Commissioned by Kelly Strayhorn Theater, SWITCH SIGNAL is a site-responsive film rooted in the technologies of imagination and mindfulness taught by Pittsburgh’s beloved Mister Rogers. The film was shot on location at Kelly Strayhorn Theater and throughout Pittsburgh with moments in The Hill District and at the Carrie Furnaces in June 2021. Conjuring the absent presence of community during the global pandemic, this work is about listening and includes movement, marches, choreographies, music, and rites as a love letter to Pittsburgh.
Through performance we simultaneously mourn what we lose in our quest for growth, while embodying hope for the future. The viewer travels with us through city streets and Frick Park where we honor the earth by laboring with her. In the end, the camera rests on candles memorializing the Jewish lives lost at the Tree of Life synagogue. We pay our respects to Pittsburgh by heeding Mister Roger’s call to slow down and direct our attention.
Propelled Animals are acollective of artists, dancers, scholars, musicians, and designers, bringing communities together for performances that honor nature, foreground radical tenderness, and deliver strategies for self-empowerment. The creative team includes: Esther Baker-Tarpaga (Philadelphia), Barber (Detroit), Heidi Wiren Bartlett (Pittsburgh), Raquel Monroe (Chicago), and Courtney Jones (Boca Raton).
This project is made possible with support from The MAP Fund, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Performance Network’s Artist Engagement Fund, and the Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art @ the Frontier in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University.