CounterCurrent Festival Announces Plans for 2016

Local, National and International Artists Featured April 12 – 17

The University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts announces dates for the third annual CounterCurrent festival, scheduled Tuesday, April 12 through Sunday, April 17, 2016. CounterCurrent is a free, city-wide festival of bold experimental art that occupies a range of unexpected sites in the Houston, including galleries, outdoor sites and non-traditional spaces. The festival will be comprised of eleven major cutting-edge contemporary and collaborative works, including audio and video installations, live performances, and participatory events by artists from around the world. The lineup includes artists from the Middle East, Europe, New York, Massachusetts and Houston, TX. All CounterCurrent events are free of charge.

“For the third annual CounterCurrent festival, we delve deeply into Houston. The CounterCurrent16 artists challenge us to see our city and its inhabitants in new ways. Whether it’s revealing Houston’s diversity in a new light, celebrating the chaotic joy of the family unit, or exploring the cityscape to reveal its unseen spaces, this year’s festival offers endless opportunities for transformation and surprise.” said Karen Farber, festival visionary and Executive Director of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston, which produces the CounterCurrent festival.

Highlights among the lineup of radical and collaborative performances, installations and experiences include:

  • MacGregor Park, Jason Moran in partnership with Project Row Houses. Houston-born jazz star Jason Moran will be the first artist to contribute his talent to “Performing the Neighborhood,” a five year series in partnership with Project Row Houses that explores Houston’s historic Third Ward community.  An all-day jazz homecoming, Moran creates a musical event in the park where he spent so much of his youth.  The outdoor day of live music features musical guests flowing in and out of the band, and like any other Sunday at Macgregor Park, people will drift in and out, stay all day, set out lawn chairs and fire up the grill. 
  • This Page Left Intentionally Blank, Big Dance Theater in partnership with the Menil Collection. Winding all about the Menil Collection's unique campus of art buildings, This Page Left Intentionally Blank deconstructs the role of the docent and museum audio tour, subverting how visitors observe art in a museum.  As headphones focus the mind, and instructions guide participants with the precision of choreography, a personal, physical relationship to art begins with elements of misdirection, movement, confession, and music.
  • Remote Houston, Rimini Protokoll in association with the Alley Theatre. During this pedestrian-based live art experience, groups of 50 individuals meet at a starting point and discover the city of Houston from a new, remote perspective. Participants are led on a journey across the city that alters perceptions of familiar landscapes, unifies the group and conjures up personal memories.  Armed with only a set of headphones, a synthetic voice guides each participant through the city allowing them to craft their own interpretation and unique story of the sights, music and surrounding environments they encounter. “Remote X” is an international sensation that has been performed at major cities including Berlin, Moscow and Zurich; each experience has been custom designed for the host city.  “Remote X” will preview at CounterCurrent, followed by ticketed performances through the Alley Theatre April 19-May13.
  • Home Balance, Hillerbrand+Magsamen. Hillerbrand+Magsamen, a local couple and collaborative artistic team, expand their personal family life into a contemporary art conversation on family dynamics, suburban life and American consumer excess.  Exploring the idea of family interactions and the desire to maintain stability in an environment not designed for stability, a custom made bouncy house  becomes a glowing film screen, inverting the private personal space of ‘home’ to be viewed on the ‘outside’ for everyone to see.  Home Balance will be moved to various locations throughout CounterCurrent 2016. 

 “The objective of CounterCurrent is to connect Houstonians with artists and works we would never otherwise see,” said Pia Agrawal, Program Director of the Cynthia Wood Mitchell Center for the Arts. “As we enter our third year, we continue to challenge ourselves to bring cutting-edge programs to Houston that surprise, challenge, and inspire all our city’s residents.”

Festival presenting partners include Alley Theatre, Blaffer Art Museum, DiverseWorks, Da Camera, Asia Society Texas Center, Aurora Picture Show, Project Row Houses, FreshArts, Mongoose versus Cobra, MATCH, The Menil Collection and others. 

For more information about CounterCurrent and a complete schedule of events, please visit Please note that space is limited.  Reservations are required and will be available online beginning February 25.  

DropBox link to CounterCurrent images and credits is provided below:

Vimeo link to “Best of CounterCurrent 2015” video is provided below:


CounterCurrent is a free annual festival comprised of bold new interdisciplinary projects by artists from throughout the world, the nation, and the city of Houston. Produced by the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, CounterCurrent encompasses itinerant works as well as staged performances and exhibitions.  CounterCurrent claims a range of sites including gallery spaces, outdoor sites, and non-traditional spaces. Many CounterCurrent works are developed in residencies with the Mitchell Center and its partner organizations. For more information, please visit



The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts is dedicated to interdisciplinary collaboration across the performing, visual, and literary arts. Based at the University of Houston, the Mitchell Center commissions and produces new works, presents public performances and exhibitions, offers curriculum and scholarships, and hosts residencies with renowned visiting artists from throughout the world. The Center is home to the Mitchell Artist Lecture, an annual event featuring a pioneer in contemporary art-making, as well as CounterCurrent, an annual spring festival of new performance. The Mitchell Center forms an alliance among five departments at UH: the School of Art, Moores School of Music, School of Theatre & Dance, Creative Writing Program, and Blaffer Art Museum. For more information, please visit