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Michele Rizzo: HIGHER xtn.

May 18, 2024 – May 19, 2024


On May 18 and 19, MoMA PS1 presents the US museum premiere of HIGHER xtn., a performance by artist and choreographer Michele Rizzo (Italian, b. 1984) featuring eight dancers whose minimal gestures coalesce into a unified flow. Underscoring nightclubs as spaces for communion and catharsis, Rizzo connects collective movement in social spaces to rituals of quasi-religious worship. Ushering spiritual transcendence through rhythmic dance, the artist consecrates PS1 with an open-floor set synchronized to a soundtrack by electronic musician Lorenzo Senni. 

With a renewed appreciation for nightclubs as paramount gathering spaces for many communities in the wake of the pandemic, HIGHER xtn. (2019) has taken on new meaning after touring extensively in museums and dance venues in Europe. The piece addresses the primacy of electronic dance music and the legacies of the social spaces it engenders today. Rizzo draws on theorist Julia Kristeva’s understanding of dance as a transcendent language and builds on Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of “flow” as a heightened mental state. Bridging social and artistic spaces through choreography, Rizzo explains: “I started putting into dialogue these two ways of dealing with dance: dance as an art form, which I studied in school, and dance as a nightlife experience, a social dance, an ecstatic state.” Accentuating the club as a microcosm, the premiere continues MoMA PS1’s commitment to music, performance, and the vibrant cultures of nightlife communities.

Michele Rizzo: HIGHER xtn. is organized by Ruba Katrib, Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, MoMA PS1.

Learn more about the exhibition on our website.

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Michele Rizzo. HIGHER xtn. 2018. Courtesy the artist and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Photo: Maarten Nauw

Michele Rizzo. HIGHER xtn. 2018. Courtesy the artist and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Photo: Maarten Nauw