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Jonas Becker, New Normal

September 09, 20237:30 pm

September 10, 20232:00 pm

Audience members with sensitivity to sustained bright lights should speak to the box office for information on ideal seating locations.

Note: This partially improvised performance takes place in close proximity to the audience. Late seating may not be accommodated.

About the Performance

Jonas Becker’s New Normal explores how we, as individuals in society, adjust to large-scale cultural trauma, environmental deterioration, the loss of civil liberties, and increased financial precarity. As conditions erode over time, expectations shift silently for some, for others violently. The performance follows an improvisational score in which six masculine-identified performers respond to the slow violence of our current moment through endurance and illusion, struggle and support. Rocks that appear heavy are made of paper, and gestures where performers entangle each other oscillate between aggression and care. Importantly, some radical bodies resist normalization, while for others, the new normal is nothing new. The performers test their limits, adjust and readjust, responding physically to diminishing environmental standards and political conditions. This presentation expands on an In Progress showing of the work in the MCA’s main atrium in 2019, with an emotionally resonant arrangement of motion, sound, and lighting.

Run time: 45 minutes

Chicago Performs is organized by Tara Aisha Willis, former MCA Curator, with Laura Paige Kyber, Curatorial Associate.

Access Information

Prior to the performance the lights will be set low. Please let a staff member know if you need assistance to your seat.

Audience members with sensitivity to sustained bright lights should speak to the MCA Box Office for information on ideal seating locations.

Audio Description and CART captioning are provided for the performance on Sunday, September 10.

Audio description available.

About the Artist

Jonas N. T. Becker makes photographs, videos, and performances that explore how systems of power place value on the body and the resource-rich landscape. His practice is research based, excavating layers of mainstream and marginalized histories, particularly in rural America. Each of Becker’s projects focuses on a specific landscape, drawing attention to interrelated histories and human impact. Becker has exhibited internationally, including at MCA Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, ICA LA, and LAXART. Becker works between his home state of West Virginia and Chicago, Illinois, where he is a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


This project is supported by The New Works Initiative, which puts the creative process at the heart of the MCA’s relationship with Chicago by supporting the development of new performances and creative projects. Lead support for the New Works Initiative is provided by Elizabeth A. Liebman.