Inspiration Collection is a bank of  memories, moments and thoughts assembled by choreographer Julian Barnett that support the research and cultivation of performance work within the context of the choreographic MA program, Dance Unlimited, at the ArtEZ Institute in Arnhem, Netherlands.

Julian Barnett is a cultivator of physical art performances and currently lives in the Netherlands.

He enjoys reading books about practical philosophy, science fictional aliens and the apocalypse, non-fiction historical accounts about ‘the war’ and biographies, sometimes autobiographies, about interesting and fascinating people and artists.

He was born in Tokyo, Japan  and transplanted to the ‘Bay Area’ of  California, where he became fascinating with hip-hop culture, diving into improvisational sessions during school recess on the playground and eventually on stage at local street fairs.  A few years later, he succumbed to a burgeoning alternative music scene, witnessing Nirvana in ’93 and settling into a manifestation of California punk rock, picking up the guitar himself and jump-starting several earnest attempts at his own musical ‘noise’ band.

Music was and is an essential component in Julian’s development and he experimented with this fascination in every facet imaginable.

Currently his musical tastes compose of roots reggae for ‘shaking his ass’, loud music when ‘traveling’, rap mc-ing when ‘sitting’, minimal piano when ‘thinking’, opera when ‘researching’, electro-acoustic when ‘practicing’ and the spontaneous ‘shuffle pick’ whenever the occasion calls for it, which is actually most times.  Music is also a wonderful way for him to time travel.

Sound perception was a catalyst for Julian’s physical experiments and helped the evolution of a distinct movement language.  This language of movement has led to a few landmark performance works, most notable his first work, FLOAT (2006), which was part of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Juilliard School’s repertory, SOUND MEMORY  (2009), highlighted as “Best Dance of 2009” by Time Out New York, ECHOLOGUE (2009) which premiered at Tangénte in Montreal, Canada, and SUPER NATURAL (2010), which he developed as an artist-in-residence at Joyce SoHo in New York.

Although now based in Arnhem for school, he wishes he lived in Rotterdam and plans on moving there next year.  He misses New York, but has embraced staying ‘tethered’ and enjoys the notion of ‘an embodied New York’ which he takes with him wherever he goes.  The culture of New York is quite ingrained.

Similar to his experience in high school, where his mentor wanted him to go to SUNY Purchase or Juilliard, Julian forged his own path and attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts instead.  Julian chose the Dance Unlimited ArtEZ MA program because of his correspondences with the director Joao da Silva, the dual focus on choreography and discursive practice and the profound history there as the former European Dance Development Center, EDDC.

Dance Unlimited ArtEZ has been rigorous and engaging so far.  The reflective time to distill and disseminate his work has been rewarding.  The only thing Julian wishes he had is a platform that his colleagues in Brussels/PARTS seem to benefit from called DEPARTS that  “supports the next generations of choreographers” by directly providing them opportunities to disseminate and contextualize their work internationally.  But as lessons learned from high school and college show, Julian knows that he will again have to forge his own trajectory here in Europe and that the most essential aspect of his current choreographic process is the genuine articulation of his theoretical practice.

Either in Europe or in New York, Julian identifies standing on a precipice where he feels a returning of ‘spatial movement’ in accordance to conceptual art.  This belief has caused a certain friction from the ‘conceptualists’, who view his work as conventional because of its integration of ‘spatial movement’, as well as from the ‘conventionalists’, who view his work as elusive, sparse and too abstract.  This tension is explored directly in his solo work ECHOLOGUE (2009).

Julian enjoys working within a collaborative field and integrates both open and closed ideas throughout his work.  A certain formalism amidst abandon permeates his work.

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