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E r y k a   D e l l e n b a c h (she/they)
is a Brooklyn based and Chicago bred filmmaker, choreographer, performer and teaching artist. Her embodied films and evocative, multidisciplinary performance works mine the complexities of femme relationships, sensuality, power and psychophysical thresholds. These thresholds she regards and navigates as malleable locations of consciousness.

She has worked with and performed in the works of an eclectic variety of dance/performance artists including  Atsushi Takenouchi, Tori Wränes, Tino Sehgal, Blair Thomas Puppet Theatre, Matty Davis & Eva Mag. Eryka has presented work at Movement Research at the Judson Memorial Church, Anthology Film Archives, Roulette Intermedium, Virginia Commonwealth University, Intuit Outsider Art Museum, The Art Institute Museum of Chicago, Defibrillator, Links Hall, No Nation Gallery, and internationally in Italy, Germany and Russia at the Shiryaevo Bienalle of Contemporary Art. She was selected as a 2020 filmmaker by Visible Poetry Project.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the Universiy 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.

She works as a choreographer, performer, artist teacher, performance documentarian, DP, camera operator, and contracted worker.

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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.