The Pillow Projects are

improviational mixed-medium (post)Jazz

performance installations and happenings.



Inspired by the foundational ideas of Method Acting and Postmodern Dance, Pillow Projects seek to identify with the early philosophical and emotional energy of American jazz music without technical, presentational or commercial constraints.







The Pillow Project is the vehicle, under the directorship of Pearlann Porter & John Lambert, for the creation of improvisational, multidisciplinary ideas engaging our ‘Postmodern-Jazz’ movement philosophy.  It’s our mandate for bringing to life our physical poetry with others.  Our focus is the investigation of sincere intimacy, characterized by spontaneous perception expressed with deliberate intent.  


The home of The Pillow Projects is The Space Upstairs (founded in Pittsburgh in 2004), our permanent residence and laboratory for navigating artistic risks, as well as our forum for sharing what we’ve learned, innovating unique audience experiences.  'Jazz', for us, is a verb, and The Space Upstairs is the functional, real-world evidence of the jazz in application, influencing with nuance the moment around us.



We teach and perform art that often happens without the divide of a stage so that inclusive interactions can occur with no boundaries implied between the artists and their audiences.  We share our experimental process, stressing the importance of leaving visible the conventionally hidden realities of production, with audiences invited to share in the tension and surprise of the creative pursuit of our ‘why’.


Our dance is the live drama of our performers' thinking and tinkering.  This spontaneity and vulnerability constitute our gravity as we rely on our 'listening skills' in the moment to ensure our work is open, honest between ourselves, and compassionate toward others.


The Pillow Project’s endeavors include feature-length performances, movement studies, educational experiments, and monthly social happenings occurring in our permanent artistic residence in Pittsburgh. Our studio is a jazz-lounge established above a warehouse, curated and designed by us. External to this home we create diverse public art/performance installations and collaborations with other local and international artists and organizations. In addition to Pittsburgh, our work has been performed in Paris, Amsterdam, London, Dublin, and New York City. 




Postmodern-jazz is our method of 'physicalizing music' much as a jazz musician articulates their moment in sound.  We regard the body as our narrative tool, communicating movement that is autobiographically non-fictional, meaning that our movement reflects the circumstance of the mover as much as any direction involved.  We use movement to share who we are, how we perceive, and the immediate fact of what we are going through with our witness.


It’s the nature of our postmodern-jazz to reveal an individual’s instincts, intentions, and awareness through their choices. There’s no need to embody a particular physical technique or employ any traditional vocabulary of postures and shapes. Instead, one is asked to identify with and then clarify their own innate disposition within the music, and to enhance another’s experience of that music through the instrumentation of their motions played.


Our first and last lesson addresses the dance inherent in stillness.  The purpose of this as a focus is to enable the mover to consider their own feelings as the full dance--that their inner process can be exposed and expressed as their outer poetry.  We seek to reveal that beauty is a thing permitted, and available to anyone in any circumstance.


Postmodern-jazz, as we enact it, is a movement theory of mindfulness in which we seek to honestly identify how we feel in our moment, and from there to explore and investigate: ‘What is my jazz, and how and where can it be experienced?