All the Way Up/All the Way Down is a body based devised performance activation series built on the principle that perpetually increasing one’s pleasure from one moment to the next is a path to evolution. Informed by and a part of Margaret’s personal process of healing from traumatic illness, her formal research for the project begins with a series of interviews with holistic health practitioners, identifying the throughlines among them and letting that information inform her physical, sonic, and other conjurations at HCL.
Margaret Morris is a witch. She uses performance to ritualize processes of relieving pain and increasing the pleasure in this world that we share. Fueled by the conviction that human beings are powerful manifestors and that changing our feelings changes the ways we interact with the world, and thus changes the worlds that we interact within, Margaret plays to access and use pleasure foundationally in building her art. She maintains a practice of moving in two directions, all the way up and all the way down, towards one end. Purging that which perpetuates pain, and training our nervous systems to accept and increase ecstasies introduces the possibility of an evolution–transcending one’s state to meet to challenges of the inner and outer environment; thriving, and then deeper/higher thriving. Margaret’s orientation to art is akin to the mythical tribe of artists in Ben Okri’s Starbook, who generationally passed down the directive that the primary aim of an artist’s life is to create that which heals themselves.
Born and raised on the Black side of Jeffery Blvd in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood, Margaret Morris most recently performed vocal improvisations at festivals in Poland, Berlin, and the Hague with Heroes Are Gang Leaders. After co-building and collaborating within the experimental literary jazz band for three years, Margaret recently left the group to begin exploring and re-exploring aspects of performance that are dear to her but outside Heroes’ purview.
In 2006, Margaret, the dancemaker, peered into European contemporary dance world for the first time on a DanceWEB scholarship to ImpulsTanz and became deeply disillusioned with the state of dance in the US. She became a muse for figure-based photographers and studio artists around the US, trained extensively in shiatsu, became certified and began teaching Pilates and yoga, co-founded a contact improvisation research lab in NYC with Cecilia Fontanesi, and explored extended vocal techniques and improvisation in Heroes Are Gang Leaders.
In 2017, she returned to her foundation, retraining/exploring/devising physical performance from an entirely new to her embodied perspective founded on pleasure. Margaret’s work and collaborations have appeared in various artist and otherwise run venues including Lincoln Center DC, Links Hall Chicago, Depaul Art Museum Chicago, Missoula Art Museum, Wow Cafe NYC, St Mark’s Church NYC, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago Art Department, Roulette NYC, Uptown Art House DC, Ruth Page Center Chicago, Epiphany Dance Experiment Chicago, and The Galaxie Chicago.
Margaret has collaborated with and appeared in works of various disciplines by artists including J’Sun Howard, Ayako Kato, Angela Gronroos, Janice Lowe, Felix Ruckert, Julia Mayer, Nicole Mitchell, Senga Nengudi, James Brandon Lewis, Devin Brahja Waldman, Thurston Moore, Luke Stewart, No Land, Onome, Keisha Turner, Lydia Lunch, and Randall Horton.