TUG is an interdisciplinary arts collective that creates contact zones where people can generate insights about, and produce actions around, contemporary social issues.
Gaelyn Aguilar is a cultural anthropologist whose work falls under the broad heading of performative ethnography, an area of interest that looks to performance as a site for both intervention and radical re/search. She initially explored this pivot point in the Republic of Macedonia, where as a Fulbright Fellow she conducted research on dance and the cultural politics of national identity. Following almost 24 months of fieldwork in the Balkans, Gaelyn turned her attention to the borderlands of North America, a shift that dovetailed into her role as the Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of TUG Collective. Prior to becoming active as an ethnographer, Gaelyn was an independent filmmaker who produced documentaries that profiled individuals, organizations, and socio-cultural issues that lacked access to popular support and conventional media outlets. Her documentary work has appeared in National Geographic’s New Explorers Series, been distributed nationally to over 250 refugee resettlement programs, and received support from the David Bermant Foundation, the Phaedrus Foundation, and the Ohio Commission on Minority Health. Gaelyn complements her identity with work as a live performing and studio-recording artist, and has collaborated with modern dance choreographers in the United States and abroad, performed in the award-winning Korean Musical Myong Sung Whan Hu, and recorded for the Samsung/Ak and LG Music labels. Currently, she is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Maine at Farmington.
Gustavo Aguilar is an experimental maker/performer/improviser, whose interdisciplinary approach to art making cooperatively combines the archive (preconceived elements such as notation, texts, documents, letters) and the repertoire (present-conceived elements such as gesture, movement, orality, aurality) with the use of new technologies and an active research interest in cultural/critical studies. As an art practitioner whose work has been called "beautiful, introspective and passionate," "thought-provoking and thoroughly fresh" Gustavo’s awareness and engagement with new and innovative forms of art operate and encompass a wide range of traditions and media that help him to blur the boundaries betwixt maker/performer and between music/visual arts/theater. A Brownsville, Texas native, Gustavo has performed at major festivals throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific, including IRCAM's Festival Agora (Paris), RedCat Theater’s Now Festival (Los Angeles), the Zagreb Biennale International Festival of New Music (Croatia), the Acousmania International Festival of Electro-Acoustic Sounds (Bucharest), the Jooksan International Arts Festival (Seoul), the Green Mills Project (Melbourne) and the American Composer's Orchestra Improvise! Festival (NYC), and has given lectures and master classes at universities and symposia across the United States and abroad. Gustavo continues to hold the position of Composer-in-Residence with GroundWorks Dancetheater of Cleveland, Ohio—a position he has held since 1997. Gustavo is an Assistant Professor of Collaborative Arts in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.