Rettmer Headshot #2.jpeg

LAINE

RETTMER

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

"As a time-based artist, I am continually in flux, moving between different representations of performance in both opera and video art. My work is centered on performance as an inevitable, but a questionable necessity, particularly for individuals who exist on the periphery of dominant paradigms. The margins in which performances of gender, sexuality, personality, and race occur are central to my work, and to an approach rooted in methodologies based in de-colonial, new-materialist, and queer frameworks. I am deeply committed to questioning canonical mythologies and researching the submerged narratives of women and minority subjects. A research-forward approach finds its way into the choices I make in new opera and the way I reframe narratives in classical work. Updating libretti to reflect upon today’s current moment is central to my thinking in unearthing and reframing critical questions about the environment, history, and cultural discourse. At the heart of this is my desire to upend, challenge, and lay bare images and stories that propagate violence and reify inequity. 

 

Symbolic gestures allow an audience’s mind to interpret conflict and narrative in ways that are bigger than story: a living room fills with snow as Mimi dies, a larger than life full moon rises as a couple finds new love, Macbeth pushes a ten-foot rock across the stage as his wife dies atop it. In my work, these heightened moments act as doorways or invitations to see the story from a place that accesses the universal, the larger than life to which opera so grandly lends itself. My hope is that these metaphorical interpretations create access points, opening and unfolding the intention of composer and librettist. My work often relies on metaphorical meaning, or spectacle as a tool to articulate the subtext of a libretto - as moments of surreal, or magical realist effects contribute to both the meaning of the work, and feel uniquely suited to operatic schema and live theater. 

 

Visual culture stimulates us, provokes thought and dialogue, monumentalizes, distorts, and reaffirms. I believe in the power of images. I also believe there is a constant need to question how “image” operates and ask who images speak for and to whom. My aim is to land new frameworks that build space and broaden perspectives to make multiple loci of power. As Jose Munoz so beautifully says, “we must dream and enact new and better pleasures, other ways of being in the world, and ultimately new worlds.” I hope to use the space of the stage to create new mythologies, contexts, and to innovate with practical and digital technologies."