Elizabeth Leister

June 2024

Leister’s Somnambulists move through moments of restlessness, sleeplessness and anxiety. The gestures reference the body’s various phases of unrest due to our chaotic world. Many of us struggle with angst stemming from our post-pandemic realities, on-going threats to democracy, gun violence, attacks on the LGBTQ and trans communities and the overturning of Roe v. Wade. How can we shake off the world and rest deeply? The number of hours and quality of our sleep has diminished over the years.  Continual interaction with our devices and 24/7 access to news, social media, shopping, etc. is a major cause for this shift causing a near perpetual disruption to being. Somnambulists presents three dancers who progress through movements of relief and readiness. Their larger-than-life bodies cycle through textured sleep states  - rest, dream and insomnia, inside shades of blue, bathing Denver in a drowsy fog.Perhaps someone gazing up at these monumental forms might recognize their own bodily gestures reflected in the choreographed moments of agitation and surrender.


Composer & Vocalist: KathrynShuman

Choreographer: Samantha Mohr

Dancers: Samantha Mohr Joan Fricke& Shauna Davis

About the Artist:

Elizabeth Leister is a digital media artist whose expansive practice includes video, performance, drawing and virtual & augmented reality. Her projects act as meditations on the unreliability of memory and the passing of time conceptualized through a feminist perspective on the body in motion, poetry and transformations across real and imagined landscapes.

Her videos and installations have been presented at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Morris Gallery at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Museum, Torrance Art Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art Bologna, Italy; The Drawing Center, Art in General, Apex Art and P.S. 122 in New York; Counterpath in Denver and Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica.

She has performed at homeLA, LACE, and Beyond Baroque in Los Angeles, the Cardiff School of Creative & Cultural Industries in Wales, the Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery at University of Reno, and Outpost Artists Resources in New York. Leister’s XR projects have been presented in Luminex 2.0, Mana Body + Camera Festival, XR for Change/Games for Change and the CURRENTS New Media Festival, among other venues.  Her video, Silent Gardens, was commissioned for Public Art CA at the California Natural ResourcesAgency, in Sacramento, California.  She is a 2015 recipient of a COLA Fellowship, awarded by the Department of Cultural Affairs in LA.

Leister is Associate Professor and Option Head of Emerging Media Production in the Cinema and Television Arts Department at CSUN.