Jean Barberis, a native of France, came to New York in 2000 to learn a few things and has never left. He is a well-travelled young man and a jack of all trades. Barberis is co-founder of Flux Factory's gallery space and arts collective.
We are the Volkov Commanders, a unified alter ego from a future of our own making who have travelled from the Moon on the Volkov, a large mechanical woolly Mammoth. We strive to continuously evolve and allow ourselves to indulge our imaginations and encourage the indulgence of others. We entertain and excite, making work centered on characters that celebrate movement, sound and costume. This takes form through enacting rituals, ceremony, séance and offerings.
We have been working together putting on performance events around Manchester for nearly 3 years starting with curating large scale live performance exhibitions; to collaborations with artists, musicians and festivals/events; and smaller immersive performance works that take audience participation to another dimension. Some of our most recent work includes Orbit: A Show In Seven Parts, an experimental take on a music festival where the audience’s power of choice was left at the front door as they were guided around venues to encounter and watch specially commissioned performances, and Synesthetic Moonscape where we we became a living, interactive, geometrically shaped orchestra, performed at an event at the Liverpool Biennial.
Through our performance work we strive to be accessible to the audience, often handing over the performance to them by handing out costumes and masks, which enables the audience to be included in the work and ultimately lead in their own performances.
Other shows have included an audience powered light and sound show, that mapped the constellations of the stars; a future disco party from the moon; an interactive live silent film and a cross country tour with a bunch of feline faced glitter freaks that ended each night with an otherworldly glitterbang.
We are excited about coming to Flux to be able to use this time to experiment and test out new ideas within every aspect of our practice, whether it’s a costume idea, an impromptu performance piece or a video shoot. Collaboration, cross disciplinary projects and working spontaneously with a DIY approach is at the core of what we do, and we want to use our time at Flux and the opportunity of being in a new city to do more of this. We’ll also be using this as a chance to collaborate with NYC based collective CHERYL, who we met last year in Manchester during their residency at Islington Mill. This past summer we teamed up with them to do a three show tour starting in Manchester, then going to Berlin, and finally ending in a mini-residency and performance at Hangar in Barcelona. When we’re in New York we’re planning on hooking up with them again for this years’ CHERYLween party on the 31st.