What happens if we engage positions that have historically been excluded from the Western stage and invite artists to initiate unique community gatherings, intimate one-to-one exchanges, parties, and dinners? What happens if we let go of the traditional stage entirely?
For the Stages Series, Performance Space New York invites artists to move away from the proscenium mode, and to look beyond the stage as a delineated elevation for a chosen public. We are calling for a rethinking of the dominant form and aesthetics which have informed the stage for centuries. We will create space to experience works that decenter critique in favor of ritual and community.
We are interested in performance as a “doing” towards the future, performance as a process of identifying more generous platforms, performance as a means of digging deep within ourselves and taking the temperature of the world today.
Finally, the Stages Series is an attempt to slow down, to take stock of where we are, and ultimately, where we hope to be as a community.
Let us be ready to let go.
From January through May you are invited to join artists and activists who locate power and creativity in refusal.
No to the expectation to perform.
No to being representable.
No to fixed identities.
No to being exhausted.
No to being normalized.
No to having to relate to the dominant culture.
No to the capitalist yes.
No to constantly having to say no.
Yes to being together.
Yes to caring for each other.
Yes to making something out of nothing.
Through December you are invited to join artists in exploring worlds that extend beyond human perspective. Rather than positioning human consciousness as the primary source and content of all art making, the contributions to the Posthuman Series often blur distinction between ‘the human’ and its other: namely nature, technology, animals, and gods.
In light of dramatic technological and scientific developments such as artificial intelligence and genetic engineering, the idea of an autonomous human being with agency over the world is rapidly becoming obsolete. Furthermore, as an invention of Renaissance humanism, the classification ‘human’ has implicitly always been reserved for white heterosexual men, and has therefore rationalized the exclusion and oppression of those who don’t fit into that narrow category.
Theater and performance are by definition anthropocentric. Shakespeare has been lauded as the inventor of the human, and we go to the theater to watch human bodies perform, reflecting our own humanity back to us from the stage. In that respect the Posthuman Series envisions an alternative space for a theater that reacts to the changes of its time by challenging the very idea it is based on—the human—and embraces the nonhuman, alien, and unexpected.
Avant-garde writer, punk poet, fashion icon, misfit. Few artists embody the radical and uncompromising attitude of the artistic era Performance Space New York emerged from more than Kathy Acker. As part of the East Village Series, we cast a focus on the life and work of the iconic writer who died twenty years ago, and whose deep and often-unacknowledged influence calls for reassessment.