The rich world of ideas behind Deep Blue Sea

The Problem

Bill T. Jones, Janet Wong

8 PM

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What goes on in the mind of Bill T. Jones while making his work? For this short video montage, Janet Wong – Jones’ artistic assistant and associate artistic director of New York Live Arts – gathered clips that give a sense of how Jones works and where he gets his inspiration. These include behind-the-scenes clips of rehearsals. For Deep Blue Sea, he was inspired by, among other things, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, in which the young black side-character Pip finds himself in the water during a whaling expedition. Jones reads from chapter 93: ‘Out from the centre of the sea, poor Pip turned his crisp, curling, black head to the sun, another lonely castaway...’ In his search for an elusive ‘we’ in these turbulent times, Jones uses the image of Pip to reflect on the dynamic between the individual and group identity. But also Yvonne Rainer’s No Manifesto and Martin Luther King’s I have a dream feature prominently in Bill T. Jones’ rich world of ideas as well.


commissioned by
Holland Festival
a rumination on
Deep Blue Sea a Park Avenue Armory commission originally to premiere in April 2020
Bill T. Jones
and current and former company members of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company
J. Bouey,
Vinson Fraley, Jr.,
Barrington Hinds,
Chanel Howard,
Dean Husted,
Shane Larson,
I-Ling Liu,
s. lumbert,
Penda N'diaye,
Nayaa Opong,
Marie Lloyd Paspe,
Jenna Riegel,
Christina Robson,
Carlo Antonio Villanueva,
Huiwang Zhang
with community participants from
New York City and Fairfax, Virginia
Interview conducted by
Mutaurwa Mapondera
Original music composed and performed by
Nick Hallett,
Holland Andrews,
Hprizm aka High Priest
How's it feel to be a problem?
music by
Nick Hallett
arranged and performed by
Vinson Fraley, Jr
The Hymn
original melody by
Chanel Howard
sung by
Vinson Fraley Jr.,
Chanel Howard,
Marie Lloyd Paspe