Cécile B. Evans, A Screen Test for an Adaptation of Giselle, 2019 (still). Courtesy of the artist.

High Line Art announces the US premiere of A Screen Test for an Adaptation of Giselle, an experimental short film by Cécile B. Evans. The work will screen daily at dusk from October 21, 2021 through January 5, 2022, as a part of High Line Channel—an ongoing series of video projections in the semi-enclosed passageway on the High Line at 14th Street. The exhibition is organized by Melanie Kress, High Line Art Associate Curator.

A Screen Test for an Adaptation of Giselle (2019, 8 min. 50 sec.) is the first chapter in an evolving adaptation of the industrial-era ballet. In Evans’s staging, the tragic, romantic ballet morphs into an ecofeminist thriller staged in a forest commune in the near future. In the original ballet, Giselle dies from heartache following the revelation of her suitor Albrecht’s deception; after her death, she saves herself from becoming a Wili—a trapped spirit of a wronged maiden—by in turn saving Albrecht from his own death by exhaustion at the hand of the other spirits. In Evans’s version, Giselle’s death proposes the possibility of escape through the triumph of multiplicity over essentialism.

The film stitches together various formats, including digital footage, 16mm, VHS recordings, animation, and deep AI, among other techniques. A Screen Test includes performances by Alexandrina Hemsley as Giselle, Rebecca Root as Bertie, Lily McMenamy as Leonida, and Viktoria Modesta as Myrthe.

Evans examines the value and applications of emotion in contemporary society. Through entrancing large-scale video installations, Evans teases apart our affective connections to human and not-quite-human actors, such as digitally animated characters, puppets, artificial intelligences, and even inanimate objects. Evans mobilizes cutting-edge technologies including robotics and digital animation to expose and challenge our ever-changing relationships to machines and the cognitive and emotional capacity of humans, our augmentations, and our proxies.

Evans recently participated in a residency with the National Ballet of Marseille in collaboration with the Kistefos Museum, Norway, and exhibited a new performance commission at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, both part of the ongoing adaptation of Giselle.

The production of A Screen Test for an Adaptation of Giselle was supported by Balmain, Paris, with additional support from Forma Arts.

Cécile B. Evans (b. 1983, Cleveland, Ohio) lives and works in London, England. Evans has presented solo exhibitions at Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany (2020); Museo Madre, Naples, Italy (2019); Tramway, Glasgow, Scotland (2018–2019); mumok, Vienna, Austria (2018); Kunsthalle Aarhus, Denmark (2017); Tate Liverpool, England (2016–2017); Castello di Rivoli, Torino, Italy (2016); and Serpentine Galleries, London, England (2014–2019). Evans’s work has been featured in group exhibitions including Liquid Life, Kistefos Museum, Jevnaker, Norway (2021); Is this tomorrow?, Whitechapel Gallery, London, England (2019); Blind Faith: Between the Visceral and the Cognitive in Contemporary Art; Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2018); and Unthought Environments, Renaissance Society Chicago (2018). Evans has participated in major international exhibitions including the 7th International Moscow Biennale, Moscow, Russia (2020), the 4th Ural Industrial Biennial, Ekaterinburg, Russia (2017), 9th Berlin Biennale, Berlin, Germany (2016), and the 20th Sydney Biennale, Australia (2016). The artist’s work is featured in public collections of institutions including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Rubell Family Collection, Miami; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, Denmark; and FRAC Auvergne, France.

Founded in 2009, High Line Art commissions and produces a wide array of artworks on the High Line, including site-specific commissions, exhibitions, performances, video programs, and a series of billboard interventions. Led by Cecilia Alemani, the Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Director & Chief Curator of High Line Art, and presented by the High Line, the art program invites artists to think of creative ways to engage with the unique architecture, history, and design of the park, and to foster a productive dialogue with the surrounding neighborhood and urban landscape.

For more information on High Line Art, please visit thehighline.org/art.

The High Line is both a nonprofit organization and a public park on the West Side of Manhattan. Through our work with communities on and off the High Line, we’re devoted to reimagining public spaces to create connected, healthy neighborhoods and cities. Built on a historic, elevated rail line, the High Line was always intended to be more than a park. You can walk through the gardens, view art, experience a performance, enjoy food or beverage, or connect with friends and neighbors—all while enjoying a unique perspective of New York City.

Nearly 100% of our annual budget comes through donations. The High Line is owned by the City of New York and we operate under a license agreement with NYC Parks.

For more information, visit thehighline.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Lead support for High Line Art comes from Amanda and Don Mullen. Major support is provided by Shelley Fox Aarons and Philip E. Aarons, The Brown Foundation, Inc., Charina Endowment Fund, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Project support is provided by Charlotte Feng Ford. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council, under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson. High Line Channel is supported, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.

@HighLineArtNYC @cecilebevans