request only for those interested in participating in the work.

Participant requirements: Participants must be able to commit to arriving at the museum 45 minutes before the activation of the piece. There are no restrictions on who can participate in this work. Accessibility accommodations can be made for those unable to stand for the one-hour duration of the activation.

To participate: For more information and the activation schedule, please email [email protected] with your name and phone number. Please include your name and “Good Feelings in Good Times” in the subject line.


Artwork: Franz Erhard Walther, Definierter Ort, beweglich Ziele (Defined Place, Mobile Targets) (1984)
Seeking volunteers to stand within the sculpture against the wall.

Throughout his artistic career, Franz Erhard Walther (German, b. 1939) has explored topics related to the body, sculpture, architecture, and the concept of action. Walther understands the artwork as an act of communication, a “sculptural action in space.” As such, time, body, language, and memory become the building blocks of his sculptural actions. This piece is activated by a live performer who stands within the sculpture against the wall.

Schedule: To be determined by participants’ availability.

Participant requirements: Participants must be able to commit to arriving at the museum 30 minutes before the activation of the piece. There are no restrictions on who can participate in this piece. Accessibility accommodations can be made for those unable to stand for the one-hour duration of the activation.

To Participate: For more information and the activation schedule, please email [email protected] with your name and phone number. Please include your name and “Defined Place, Mobile Targets” in the subject line.



Applicants will be considered on a rolling basis, with a final deadline of November 26, 2019. Applications for Anthea Hamilton’s new commission are due November 4, 2019. If you have any questions about the schedule, rehearsals, or would like more clarification on how to be considered, do not hesitate to contact Project Manager Eben Kowler at [email protected] or 612.253.3412.

Opportunity Opens

Thursday, Oct 24th 2019

Opportunity Closes

Tuesday, Nov 26th 2019, 11:45pm

Application Location

External Site
MN Artists