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memory foam carly j bales noellet tolbert laure drogoul.jpg



I was commissioned to create a new piece by The Medicine Show, a national storytelling and performance project, for Centerstage in 2022.


Memory Foam is movement-based performance by myself and co-creators Noelle Tolbert, and Laure Drogoul, with a soundscape designed by David Crandall. Inspired by urban life cycles and the struggle to constantly reinvent our surroundings in the face of instability and change, the work is set against a fluid backdrop that embodies the sights and sounds of the Bromo Arts neighborhood in downtown Baltimore.


The veils between worlds are thin and we can easily slip through.


Ten artists conjure portals to other realities in an interdimensional train station. Shape-shifting between times and dimensions, these artists tease out visions that question our sight, embody the present impossible, and transport us into the unknown. 

This roving, distanced performance series of five iterations was curated and organized by myself and Laure Drogoul at Le Mondo.

Part One: Looking from the Outside In

Part Two: Breaking the Membrane

Part Three: Seeing the Unseen

Part Four: Lifting a Veil

Part Five: The Manifestation

Carly J Bales Laure Drogoul Le Mondo
Noelle Tolbert Le Mondo Dance
Carly Bales Current Space dirty clean


This performance activation, installation, and exhibition was created by Laure Drogoul at Current Space and performed by myself, Laure Drogoul, Matthew Williams, and Joe Meduza.


One of the least clean way of cleaning is called dry cleaning. With a mixture of carcinogenic chemicals and an abundance of plastic bags, dry cleaning is the ultimate un-clean. Like the living dead, dry-cleaning generates a dead zone in the natural world, lingering long past its time. Laure Drogoul’s exhibition is the culmination of a 2 year project to research the after-life of human made materials related to domesticity.


During the performance, otherworldly Sisyphean cleaning clerks hopelessly and endlessly folding, weighing, and baling the translucent trash, inviting audiences to consider the never-ending life of plastic.


My performance work, Life or Theatre?, was included in Emergency INDEX Vol. 8. This annual publication is a unique and invaluable documentation of performance work from across the world. My work was previously published in their 2016 edition.

Begun in 2011, INDEX is a lens for seeing the field of contemporary performance from the ground up.

"A bible of performance art activity" -Martha Wilson

Edited by Yelena Gluzman, Sophia Cleary, and Zoe Guttenplan

Learn more and purchase a copy!


I was honored to join Johns Hopkins University’s Social Innovation Lab, in support of my arts project, Le Mondo.


SIL accelerates emerging ventures and leaders that seek to change Baltimore and the world. The program works with driven, altruistic applicants: people who see a problem; are thoughtful and deliberate at developing a potential solution rooted in personal experience and/or extensive research; are willing to exert extraordinary dedication to make the potential solution a reality; and are enthusiastic about joining a learning community, sharing resources and being open-minded in their approach.

Fellows were selected based on their leadership ability and their venture’s boldness, originality, potential for impact, accomplishments to date, feasibility, and potential for sustainability.


I was honored by the Salzburg Global Institute as one of fifty talented Young Cultural Innovators making change to shape a more creative, just, and sustainable world. This took me to Salzburg, Austria where I spent a week connecting and building with bold artists and cultural producers from around the world.


Here's more info.


Alongside my art practice, I founded this grassroots arts development project to create permanent, artist-owned-and-run space for experimental art and arts production.


The project has grown from the seeds of an idea to the redevelopment of three derelict buildings in downtown Baltimore; transforming them into a permanent home for performing arts and radical community work - a cultural hub driven by and for culture makers with a neighborhood bar, multiple performance venues, tons of studios, and affordable live-work apartments.


In 2019, Le Mondo's first building opened to the public with a big party featuring music, dance, performance activations, installation art, hardhat tours, and lots of smiles!

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