• PBS

photos by Jono Melamed (2023)

photos by Whitney Browne (2023)

E r y k a   D e l l e n b a c h (they)
is a genderfluid filmmaker, performance artist and educator based in the Sonoran Southwest (Turtle Island/US). Their embodied films and performances are rites of passage for themselves and collaborators driven by consent practices, inquisitive hedonisms, corporeal excavation and a belief in the capacity for mutual transformation through collaboration and art-as-life process. Their works mine relationships to power, the malleability of consciousness and psychophysical thresholds.

Their process and technique have been informed by studies in dances of resistance including Butoh, flamenco and martial arts. They are grateful to the teachers who have offered potent dances and knowledges influencing their path: Wendy Clinard & Sonia Sanchez (flamenco), Atsushi Takenouchi, Yumiko Yoshioka and Vangeline (Butoh), Chen Huixian (Chen Taiji) & Yunuen Rhi (Baguazhang), and Mestre Besouro Preto Manganga (capoeira). They have worked with artists across mediums including Yunuen Rhi, Martin Toloku, Atsushi Takenouchi, Tino Sehgal, Amanda Gutierrez, Tori Wrånes, Éva Mag, Matty Davis, Nola Sporn Smith, Amelia de Rudder/La Casa de Satanas and the band HOGG

Eryka has presented work at venues such as Alliance Française Kumasi (Ghana), crazinisT artisT studio (Ghana), Communitism (Greece), Movement Research at the Judson Memorial Church, Coaxial Arts (LA), Casa Moloch (MX), Lausanne Underground Music & Film Festival (Switzerland), Ann Arbor Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, Roulette Intermedium, Green River Cemetery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Intuit Outsider Art Museum, Links Hall, No Nation Gallery, and at the Shiryaevo Bienalle of Contemporary Art (Russia). They have been a resident artist at perfocraZe International Artist Residency (Ghana), eX...it! international butoh dance exchange and performance festival (Germany), Earthdance (MA), Echo Luna (Ukraine) and Cucalorus (NC).

They earned a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a master’s degree in Film, Video, New Media, Animation and Sound from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

They are a Senior Videographer and Editor at Arizona Public Media, and continue to work independently as a freelance filmmaker, performance artist, choreographer, educator and interviewer. They are a celluloid filmmaking instructor at MONO NO AWAREa collaborator of the transnational group HEKLER and an advocate with California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP). They are a board member of Movement Culture, LLC (Tucson, AZ).

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image by Raven Jackson


Film: Eryka Dellenbach
Performance: Nola Sporn Smith
Shot in 2018 
Edited in 2020 
Location: Eryka’s apartment in Brooklyn
Material: 2x 100 ft. rolls of digitally transferred Color Negative 16mm film

Nola, Apt. features two segments of a solo Eryka witnessed Nola performing when they first met. Partially influenced by visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem in 2013, the solo explores the act of private ritual put on public display, and inversely, the individualization of public ritual.

The Western Wall is the only remains of the Second Temple of Jerusalem, held to be uniquely holy by the ancient Jews and destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. There is a lasting practice of kissing the surface, placing notes, or whispering into the crevices of this wall by visitors. The wall is also strictly divided by gender - women are allotted about half of the space devoted to men - though it is easy to peer through the fencing to witness the practices of those on the other side.

‘A wall is like a projection screen for fantasy, how the further we turn away from the outside world, the deeper we go within - and also, the blinder we become to what surrounds us. ‘ (Nola, 2020)

Switching the context of Nola’s performance [back] to a private setting brings the work to a confrontation with its own vulnerability. Adding a third layer of celluloid film documentation creates a new, fragile dynamic between performer and viewer. The editing of the performance by the filmmaker emphasizes the sensual element in the performance and juxtaposes choreographic moments located at the poles of the brutal, and the more gentle, perceived through the lens of the female gaze.


Outpost Artist Resources (NY), Cuts and Burns screening, Sunday November 15 7pm EST followed by Q&A: RSVP here

TEASR (Tucson, AZ), Tucson Erotica, The Screening Room, Saturday March 19, 2022 7:30pm MST