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Kathy Couch

Northampton, MA

For 17 years, Kathy Couch has been designing and creating visual landscapes in performance and installation works. Primarily working in the mediums of light and space, Couch has designed over 350 performances in New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Australia, Armenia, Russia, Latvia, Serbia and throughout the United States. Creating installations and designs for a variety of traditional and non-traditional spaces, Couch’s artistic practice focuses on the vital role of the audience/viewer as active contributors to the work. Kathy Couch has ongoing performance collaborations with a canary torsi/Yanira Castro, Adele Myers and Dancers, Mollye Maxner/Kicking Pig Productions and The Architects. She received a 2009 Bessie Award for her work with a canary torsi/Yanira Castro on Dark Horse/Black Forest and a 2013 Bessie Nomination for their 4-hour interactive performance installation—The People To Come. In the summer of 2011, Kathy collaborated with choreographer and video artist Wendy Woodson in the creation of Belonging: Reflections on Place, a video installation for the Immigration Museum of Melbourne (Australia). Kathy Couch currently teaches Lighting Design at Amherst College and recently received an MFA in Visual Arts from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a founding board member of the Northampton Community Arts Trust that seeks innovative ways to preserve arts space in Northampton, MA and is a member of the arts organization C3, a creative community collective that strives to generate innovative projects in underutilized spaces throughout the city.

The People To Come (video clip; Invisible Dog, Brooklyn, NY)

The People to Come is a 4-hour participatory performance event. Over the course of the evening, 5 performers create 2 solos each, inspired by audience submissions created on-site or previously uploaded to the project website. As the visual designer for the project, I composed a unified, easily-navigable space that allowed the audience to quickly perceive the distinct activities occurring and thus choose their unique way of participating in the piece. The design provides a structural framework within which this live, interactive creation occurs.

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Einstein’s Happiest Thought (production photo)

Einstein’s Happiest Thought is an evening length dance piece created by Adele Myers and Dancers, in collaboration with Josh Quillen (sound), Kathy Couch (set and lighting design), and Ain Gordon (dramaturgy).
Over the course of the piece, simple utilitarian objects (yellow nylon rope and ladders) are introduced to steadily transform the space in which the dance occurs, altering the audience’s perception of scale, perspective, time and spatial relationships. Such transformation of space through minimal intervention is a core aspect of my work.

Dark Horse/Black Forest (installation photo; Riga, Latvia)

Dark Horse/Black Forest is a dance duet created for performance in public restrooms. Each installation of the lighting design integrates fluorescent fixtures into the existing architectural lighting, creating a subtly heightened space of experience. Throughout the piece, one dancer carries out choreographed changes to the lighting, switching fixtures on and off, further marking his control over the experience of his partner and of the audience. This design explores the affective intimate interplay between performer, object, space and audience.