(1971, Washington, DC, USA) is a New York-based artist. Coming from a background in dance and stand-up comedy, his performance-based work employs a variety of media: from participatory installations to sculpture, painting, writing, theater, video and curation.
Portnoy is largely concerned with manipulating language and behavior as a tool for world-bending – either in his “Relational Stalinist” game structures in which confusion, complication, and ambiguity are used to stretch participants’ speech and movement; or his quest to “improve” existing breeds of art through re-engineering.
He has presented internationally in museums, art galleries, theatres and music halls, including Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Austria (2019 & 2018); Witte de With, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2016); the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2015); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2014); Cricoteka, Krakow, Poland (2014); Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2013); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2013); The Kitchen, New York, USA (2013); dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel, Germany (2012); 11th Baltic Triennial (co-curator), Vilnius, Lithuania (2012); and the Taipei Biennial, Taipei, Taiwan (2010).
In the framework of Protozone11: it’s weird:
Progressive Touch (2020)
12 min, HD video
Progressive Touch depicts three futuristic, absurdist love scenes
in which the goal is to “improve” sex by complicating its rhythm and choreography. Sex as dance as comedy. Enacted by three real life couples, the dancers’ every explicit move is synchronized to the propulsive, unpredictable score which borrows elements from progressive rock, trap and math metal.
Director: Michael Portnoy
Cast: Tizo All, Ilona Bankiraj, Marc Philipp Gabriel, Juan Felipe Amaya González,
Astrid Panaken, Deva Schubert
Director of Photography: Darja Pilz
Music: Stefan Maier and Michael Portnoy
Producer, Berlin: Esther Niemeier
Producer, New York: Julia Simpson
Assistant Choreographer: Moss Beynon Juckes
Editor: Camila Mercadal
Focus Puller: David Kizner
Gaffer: Jens Thurmann
Sound recordist: Camilo Garcia Castro
Hair & Make-up Design: Servulo Mendez
Production Design: Ran Chai Bar-zvi and Leonard Mandl
Coproduction by steirischer herbst ’19 (Graz, Austria), Vleeshal Center for Contemporary Art
(Middelburg) and supported by Chris Fitzpatrick