The Rufus Corporation is an ad hoc group of artists, dancers, actors and musicians. Under the direction of Eve Sussman, who founded the company in 2003, they have created videos, photographs and live events. The two primary video works created by the company are 89 Seconds at Alcázar (2004) and The Rape of the Sabine Women (2006). For The Rape of the Sabine Women founding collaborators Nesbitt Blaisdell, Helen Pickett, Annette Previti, Walter Sisper, Claudia de Serpa Soares, Jeff Wood, Karen Young and Sofie Zamchick traveled to Greece to begin rehearsals and were joined by Popi Alkouli-Troianou, Kostas Beveratos. Marilisa Chronea, Stergios Ioannou, Grayson Millwood, Katarina Oikonomopoulou, Rosa Prodromou, Antonis Spinoulas, Christos Syrmakezis, and Sotiris Tsakomidis to create the work in improvisation along with the film and television star, Themis Bazaka, and acclaimed vocalist Savina Yannatou. Jonathan Bepler, who also scored 89 seconds at Alcázar, asked musicians Algis Kizys, Eric Hubel, Geoff Gersh, Cräg Rodriguez, Scott Moore and Bradford Reed to accompany the group to Greece for production, where they recorded the music live on location. Photographers for the production were Benedikt Partenhiemer, Ricoh Gerbl and Bobby Neel Adams. Sergei Franklin directed the principal photography.
Hear Grayson Millwood and Walter Sipser talk about their love triangle in The Rape of the Sabine Women:
Eve Sussman (Founder/Artistic Director)
As ‘a sculptor who shoots video’, Eve Sussman’s work has evolved from installations using filmic/film-like materials (mirrors/water/projections) to single and multiple channel video installations. Her work originates from fascination with simple gestures and casual expressions, which she observes, captures, and stages in videos, films, installations and photographs. Before making the move to High Definition video, Eve had often used Super-8 cameras and simple, low-tech surveillance devices to gain access to situations and observe mundane relationships.
The Rape of the Sabine Women is a natural trajectory from surveillance and a keen interest in1960’s nouvelle vague—the Rufus Corporation’s foray into improvised narratives where cinema verité meets the controlled operations of character development and choreography. Much of what Sussman does within Rufus is take note of the performer’s interactions within the narrative and document where reality and fiction overlap and collide.
Kevin Messman (Editor)
Kevin Messman has edited art pieces for Laurie Anderson, film for Todd Solondz, and documentaries and animation for PBS and Nickelodeon. He has also taught film editing courses at the Edit Center in Manhattan. For The Rape of the Sabine Women he and Sussman sifted through over 140 hours of footage.
Helen Pickett (Founding Collaborator)
Helen Pickett studied at the San Francisco Ballet School for six years. At which time, she was chosen to perform with San Francisco Ballet Company under the direction of Michael Smuin and Lew Christensen, and later, Helgi Tomasson. From 1987-98, she was a principal dancer and actor with Ballett Frankfurt, director, William Forsythe. Helen currently performs with The Wooster Group, House/Lights, dir. Elizabeth Le Compte, February 2005, and Deep Ellum Ensemble.
She has acted and danced in numerous works for stage and film and has recently collaborated with installation artists working in film and video. In 2003 she played the Queen in 89 Seconds at Alcazar, directed by Eve Sussman, which was shown at the 2004 Whitney Biennale and now is part of the permanent collection at Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Annette Previti (Founding Collaborator)
Annette Previti is an actor, portrait artist and teacher in New York City. She is a founding member of the Rufus Corporation and played Dona Marcella (the widow) in 89 seconds at Alcazar. She is also a featured performer in “The Rape of the Sabine Women”
She has performed with The Public Theater and Resonance Ensemble Theater in New York as well as the Northeast Theater and Fort Salem Theater regionally among others.
Annette is a graduate of Hofstra University. She teaches Art and Shakespeare: Monologue and Scene Study.
Walter Sipser (Founding Collaborator)
Walter Sipser grew up in New York City and having studied painting, sculpture, and installation art, received an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in 1985.
Sipser is a core member of the Lower East Side artist collective known as “Bullet” and in 1991 helped produce Your House is Mine, an artist’s book which stands as a veritable history of the 1980’s and 90’s Lower East Side activist art movement. Your House is Mine is also a document of an impressive and provocative public art project featuring some of the most well known artists of that movement and the American art world of that time. A book of Sipser’s drawings entitled Life of a Stain, 8o Drawings was published in 1993.
Sipser played music professionally for ten years and began producing soundtracks for short films most recently for an experimental project called Bus Obscura. Life of a Stain and Your House is Mine can be found in the library collections of The Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Jeff Wood (Founding Collaborator)
Jeff Wood is a founding member of the Rufus Corporation. In 89 Seconds at Alcazar, he played Phillip IV, King of Spain, a role he developed combining historical research and improvisation. In The Rape of the Sabine Women, he worked closely with the company in research, development and post-production. He is also a featured actor.
On the San Francisco stage, he won Dean Goodman Critic's Choice Awards for his work in Sam Shepard’s Fool For Love and 611 Supreme at the Phoenix Theater. This Spring Jeff will work as a dramaturg in Edgar, a new piece by Claudia de Serpa Soares and Grayson Millwood of the Sasha Waltz Dance Company in Berlin.
A native of Ohio, he graduated from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Miami University with a degree in philosophy. He has spent many nights in the wilderness, trekked across Tibet, driven across country on 12 separate occasions, and toured the West as a performance poet. Jeff currently lives in Brooklyn where he is developing a feature length film, The Glacier, and working with The Rufus Corporation.
Karen Young (Costumes/Founding Collaborator)
In addition to costume design for Eve Sussman & the Rufus Corporation¹s 89 Seconds at Alcazar and The Rape of the Sabine Women, Karen Young has designed costumes for numerous dance, theater, and video art projects in New York.
Other costume credits for video art include: Toni Dove's Interactive feature film Spectropia and Matthew Barney's Cremaster 5 and Cremaster 1. Costume design for dance includes: Elisa Monte Dance, Andrea Haenggi/AMDaT, Noémie Lafrance's Agora, Dusan Tynek Dance Theatre, Nai-Ni Chen, Ice Theater of New York, and a long-standing association with the Martha Graham Dance Company where she recently created costumes for Martha Clarke's Suenos with Donna Zakowska, Deaths and Entrances with Oscar de la Renta, Robert Wilson's Snow on the Mesa.
Her textiles have been included in exhibitions at Musée de la Dentelle, Brussels, Textielmuseum Max Berk, Heidelberg, and Galleria Into, Helsinki. She was recently awarded a visiting research fellowship at London College of Fashion and is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.
Johnathan Bepler (Composer)
Composer Jonathan Bepler scores original music for films, art videos, dance pieces and sound installations. He is the composer and foley artist for 89 seconds at Alcázar where 64 distinct tracks comprise the subtleties of sound in the Rufus Corporation’s re-imagining of the Spanish royal family in the salon of the Alcázar as in the painting Las Meninas (1656) by Diego Velasquez.
He scores various dance performances with Sasha Waltz (S, Gezeiten) and collaborates for improvisational performances, Dialogues. He has also worked with John Jasperse (California) and Jennifer Lacey (Mhmmm). Bepler has a long standing collaboration with Matthew Barney, he is the composer and sound designer for the Cremaster Cycle, Hoist, De Lama Lamina and The Man in Black / Drone Harness.
Geoff Gersh (Guitars/Drum/Djouras/Knives & Meat)
Geoff Gersh has been composing for dance, film and visual art collaborations since 1995. His diverse, melodic and textural style adds a unique flavor to each project and collaboration he has been involved with.
For dance, Geoff has composed music for Robert LaFosse’s version of Jerome Robins The Cage (2006), which was performed by Ballet Trockadero, Lawrence Goldhuber’s Julius Caesar Superstar (2005), Swan Pouffer’s Parts of Us (2003), Karen Graham’s Opening Movement in a Still Life (2001), as well as The Thief (2003). Geoff’s longtime collaboration with Bessie award winner Cynthia Oliver has produced a number of pieces including Death’s Door (1995), Unremoveable Jacket (1997), She Mad (2000) and AfroSocialiteLifeDiva (2003).
Geoff has also composed music for a number of short independent films. In 2004, he completed his first feature length score for the documentary The Edge of America, directed by Terrell Tangonan, and re-worked his collaborative score for the film adaptation of the dance piece AfroSocialiteLifeDiva, directed by Marcus Behrens.
In the fall of 2000 Geoff received a New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) award for his collaborative score for Cynthia Oliver's SHE MAD. He has also received grants from the American Music Center, the Special Opportunity Stipend from the New York Foundation for the Arts and Meet the Composer awards on multiple occasions.
Eric Hubel (Guitars/Drum/Bouzouki/Knives & Meat)
Eric Hubel, a Boston native, studied acoustics, composition and electronic music at Bennington College with Gunner Schonbeck, Milford Graves, and Joel Chadebe. Upon graduation in 1982, He moved to NYC into a flourishing hardcore punk and experimental music scene. Joining forces with members of the Beastie Boys, he cofounded the band big Fat Love. In 1986 he joined the Glenn Branca Ensemble and has since been a core member and section leader recording and touring for over twenty years.
Other projects included Wider, Foetus, Inc., John Meyers' Blastula, Phil Kline, Of Cabbages and Kings, Soraya Rashid, Gehad City White Devils, and American Ambulance. In 1995–6 he collaborated With Helmet’s Page Hamilton, and working under the direction of composer Elliot Goldenthal recorded music for the films Heat and Neil Jordan's In Dreams. He is currently a member of The Wharton Tiers Ensemble, N.O.M.A.H., and the sonic force Hallicrafters with Algis Kyzis. Eric lives and Works in Brooklyn.
Algis Kizys (Bass/basszouki/Knives & Meat)
Algis Kizys is a New York based musician who collaborates and performs with Jonathan Bepler in The Rape of the Sabine Women. He has long-standing history with Eric Hubel in the Hallicrafters, a short wave radio duet who incorporate live radio signal into soundscapes. He was a member of The Glen Branca Ensemble with Hubel and Bepler. He is a former member of many seminal New York bands-- the Swans, Foetus, of Cabbages and Kings, and has performed and recorded with Die Warzau, Pigface, Alex Hacke of Einstruzende Neubauten, amongst others. He has written a piece in a major motion picture and for spoken word recordings performed by himself and by others. He is currently writing and performing (15th of Feb @ Knitting Factory) with NeVAh, a new 3 piece rock trio whose other two members are also ex-Swans and Foetus.
Scott Moore (Baglamas/Turkey Whistle/Vocals/Knives & Meat)
For the past twenty years, Scott has been driving curious ideas, running the red light at the intersection of action and object. The sonic fall-out of these performance circumstances is the consequence of corrupted resonate frequencies.
Working first in Philadelphia, and the past ten years in Brooklyn, Scott has help found projects in the situationist tradition such as Sink Manhattan, Lick the Earth, Hairiest Race, Ram Umbus, The Hungry March Band, and Nimble One Minded Animals Here.
Aside from working with the Rufus Corporation as a musician in the filming of Rape of the Sabine Women, Scott has also recently performed at the High Zero Festival 05’in Baltimore, and in Glen Branca’s Symphony #13, and Anthony Braxton’s Composition #19. He currently resides in the wilds north of Questa, New Mexico, performing with the Spiral Amblers Brass Band.
Bradford Reed (Pencilina/bouzouki/drums/Knives & Meat)
Bradford Reed is a Brooklyn based composer, performer and producer who fights and tames the idiosyncrasies of the pencilina, an original instrument of his own design and construction. In addition to his solo performances, he plays with King Missile III and has produced 4 of their records. Reed played in the Blue Man Group's original band for way too long.
He was awarded a fellowship to the Sundance Institutes's Film Composers Lab and a residency at the Ucross Foundation. Bradford recently composed the music for Augenblick Studio's animated mockumentary Golden Age - an official selection of this year's Sundance Film Festival. He is currently working on the score for Super Jail, a new show on the Cartoon Network. Learn more at www.pencilina.com.