The Ransom Corp. was an experimental multi media performance group based in New York, that blurred the line between theater and life creating spectacle performances. The group was founded by brothers Geoff and Aaron Taylor Kuffner in 1998, and co-lead by dancer/filmaker Kathi Von Koerber until 2002. The group existed as a flexible network of artists across various mediums often featuring aspects of video installation, interactive musical instruments, butoh inspired dance and aerial performance in their productions. The group toured Europe several times in the 2000’s staging productions of various scales in both conventional performance spaces as well as public spaces, derelict buildings and in nature.
ransom n. a price paid for the release of a prisoner; v.t. To redeem from captivity (O.Fr.L. Redemptio, buying back)
corporation n. united body (L. corpus, body)
How are we bound, rather than freed, by our physics, our society—economically, socially, politically, culturally–and our individual minds? What is the ransom that will free us from that captivity?
The Ransom Corp. was a united body with a mission to extract the ransom that will free the human spirit.
In the context of theater and art, “Ransom” plays on the idea of a “captive audience.” The theater or gallery or carnival, wherever this kind of theater or gallery or carnival is called into existence, is a highly-charged setting and context for discovery, transformation, catharsis and other fruits of heightened awareness. Brought or drawn to this setting, the audience is captive until some resolution or insight has been reached.
Use of “Corporation” invoked the dark, symbolic and TOO-OFTEN-TO-BE-REAL vision of the hierarchical funneling of power, greed, the bottomline drawn by those at the top, ends before means, the environment as raw material, individuals reduced to customers and life force reduced to work force with all the compromises this entails. We appropriated Corporation in order to serve as the antithesis to this dark vision. We imagined a Corporation dedicated to the remediation and prevention of the damage done to the human spirit by ascribing to, internalizing and participating in this kind of mass culture. The main method of remediation and prevention was to create the conditions for celebration, creation, collaboration, artistic exploration and actions and performances that break the stale norms of daily life and daily mind.