Radical Black Art and Performance Series


Radical Black Art and Performance Series is a twenty-day digital program featuring queer Black and brown artists, scholars and allies who make work, practice or who’s discipline interconnects, interlocks, and makes legible “Négritude: The affirmation or consciousness of the value of Black or African culture, heritage, and identity in art and education.” The goal of this curated programming is to raise awareness of, and cultivate, Black and queer consciousness through rigorous dialogue, film screenings, and guest presentations and workshops from practicing artists and academics in the field. Arien Wilkerson will lead the series and serve as guest curator/programmer for the project.

 

This series is the first virtual programming for the UConn Contemporary Art Galleries and has received generous funding from the President’s Commitment to Community Initiative through the UConn Office of Diversity and Inclusion. This initiative aims to reduce bigotry, prejudice, and discrimination and to foster respect and understanding among the UConn community. 

 

The Radical Black Art and Performance Series will showcase a performance, lecture, workshop, or film screening Monday through Friday for four consecutive academic weeks during Black History Month 2021. The programming is activated by working artists and educators between the ages of 23-31. The artists and educators are within the diaspora background, LGBTQIA, gender non-conforming/non binary, hiv poz, and of spiritual/religious faith. The series will provide a contemporary framework for allyship and outline why the dismantling of current power structures is a necessary act in cultivating Black and queer consciousness. 

 

The Radical Black Art and Performance Series will be open and accessible to both the student body and UConn community via Eventbrite and Zoom to ensure a safe and secure experience. Additionally, the content from this programming will be archived and accessible on CAG’s website as both a record of the UConn President’s Commitment to Community Initiative and a teaching tool for future use.   

 

Arien Wilkerson (They/she) is a Philadelphia based gender fluid black queer choreographer, performer, video/photo, sculpture and installation artist. Born and raised in Hartford CT. Wilkerson is the founder of Tnmot Aztro, a collaborative multidisciplinary company.  As an entity the artistic practice in making is rooted in repurposing or redefining meanings of “fine art” and its attachments to colonialism, white supremacy, and institutionalized racism.  Tnmot Aztro conspires against “fine art” asking what it is? Who has access to it? How does art become fine?  Where is the “margin” marginalized, displaced, disproportioned ? And what systems were put in place to keep black and brown specifically black and brown queer folk out. Their works thematic concepts include gender, labor, race, cultural competency, possession, viewer responsibility, sensory overload, critical thought, the body, black abstraction, identity, media-created leadership, rhetoric, technology, control, sex, dogma, climate change, territory, zoning, and queerness. 

 

 

The company’s sold out performances, lectures, and  online events have taken place at art galleries, institutions and incubator spaces such as The Historic Town and County Club of Hartford, The Wadsworth Atheneum, University of Saint Joseph, Scapegoat Garden Center for Contemporary Dance, Ted Hershey Dance Marathon, New Britain Museum of Art, Connecticut Dance Alliance, The CT Dance Awards, Hartbeat Ensemble, Artspace Hartford CT,  Housatonic Community College Theater Arts, Amistad Center for Art & Culture, Hartford Public Library, University of Hartford, Little Berlin Philadelphia PA, HighTide Gallery Philadelphia PA, Vox Populi Gallery Philadelphia PA, AS22O Providence RI, SPACE Gallery Portland Maine, Wesleyan University Middletown CT, The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts Fairfield CT, University of Pennsylvania  Philadelphia PA, Yale School of Art, New Haven CT. 

 

Wilkerson has received numerous awards that includes the 2020 Black Artist Support Grant from the Sachs Program for arts & Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania, The Connecticut office of the arts Artist Fellow (2019). The Greater New Haven Arts Council Artist Workforce Initiative Sponsorship (2019), The Connecticut office of the arts project grant (2018), two New England Dance Fund Grants (2017) (2018), The spirit of Juneteenth award from the Amistad Center for Art and Culture (2017), The National Endowment for the Arts “Big Read” Grant (2018), The Director’s Discretionary Fund Award from the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund (2018) and was selected as NEFA’S 2018 Rebecca Blunk Fund Awardee.

 

 

Artists & Events in order of date: 

 

2/1/2021 

Vault Day 1

Mapping Workshop with Marisa Williamson

5:00pm – 7:00pm 

 

Event Registration

 

Marisa Willamson is a project-based artist who works in video, image making, installation and performance around themes of history, race, feminism, and technology. She has produced site-specific works at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (2013), Storm King Art Center (2016), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2016), the University of Virginia (2018), and SPACES Cleveland (2019), and by commission from Monument Lab Philadelphia (2017), and the National Park Service (2019). Her work has been featured in exhibitions at Artpoetica, SOHO20, and BRIC in Brooklyn, The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts (NYC), Vox Populi (Philadelphia), Mana Contemporary Chicago, Human Resources (LA), and Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci in Prato and Stefania Miscetti Gallery in Rome, Italy.

 

Event Description: To map a journey of imperfect recovery and to provide instruction for others who wish to supplant existing power structures with reparative ones, artists Marisa Williamson and Billie Lee present an interactive workshop inspired by Vault. In this workshop we focus on the subject and the landscape, finding ways to locate shared and intersecting sources of shame in order to build new strategies to resist its corrosive power. Vault takes audiences through the landscape of abandoned and poisonous schools in New England. It is a site-specific interdisciplinary performance that erects new performance spaces out of the ruins of others. To experience this presentation fully, please download the Artivive App for your smartphone. Be prepared to watch the Zoom presentation on a computer, with your smartphone on hand. Leading up to the presentation, registered participants can access a PDF of the map at www.howdoyouvault.com.

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2/2/2021

Vault Day 2 

Vault Mixtape

5:00pm – 7:00pm

 

Event Registration

 

Vault is a collaboration between Hartford and Philadelphia-based artists Marisa Williamson, Nicholas Serrambana, Arien Wilkerson, and Kevin Hernández Rosa. Vault is a lifetime work, an educational tool, an intervention resource, a way to build a park, sound an alarm; Vault is not composed of distinct healers but rather folks asking for us all to try healing together, as a code of ethics that refuses to leave anyone behind. Vault is a radical new program development that, for its own sake, stimulates the release of toxic stress for artists and community members. Vault proposes a new standard for wellness– by creating locations for community engagement that outlast the performance.

 

Event Description: a 35min video performance piece created by the Vault team released with a digital score composed by Nicholas Serrambana, sound designer of Vault. The psychoacoustic video mixtape sculpted for UConn is the subconscious imprint of an abandoned institution. Ambience and the intelligible are unraveled by the epistemology of an object that is permanently closed, where time and memory bypass song form for stagnation. Hissing, popping, percolation, and the sigh of a permanently silent structure are expressed seemingly via ghost sounds of children, as shrieking, and as erosion. Cumulatively the project sonically and visually addresses the ethics of commodified urban decay, the blatant segregation and environmental racism of city space, the question of “poverty porn,” the jurisprudential/budgetary schisms that prevent the explicitly illegal conditions in these buildings from being properly persecuted, and, more philosophically, the idea of architectures that do not have the privilege of being brutalist by choice. The video consists of choreography and performance by Arien Wilkerson with video from David Norori, image/text by Marsia Willamson, Kevin Hernandez Rosa and Nicholas Serrambana. 

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2/4/2021

Performance Screening: Bronx Gothic by Okwui Okpokwasili

4:00pm – 6:00pm

 

Event Registration

 

Trailer

 

Okwui Okpokwasili is a performer, choreographer, and writer creating multidisciplinary performance pieces that draw viewers into the interior lives of women of color, particularly those of African and African American women, whose stories have long been overlooked and rendered invisible. The child of immigrants from Nigeria, Okpokwasili was born and raised in the Bronx, and the histories of these places and the girls and women who inhabit them feature prominently in much of her work. Her productions are highly experimental in form, bringing together elements of dance, theater, and the visual arts (with spare and distinctive sets designed by her husband and collaborator, Peter Born).

 

RBAPS – Special screening of performance film Bronx Gothic by Okwui Okpokwasili

Event Description: Corner bodegas, Newport loosies, and Orchard Beach on fire mark the landscape of Okwui Okpokwasili’s Bronx Gothic. Clandestine notes are passed between two 11-year old girls in a sex-saturated, mid-80’s 6th grade. Memory threatens to break the body in this partially true chronicle of one woman’s past. Springing from an exploration of the West African griot storytelling tradition and the epistolary trope of letter-writing in Victorian Gothic novels, Bronx Gothic is a dark and intensely physical solo performance by Okpokwasili–best known for her work with Ralph Lemon, Nora Chipaumire, Young Jean Lee, and Dean Moss-along with direction and visual design by Bessie award-winner Peter Born.

 

Okwui Okpokwasili: Writer, Performer and Sound Designer

Peter Born: Director, Visual and Sound Designer 

 

* Please join us for a brief discussion after the screening

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2/5/2021

Performance Screening: La Chance by Loïc Touzé

4:00pm – 6:00pm

 

Event Registration

 

Trailer

 

What must a performer do in order to dance, really dance? He plunges into his imagination, trying to abandon his training, his knowledge, his savoir-faire. He ventures into a rhythmical, physical narrative. A narrative of the senses. 

What does he encounter in this place? His memories? His future? Those who watch him?

 

To approach these states of dance we have practiced hypnotism and telepathy. We have created frameworks for exposure and appearance with simple characteristics; we have invented a deep, indiscernible hinterland. The dances which are shown one after the other are but one endlessly reinvented dance. It is a kind of collective ritual that requires everyone’s attention and accompaniment, that allows the dance to embody and to reveal that which goes beyond our expectations.

 

“Throughout the past ten years’ choreographers and dancers have incesssantly put their own practice into crisis a practice based on technique, rigour and performance: “What must a performer do in order to dance, to really dance?” This question has structured the whole contemporary dance landscape from Jérôme Bel to Boris Charmatz, from Alain Buffard to Olivier Dubois, Emmanuelle Huynh or Loïc Touzé. After ten years of work in Rennes, Loïc Touzé has created a performance piece which questions the act of dancing and the very fabric of movement. This question takes the form of a ritual for six dancers who display themselves without artifice. The piece, judiciously titled the chance gives the performers the unique possibility to ask themselves exactly what it is they are doing when they are in “a state of dance”. The process is incontestably fascinating and gives much more in return than something simply spectacular. In deciding not to show dance in order to give more time to think about it, artists risk locking themselves into a world without windows. With this piece, one could say that Loïc Touzé has attained a new limit, which offers him the chance to write a whole new chapter.” – Bruno Tackels, Mettre en scène l’indiscipline, mouvement.net, December 2009

 

* Please join us for a brief discussion after the screening

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2/8/2021 

Artist in Conversation: Tafari Robertson

5:30pm – 7:00pm

 

Event Registration

 

Tafari Robertson is a multidisciplinary artist based in Philadelphia, originally from Austin, TX. He works across mediums to explore the experiences layered within Black personal and cultural spaces, questioning what are the abstract effects of space, the elements that create those experiences, and what ripples out when these spaces are created, sustained or destroyed. Currently working as an educator, he received his B.S. in public relations and minored in Art & Design at Texas State University. 

 

Event Description: In conversation with Arien Wilkerson, will discuss the Black conceptual elements that inform his audio collage and his Speculative Works series. Through audio, he examines Black Bookstores as intimate spaces that nurture, energize and re-enforce a collective Black consciousness through literature and conversation. Robertson will talk in-depth about using his community based art process as a means to access legacy and permanence despite their systematic limitations in Black Communities. 

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2/9/2021

Performance Screening: Last Work by Batsheva Dance Company

3:00pm – 4:00pm

 

Event Registration

 

Trailer

 

Last Work, a piece by Ohad Naharin, a prodigious dancer and choreographer who is one of the most innovative of contemporary dance artists. His work is precise, delicate, calligraphic. He is the House Choreographer of Batsheva Dance Company and creator of the Gaga movement language.

 

Event Description: The piece is chockablock with torsions and unlikely body positions as it builds to a crescendo leading to ecstasy. The stage is bare. In the distance a woman runs on a treadmill. Her non-stop running on the spot traces the line of time, of history being repeated. The images generated by the 18 virtuoso dancers are very powerful, and not soon forgotten.

 

* Please join us for a brief discussion after the screening

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2/9/2021

Emilio Martínez Poppe Workshop *General Public

5:00pm – 7:00pm

 

Event Registration

 

Emilio Martínez Poppe is an artist working across installation, performance, participatory projects, and research-based collaborative projects. Their work engages collectivity, its practices and affects, and the politics of its representation. By connecting lived or speculative legacies of belonging through their spatial or linguistic formations Emilio’s projects address the archive as a site and as a social practice. Emilio earned a BFA from The Cooper Union School of Art and was a recipient of the SOMA+CU 2016 Scholarship for research in Mexico City. They have exhibited their work at FIERMAN, the Queens Museum, CUE Art Foundation, and Flux Factory in New York City; the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, and Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond, in Amsterdam; and The William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia. Emilio has been an artist in residence at Abrons Arts Center, and Pratt Institute; a Fellow at The Laundromat Project; and a member of NEW INC at the New Museum. They are currently an MFA-MCP dual degree candidate at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of BFAMFAPhD.

 

Event Description: Join Emilio Martínez Poppe for an ekphrastic writing workshop that will engage Black and LGBTQ+ student organizing materials from the UConn Library Archives and Special Collections. In this workshop Emilio will also introduce their work and other artist’s work to share some of the ways they have engaged with the archival in creative practice. Participants will work independently and in small groups on a series of short exercises to create a conjectural archive of their own where ideas, places, feelings, and objects can coexist and form a basis from which to compose new meanings and create new work. Bring a notebook and some writing/drawing supplies. In anticipation of the workshop identify and bring one object that asks a question you are interested in addressing through creative writing and group work.

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2/10/2021

Performance Screening: Lovepiece by Tnmot Aztro

5:30pm – 6:30pm

 

Event Registration

 

Event Description: Lovepiece is about the work it takes to build a healthy relationship with yourself using movement/sound, to uncover the process of healing from rejection, hate, poverty and humiliation within black/brown queer romantic relationships. Spontaneous, erotic, queer, open-ended, club and Latin American-inspired melodramas paired with transgressive experiential outlooks on love takes the audience through the lens of queer POC relationships, specifically the dichotomy between Black and Latino queer relationships, and the exchange of culture with attachments to the harboring feelings of wanting to be accepted, wanting to be in financially stable relationships, being “out” in public, being young and hiv positive and being put on a pillory for your own personal act of love. 

In Lovepiece the audience makes their way through Wilkerson’s transgressive experiences as a queer person. Wilkerson’s personal relationship with their status, family and past lovers are then directed towards how they manifested their own community or family. Interfamily based issues revolving the shame of loving the same sex comes directly from how we are taught or not taught queerness as a child to an adult. The innocence of being a queer child is easily dismantled by the way we as a society of people frame, process and discover queerness and queer people. 

Conceived & conceptualized: Arien Wilkerson & domsentfrommars 

Choreography: Arien Wilkerson 

Set conceptual & design: Arien Wilkerson, Joe McCarthy, domsentfrommars

Sculpture Construction: Joe McCarthy

Lighting design: Jon-Paul LaRocco & Arien Wilkerson 

Lighting Construction: Jon-Paul LaRocco, Emma Graydon, Dan East 

Musical Director: Zach Rowden 

Cast & Performers: domsentfrommars, Karim Rome, Zach Rowden

Costume design & construction: domsentfrommars 

Creative Consultant: Derek Jackson 

All Original music by: domsentfrommars, Karim Rome, Zach Rowden with music from Juan Gabriel, Los Angeles Negros, Arianna Grande, Lara Plantonos, Kevin

 

* Please join us for a brief discussion after the screening

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2/11/2021

Vitche-Boul Ra

Online Performance 

5:00pm – 6:30pm 

 

Event Registration

 

Vitche-Boul Ra is a Transhumanist Folk-Theurgist with a BFA in Interdisciplinary Fine Arts (Sculpture concentration) from The University of the Arts [2018]. To develop a performance practice adjacent to the lineage of western sculpture, It also studied dance in the UArts School of Dance directed by Donna Faye Burchfield. Winning the Edna Andrade Travel Scholarship from The University of the Arts in 2017, Ra traveled to Bali, Indonesia to observe/study the movement practices and theatrical vocabularies of Balinese Dance—further re-imagining the priorities of It’s practice. In Philadelphia, It has shown solo (+collaborative) works at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Vox Populi Gallery, Little Berlin Gallery, and Hightide Gallery. In New York, Ra performed in Fridman Gallery’s 5th Anniversary Festival, had work selected for the Center for Performance Research’s Spring Movement Festival 2018, and was curated into the New Dance Alliance’s 2019 Performance Mix Festival: 33.

 

Event Description: And forever in reflexive fade. 

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2/12/2021

Performance Screening: Tongues Untied by Marlon Riggs

6:00pm – 7:30pm

 

Event Registration

 

Trailer

 

Marlon Riggs’ essay film Tongues United gives voice to communities of black gay men, presenting their cultures and perspectives on the world as they confront racism, homophobia, and marginalization. It broke new artistic ground by mixing poetry (by Essex Hemphill and other artists), music, performance and Riggs’ autobiographical revelations. The film was embraced by black gay audiences for its authentic representation of style, and culture, as well its fierce response to oppression. It opened up opportunities for dialogue among and across communities.  

Tongues Untied has been lauded by critics for its vision and its bold aesthetic advances, and vilified by anti-gay forces who used it to condemn government funding of the arts. It was even denounced from the floor of Congress. “Black men loving Black men is the revolutionary act” is the rallying cry at the film’s end and after more than 20 years, Tongues United remains a celebrated vehicle for eloquent self-expression and liberation.

 

Marlon Riggs was born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1957. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1978, with a major in History. While at Harvard, Riggs pursued an independent study of the portrayal of “male homosexuality in American fiction and poetry.” Riggs received a master’s degree in journalism with a specialization in documentary film in 1981 from the University of California, Berkeley. Riggs wrote, produced, and directed eight films and videos. He also wrote numerous scholarly articles and held interviews on identity, politics, censorship, African American culture, and documentary film practice. Working during the height of the culture wars of the 1990s, Riggs examined highly contested topics within the fabric of American identity and African American culture.

 

Additional info can be found at the Marlon Riggs Resource Page

 

* Please join us for a brief discussion after the screening

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2/15/2021

Emilio Martínez Poppe Workshop *Students Only

4:00pm – 6:00pm

 

Event Registration

 

Emilio Martínez Poppe is an artist working across installation, performance, participatory projects, and research-based collaborative projects. Their work engages collectivity, its practices and affects, and the politics of its representation. By connecting lived or speculative legacies of belonging through their spatial or linguistic formations Emilio’s projects address the archive as a site and as a social practice. Emilio earned a BFA from The Cooper Union School of Art and was a recipient of the SOMA+CU 2016 Scholarship for research in Mexico City. They have exhibited their work at FIERMAN, the Queens Museum, CUE Art Foundation, and Flux Factory in New York City; the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, and Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond, in Amsterdam; and The William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia. Emilio has been an artist in residence at Abrons Arts Center, and Pratt Institute; a Fellow at The Laundromat Project; and a member of NEW INC at the New Museum. They are currently an MFA-MCP dual degree candidate at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of BFAMFAPhD.

 

Event Description: Join Emilio Martínez Poppe for an ekphrastic writing workshop that will engage Black and LGBTQ+ student organizing materials from the UConn Library Archives and Special Collections. In this workshop Emilio will also introduce their work and other artist’s work to share some of the ways they have engaged with the archival in creative practice. Participants will work independently and in small groups on a series of short exercises to create a conjectural archive of their own where ideas, places, feelings, and objects can coexist and form a basis from which to compose new meanings and create new work. Bring a notebook and some writing/drawing supplies. In anticipation of the workshop identify and bring one object that asks a question you are interested in addressing through creative writing and group work.

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2/16/2021

Lauren Horn 

Online performance: Cleave 

5:00pm – 7:00pm 

 

Event Registration

 

Lauren Horn is a movement and text based artist from Windsor, CT. She graduated from Amherst College with degrees in Psychology and Theatre and Dance. Lauren’s work explores identity and the ways it can be uncovered, marginalized, highlighted, and erased. By utilizing movement and text as means of fostering a more welcoming form of vulnerability, the work creates a space for self-reflection and conversation for both the performer and viewer.self. Lauren’s choreographic work has been showcased at The BAM Fisher Theatre in Brooklyn, NYC, Hibernian Hall in Boston MA, The Meydenbauer Center Theatre in Belleview, WA, The Armory in Sommerville, MA, The Studio of Contemporary Dance and Thought in Northampton, MA, The Northampton Center for the Arts, Amherst College and ACDFA New England. Lauren has performed with Deborah Goffe’s Scapegoat Garden, Dante Brown’s Warehouse Dance

Company, Arien Wilkerson’s TNMOT AZTRO, Wendy Woodson, Katie Martin and Jennifer Nugent. While in the Five College Dance Consortium, Lauren has studied under Paul Matteson, Angie Hauser, Jim Coleman, Shayla Jenkins, Paul Dennis and Caroline Fermin. She has also performed in repertory works of The Bebe Miller Company, Bill T. Jones/ Arnie Zane Company, Delfos Danza Contemporanea and Gallim Dance Company.

 

Event Description: Cleave is a protest, a question, a dance of sorts and a proclamation of the beauty of the Black body. Passing through states of anger, pride, joy and mischief. Cleave explores Blackness in America during the year 2020.

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2/17/2021

Performance Screening: The Sis Uprising by Arien Wilkerson and David Norrori 

4:30pm – 5:30pm 

 

Event Registration

 

Arien Wilkerson (They/she) is a Philadelphia based gender fluid black queer choreographer, performer, video/photo, sculpture and installation artist. Born and raised in Hartford CT. Wilkerson is the founder of Tnmot Aztro, a collaborative multidisciplinary company. 

 

Event Description: The Sis Uprising, a conceptual Black spectacle on COVID-19, the protests, and the interwoven legacies of race, gender, sexuality and Black queer artistic insurgency. As Wilkerson writes in their “A sissifesto,” featured below, “The sis uprising is a visual aggregate, collective showing of the disconnection between realities and moments, present presences and parallel futures. I’m interested in adding to the narrative of what more do we do or what less do we do after all is said and done. The character is time. Not displaying time nor depicting time but abstractedly wearing time as skin. Whose skin is time in?”

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2/18/2021

Artist in Conversation: Sade Abiodun

6:00pm – 7:45pm

 

Event Registration

 

Sade Abiodun is a budding neuroscientist by day and aspiring filmmaker also by day. She graduated from Duke University with a degree in Neuroscience, finding her passion for filmmaking later in her path. Her first short film — Godspeed — has received high praise, garnering multiple festival selections and awards, a spotlight feature in Free The Work, and a finalist spot in the 2020 Sundance Ignite Short Film Challenge. She is currently in her first year of her Ph.D. at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute and hopes to focus her research on neurocinematics – the neuroscience of film. She hopes to bridge the gap between the worlds of film and science, specifically through the study and practice of creating intentional, narrative-driven visual experiences.

 

Event Description: Sade Abiodun in conversation with Arien Wilkerson will discuss the intersection between science, art, and identity. Particularly, this conversation will draw focus on blackness as mediated through visual culture, and its subsequent impact on our perception of these representations. The conversation will feature some of Sade’s own work as a filmmaker as well as a discussion of her published academic pieces tackling race and racism in the field of Neuroscience. Attendees will engage with academic and artistic thought in concert with one another, highlighting identity as one of the central themes of informed practice.

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2/19/2021

Performance Screening: Parallels: The End by David Thomson

6:00pm – 7:30pm

 

Event Registration

 

David Thomson is a Brooklyn based interdisciplinary collaborative and performing artist who has worked in the fields of music, dance, theater and performance. His own work has been presented by The Kitchen, Danspace Project at St Mark’s Church, Dance Theater Workshop, Roulette and Movement Research at Judson Church.   Thomson has been Artist-in-Residence at Dance Theater Workshop, Movement Research, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Gibney Dance Center, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) Process Space Program, The Invisible Dog, Topaz Arts and Mount Tremper Arts Center and The Yard. Thomson has been awarded fellowships from United States Artists|Ford, NYFA in Choreography, MacDowell, Yaddo and The Rauschenberg Foundation. He is currently a LMCC Extended Life | Lifeline Artist (2018-21). Thomson has served on the faculties of Movement Research, NYU/Experimental Theater Wing, Sarah Lawrence, The New School, Barnard, Bennington and Pratt as well as teaching internationally. He was a 2017-19 QUEER ARTS Mentor.

 

Event Description: My history as an artist exists among the intersections of movement, text, sound and song. Mining the unconscious narratives and underlying structures that drive the experience of both the performer and those that witness. Choreographically, I am interested in repurposing iconography and forms to create alternative perspectives. Structuring environments that reframe actions and the perceived logic of the players, exploring a range of temporal forms from short works to durational tasks.

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2/22/2021

Artist in conversation: Domsentfrommars 

6:00pm – 7:30pm

 

Event Registration

 

Domsentfrommars is a Philadelphia based artist from Connecticut. He received a BFA in theater arts from FIVE TOWNS COLLEGE in 2016. Domsentfrommars’s performances, styling, sound designs and collaborations include Feltzine, The Maysles Documentary center (New York), Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT) Vox Populi (Philadelphia PA), Gypsy Sport NY, Jeffery NY, Quick Center for the Arts (Fairfield, CT) Living Gallery Outpost (New York), CBS Reboot of Murphy Brown.

 

Event Description: Domsentfrommars in conversation with collaborator Arien Wilkerson discusses his influences via nihilism, subjectivity and interpretation. Lifestyle is a framework for Mars’s extreme and minimalistic viewpoint which translates discovery into aesthetic and personal style. He will screen his personal visuals, photos, and work meanwhile discuss how to build an aesthetic, and form an aesthetical approach without taking yourself too seriously.

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2/23/2021

Artist in Conversation: Nicholas Serrambana

6:00pm – 7:45pm  

 

Event Registration

 

Nicholas Serrambana is a contrabassist and a rising senior in African American Studies at Yale University specializing in media theory and the commodified legacies of representation in the jazz archive. In the past, Serrambana has turned to music as well as experimental film as alternatives to writing in order to liberate academic canons from linguistic vestiges of race/gender binaries.

 

Event Description: Nicholas Serrambana In conversation with Arien Wilkerson will present a talk entitled “Metadata Erasure: Back the Fuck Up,” in which students will be guided through a series of prompts about the metadata surrounding documented works on their personal Zoom devices. These prompts will segue into a larger discussion of the ways that the students might defy algorithms while accessing art recreationally in order to address larger questions of composer/artist visibility in the music of the Black Radical Tradition. Innovations in all artistic genres of media are disserviced and erased by what is not available to those who are curious, and through this talk, students will scrutinize their patterns of consumptions and discuss collective alternatives to the

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2/24/2021

Performance Screening: Hunted by Maud Le Pladec and Okwui Okpokwasili

5:00pm – 6:30pm

 

Event Registration

 

Trailer

 

Following her studies at the National Choreographic Center of Montpellier, Maud Le Pladec danced for choreographers such as Georges Appaix, Loïc Touzé, Mathilde Monnier, Mette Ingvartsen, and Boris Charmatz. In 2010, she premiered her first piece, Professor, first section of a diptych revolving around the music of Fausto Romitelli (Choreographic Revelation Award from the French Union of Theatre, Music and Dance Critics). The second section followed in 2012 with Poetry

 

Okwui Okpokwasili is a performer, choreographer, and writer creating multidisciplinary performance pieces that draw viewers into the interior lives of women of color, particularly those of African and African American women, whose stories have long been overlooked and rendered invisible. The child of immigrants from Nigeria, Okpokwasili was born and raised in the Bronx, and the histories of these places and the girls and women who inhabit them feature prominently in much of her work. Her productions are highly experimental in form, bringing together elements of dance, theater, and the visual arts (with spare and distinctive sets designed by her husband and collaborator, Peter Born).

 

Event Description: Munyaneza invokes witches in this intense, raw solo, co-directed by Maud Le Pladec (Centre chorégraphique national d’Orléans) and Okwui Okpokwasili. She talks in tongues, she speaks in verse, she lectures and rants, drawing on a mixture of folklore and political language, reclaiming witches from history as powerful, revolutionary women. Her mission is to represent the women from around the world, from different cultures who were self-proclaimed witches and were considered a threat to patriarchal societies: healers, lesbians, dancers, revolutionaries and activists.

 

Although there is little dance in Hunted, movement is unconventionally theatrical, drawing on practices such as Butoh, Dadaism, Expressionism. It’s both repellent and seductive and inextricably linked to the voice. Fragmented action that is mostly confined to the torso, arms and neck courses through her upper body in waves and judders, while her head is snapped into distorted tilts. She grimaces and howls one minute then sings softly the next.  At one point she folds from the waist, stretching out her spine like a vertical plank and grips us with her beady gaze. She tells us she is going to cook something for us. Who would dare refuse.

 

* Please join us for a brief discussion after the screening

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2/25/2021 

Artist in Conversation: Shanice Gray

5:30pm – 6:45pm 

 

Event Registration

 

Shanice Gray is a Brooklyn, New York native raised in Orlando FL. She started her fashion career in 2009 moving back to New York in 2016  styling hip hop groups the Flatbush Zombies & The Underachievers  for their “Left Hand” music video,  GQ Web Series, and Jimmy Fallon Live Performance. Gray’s work assisting and styling can be seen in Brooklyn Magazine, on sets with renowned stylists such as Scooter LaForge and  Patricia fields, King Kong Magazine working with Grammy Award Winning Artist Janelle Monae, and most recently becoming the assistant stylist for Black Yoga Magazine. 

 

Event Description: Shanice Gray in conversation with Arien Wilkerson will discuss Black culture, classism, and fashion through her fearless, passionate, cynical, and avant-garde insight on clothing in Black modern America. Building her own personal style with a passion for fashion through the influences of her Jamaican Heritage, Shanice welcomes the idea that true style is an art form deputed upon personal experiences. Shanice will inform you on ways to confect your personal style, assembling history, nostalgia, stories, and images about her journey to self-actualization, as a framework to dissect how Black clothing, Black Fashion, and Black materials has influenced the depths of media and music in modern day America. In addition, we will discover how Shanice’s drive for complexity in New York City’s style and fashion industry landed her a thriving career, climbing the ladder, and constructing a bridge between providing everyday looks for clients to iconic looks for your favorite celebrities.

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2/26/2021

Performance Screening: The Last Angel of History by John Akomfrah

6:00pm – 7:30pm

 

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Trailer

 

John Akomfrah is a hugely respected artist and filmmaker, whose works are characterized by their investigations into memory, post-colonialism, temporality and aesthetics and often explores the experiences of migrant diasporas globally. Akomfrah was a founding member of the influential Black Audio Film Collective, which started in London in 1982 alongside the artists David Lawson and Lina Gopaul, who he still collaborates with today. Their first film, Handsworth Songs (1986) explored the events surrounding the 1985 riots in Birmingham and London through a charged combination of archive footage, still photos and newsreel. The film won several international prizes and established a multi-layered visual style that has become a recognizable motif of Akomfrah’s practice. Other works include the three-screen installation The Unfinished Conversation (2012), a moving portrait of the cultural theorist Stuart Hall’s life and work; Peripeteia (2012), an imagined drama visualizing the lives of individuals included in two 16th century portraits by Albrecht Dürer and Mnemosyne (2010) which exposes the experience of migrants in the UK, questioning the notion of Britain as a promised land by revealing the realities of economic hardship and casual racism.

 

Event Description: John Akomfrah, director of Seven Songs of Malcolm X, returns with an engaging and searing examination of the hitherto unexplored relationships between Pan-African culture, science fiction, intergalactic travel, and rapidly progressing computer technology. This cinematic essay posits science fiction (with tropes such as alien abduction, estrangement, and genetic engineering) as a metaphor for the Pan-African experience of forced displacement, cultural alienation, and otherness. Akomfrah’s analysis is rooted in an exploration of the cultural works of Pan-African artists, such as funkmaster George Clinton and his Mothership Connection, Sun Ra’s use of extraterrestrial iconography, and the very explicit connection drawn between these issues in the writings of black science fiction authors Samuel R. Delaney and Octavia Butler.

 

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