Author: Michael, Shawn

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 

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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 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 

 

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

 

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

 

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 

 

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 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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  

 

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

 

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 

 

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

 

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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Laura Splan – Shaded Areas of Uncertainty

The University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute (UCHI) in collaboration with the Art & Art History Department hosted a lecture and Q + A with the Brooklyn-based artist Laura Splan on Nov 6th 2020. 

 

Watch a recap of the virtual event below. 

 

About the Artist:

Laura Splan’s work connects the material artifacts of science to the poetic subjectivities of the everyday. Her transdisciplinary projects destabilize notions of the presence and absence of bodies evoking the systems that delineate their status.

Splan’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Arts & Design and Beall Center for Art + Technology, and is included in the collections of the Thoma Art Foundation and the NYU Langone Art Collection. She has received research funding from The Jerome Foundation and her residencies have been supported by The Knight Foundation, The Institute for Electronic Arts, and The Pollock-Krasner Foundation. She has been a visiting lecturer at Stanford University teaching creative technology courses including “Embodied Interfaces” and “Data as Material”. Splan is a Creative Science track member at NEW INC, the New Museum’s cultural incubator in New York City. She is currently in residence at BioBAT Art Space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal where she is using textiles gestures such as unraveling and weaving to understand the structures that form our entangled precarity during the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more about the artists work here. 

Katie Garth

Katie Garth

Why I’m Voting for Biden

Coroplast

18” x 24”

2020

Statement
Like so many others, I’m exhausted by the inability of the left to articulate its most urgent needs without first undermining its own viability. This administration’s cruelty and chaos render many of us speechless; it’s impossible to know where to begin. While all of these problems won’t go away under a Biden presidency, it’s imperative to pursue a strategy that gets us closer to correcting these issues, and reassert how much there is to be lost under another four years of Trump. Yes, the house is always on fire, but the people stuck inside of it shouldn’t die while those of us with privilege turn our attention towards building a new one. We can have both. White folks, gather your own and convince them to vote for Biden. This is our responsibility.

Bio
Katie Garth is a print-based artist in Philadelphia. She received her MFA from the Tyler School of Art in 2020 and a BFA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2013. Her interdisciplinary practice investigates tensions between the everyday lived experience and the otherworldly and sublime. Accordingly, she visually depicts nondescript items like chairs, sweaters, notebooks, and sneakers as sacred vestiges of a shared existence, often paired with confessional writing or found text. Placed in charged, atmospheric settings, these objects and fragments provoke a sense of enchantment and unease, highlighting the highly constructed nature of consciousness, and destabilizing viewers’ sense of the familiar.

 

Website

http://www.katiegarth.com

Kalyn Fay Barnoski

Kalyn Fay Barnoski

We All Gotta Try

Digital Printed Tarp

96″ x 40″

2020

 

 

Statement: 

I was reading back through “A Third University is Possible” and came across a Jack Forbes quote about our interconnectedness with the land and environment as Indigenous people. It made me realize how disconnected I feel at times with land, with people, with empathetic understanding and how overwhelming everything feels right now during a time of separation and unknowns. It’s easy to feel like we’re not doing enough and we’ll never get it right. I wrote this statement down because I needed an urgent validation for myself in that moment. The truth is no one ever gets it “right,” but the point is that we all try for each other, for ourselves, and for future generations.

 

Biography: 

Kalyn Fay Barnoski (b. 1990) is a ᏣᎳᎩ and native Oklahoman, currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking at the University of Arkansas. She earned her Honors B.F.A. from Rogers State University in 2012 and a Master of Arts from The University of Tulsa in 2016. She is an interdisciplinary artist, working within digital, print, and sound platforms as it relates to Indigenous ways of knowing and the intersections we all share. She has worked with Peabody Essex Museum, Philbrook Museum of Art, Gilcrease Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Eiteljorg Museum, along with others, and performed, exhibited, and facilitated workshops both nationally and internationally.

 

Website:

https://www.kalynbarnoski.com

Alejandro de la Guerra

Alejandro de la Guerra

Occupy My Words

Camping tents, spray paint, LED lights

Dimension Variable

2020

 

Statement

This installation is about censorship, self-censorship, and anti-censorship with an aesthetic reference to the “occupy Wall Street” movement.

It picks up some topics that could be subjects of debate or open conversations but that in times of pandemic can become sensitive but important, especially surprising that they become taboo in a place where there are supposed to be freedoms; the house, the university, the country. Made possible with support of the Artist Protection Fund (APF), and the Human Rights Instituto, El Instituto at UConn.

Words have history and memory in these tents, but the layers of paint that cover the words evidence the attempt at censorship as the important element of the painting itself, which between each layer of color and light at the night, reflects and endures.

Bio:

Alejandro De La Guerra 1986 (Managua, Nicaragua) is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, performer and poet. He is also the drummer for the experimental group, Somoto Blues Band (SBB). Alejandro is currently an Artist in Residence Fellow in the Human Rights Institute & El Instituto at the University of Connecticut with support from the Artists Protection Fund (APF)

 

 

Website:

https://www.alejandrodelaguerra.com

Emmy Bright

Emmy Bright

Tragedies of Desire

Coroplast

18” x 24”

2020

 

Statement:

I make performances, drawings, writing, and prints,  that merge high theory, pop songs, psychoanalysis, comedy, art history and philosophy.  With all of these approaches and influences, I champion the stupid, the wrong, and the failed narrative; I make comparisons that fall apart and diagrams that try to explain but instead contain their own undoing. I work to upend normative good sense in order to find something more complex, gnarly, and real.

 

Bio: 

Emmy Bright works in drawing, writing, print and performance.  She holds an M.Ed from Harvard School of Education, and MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art where she is now chairs their MFA program in Print Media. She has exhibited widely both in the United States and internationally and has recently released a taroesque book and deck set called “More Stupids” through 3 Hole Press in New York.  She currently lives in Detroit where her work is represented by David Klein Gallery.

 

Website:

https://emmybright.com/home.html

Arien Wilkerson

Arien Wilkerson

Is that enough? 1

Is that enough? 2

Is that enough? 3

Is that enough? 4

Coroplast

18” x 24”

2020

 

Statement:

My process really has no filter, If I had to dissect my process it would be just me directly or indirectly positioning myself in which my desire to see or feel or discover is amplified by the subject that is in front of me.

 

Bio:

Arien Wilkerson (They/she) is a queer, black, choreographer, dancer, film maker, director, producer, installation born/raised in Hartford CT.  Arien Wilkerson | Tnmot Aztro based in Philadelphia Pa, is a collaborative multidisciplinary company featuring six to ten artists at any given time. Sculpture, spatial design, lighting design, installation, photography, sound design, and at times seven or more movement artists including Wilkerson. Tnmot Aztro considers that the complexities within art derive from the alienation of objects, identities, the body, sounds and humans, among many things. As an entity the artistic practice in making performance, sculpture, experimental film, photography and dance is rooted in repurposing or redefining meanings of “fine art” and its attachments to colonialism, white supremacy, and institutionalized racism.

 

Website:

http://www.tnmotaztro.com

Shannon Finnegan 

Shannon Finnegan 

Who are you listening to? Who are you learning from?

Coroplast

18” x 24”

2020

 

Statement:

There is are so many disabled people and disability-led organizations sharing vital and insightful information online. But it can sometimes be hard to find if you don’t know where to look. This project points to collectives, groups, and organizations that I consider leaders in my world with the hope that other people may look them up and learn from them too. 

 

Bio:

Shannon Finnegan is an interdisciplinary artist. Some of their recent work includes Anti-Stairs Club Lounge, an ongoing project that gathers people together who share an aversion to stairs; Alt-Text as Poetry, a collaboration with Bojana Coklyat that explores the expressive potential of alt-text; and Do You Want Us Here or Not, a series of benches designed for exhibition spaces. They have done projects with Banff Centre, the High Line, the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Tallinn Art Hall, and Nook Gallery. Their work has been supported by a 2018 Wynn Newhouse Award, a 2019 residency at Eyebeam, a 2020 residency at Surf Point Foundation, and a 2020 grant from Art Matters Foundation. They live and work in Brooklyn, NY.

 

Website:

https://shannonfinnegan.com

Paul Collins

Paul Collins

100 Days

Wood, acrylic and spray paint

Dimension Variable

2020

Project Statement:
Artist and educator Paul Collins is painting VOTE signs to drive voter awareness for each of the 100 days leading up to our presidential election. The signs are all handmade, each with its own original design and shape. And they’re free! And non-partisan. Just a way to celebrate our shared  joy and responsibility to vote.

Bio: 

Paul Collins is an artist, curator and educator in Nashville, TN. Paul has an MFA in Painting & Printmaking from Yale and has been a resident at the MacDowell Colony, Hambidge Center, Skowhegan, Anderson Ranch Arts Center and the Vermont Studio Center. His work has been featured in New American Paintings, Number and Native magazines.

 

Paul teaches at Austin Peay State University and is represented by Red Arrow Gallery, Nashville, TN.

 

Website:

https://paulpaul.com/home.html

 

Brianna Harlan

Brianna Harlan

occupied stillness

completely alone package advertisement

beauty-covered glasses

Coroplast

18” x 24”

2020

 

 

 

Statement:

I am a multi-disciplinary artist working primarily with installation, portrait, digital manipulation, intervention, works on paper, and photography. My work is driven by by the need to confront how systems violently condition our relational identity, and how that influences quality of life, health, and habits. My work serves as a creative intervention. I work conceptually, often in community, interactive projects. I am interested in exploring narrative through everyday objects and the use of interactive elements to activate the static and familiar. The works occupied stillness, completely alone package ad, and beauty-covered glasses are prompts instead of the typical yard sign declaration– respectively encouraging mindfulness with self, reflection on one’s place in society, and questioning the energy behind our perspectives.

 

Bio: 

Brianna Harlan is a multidisciplinary artist and organizer. She works conceptually in multiform, socially engaged art. Her work is driven by the need to confront how systems violently condition our relational identity, and how that influences quality of life, health, and habits. Brianna is a Kentucky Foundation for Women Fire Starter awardee. Her most recent residencies were at Oxbow School of Art and Artists’ Residency and Materia Abierta in Mexico City. Current projects include an AR Monument to Breonna Taylor and the #SayHerName Movement, made in collaboration with 4th Wall, 21c Museum Hotels, and Breonna’s family and an equity in arts initiative in Louisville, KY that was featured in ARTNews. Harlan also leads community experiences and presentations, having been a speaker at For Freedoms and the Kentucky ACLU events. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Art and Social Action at Queens College, CUNY and making her New York gallery debut with a solo exhibition: Black Love Blooms: New York Nook in September 2020.

 

Website:

https://www.briannaharlan.com