When Torn Space presents its third production at Silo City in Buffalo this weekend, Brian Milbrand will be serving as the video designer for this year’s show, Storehouse. Milbrand, technical manager for Buffalo State’s Communication Department, has been working with Torn Space Theater founder and artistic director Daniel Shanahan, ’00, since about 2006.
“The first year doing the video design at Silo City was pretty much a learning experience,” said Milbrand. “Last year, I was a little bit happier with the media element. This year, I think I can say that we’ve learned how to tame the space a little bit.”
According to Torn Space's website, Storehouse will transform the Silo City site to “a repository for the significant moments that mark an individual’s life…re-imagining the interior spaces of the warehouse and surrounding landscape of Silo City as points of human development…”
Milbrand explained that the audience will be led on a tour through a building—provocatively named the American Warehouse—and presented with performances and media within a variety of spaces. “I’m most excited about a three-story hallway in which we’ll be creating a kind of chained effect with four 16-mm film projectors,” said Milbrand.
To Milbrand’s way of thinking, the performance—which includes boxers and cheerleaders—is a way of looking at life through science. “The science comes in through using Erik Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development and through the space itself, which includes an old electric power room and the engineering implicit in Silo City itself,” said Milbrand. “There is one place where the way the paint is peeling off a table—it’s beautiful.”
Milbrand, a Buffalo native who graduated from UB’s media studies program in 2002, has been working as a video/media artist since then. He joined Buffalo State in 2008, and the team he has assembled for this weekend’s production includes Amanda Mathews, '14; current student Emil Goranov; as well as UB graduate students Eric Coombs and Sarah Biagini. “There are so many people involved in the video/media design,” he said, “including local filmmakers and Hallwalls, who lent us a lot of equipment, and Squeaky Wheel.”
The production takes place at Silo City on August 22, 23, and 24 from 6:00 to 10:00, with a show/tour starting every half-hour from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Milbrand enjoys the experimental work that his gig with Torn Space demands, but his work also includes straightforward documentaries, most recently This Doesn’t Happen Here, a documentary about the history of segregation in Buffalo.