To Moriah Evans choreography is a social process. Her work draws on somatic practices and feminist critiques of performance and visual culture to expand dance beyond the visible. In her latest work, Evans examines how historical and ongoing forms of socio-political transformation remain as information within the body. Remains Persist works from the remainders—of ancestral histories, lived experiences of race, societal catastrophes, socio-political hierarchies, displacements, imaginations, fantasies, pleasures and more—that live differently in each of our bodies. If this information is invisible, can it be consciously activated and witnessed through movement, utterances, and language? Evans charges the theater with its potential to reconfigure power structures and systemic inequities. In the artist’s own words, “A lot of my work has been about dance and referencing discourses within dance, but this piece uses dance to contend with discourse in the world. And with that, I’m claiming dance, or the body, as a site where people can heal.”
With his installation, Blood Type, artist Dozie Kanu inaugurates Performance Space’s Open Room, a publicly accessible space for community. The room is softened and soaked in dark tones. A work table snakes down the wall, onto the floor, across the room, back onto the floor, across the room. An array of stools are lined up, free to be taken and used.
In his sculptural work Kanu often teases and disrupts functionality by juxtaposing the utterly familiar and domestic with jarring culturally evocative materials. In the case of Blood Type the banal discomfort of a present day coworking space is undercut with anachronistic shapes from Portugal, Nigeria, and America that trace a darker entangled past. The artist—born in Houston, TX to Nigerian immigrant parents, and currently residing in a warehouse he converted in rural Portugal—offers up history and autobiography as a gathering space: to be filled with performances, visitors, and community members each bringing multitudes of interpretation to its charged surfaces.
On October 19 Kanu will present a performance program in his installation as part of Performance Space’s Octopus series.
Wet ash falls from the ceiling. It slowly empties into an algae filled stream surrounded by moss covered boulders and gravel. Responding to last year’s brutal mood of apocalypse and rapture, Precious Okoyomon’s installation creates an ecosystem that seeks to hold grief. Visitors are invited to sit or stand or lay down in the uncomfortable space of mourning that we so often avoid.
An important material here is the ash from the incinerated kudzu, grown for Okomoyon’s most recent exhibition, Earthseed, at the MMK in Frankfurt. The vine, originally from Japan, was used to prevent soil erosion resulting from the cultivation of cotton during slavery; a bandage intended to cover up the environmental tolls of slavery, it instead proliferated, and became known as “the vine that ate the south.”
With FRAGMENTED BODY PERCEPTIONS AS HIGHER VIBRATION FREQUENCIES TO GOD Okoyomon creates a new world in the Keith Haring Theatre, a wake for death allowing for catharsis, celebration, and closing: “2020 was the reckoning of death, and we’re still living in it. We have to face it and live in it and allow it to change us and be changed by it.”
Medium: moss, gravel, soil, ladybugs,crickets, mud, anoles, kudzu ash, wildflowers ❤️
Today i wake up still the assemblage associated distortions bewilder me
IN THIS WORLD I AM A SHAPESHIFTER
FRAGMENTED BODY PERCEPTIONS AS HIGHER VIBRATION FREQUENCIES TO GOD
In the supernatural sky
I was restful as I had reached my place of salvation
The surface as a material structure neither heaven nor solace
Only the wind
Only quenched light
Lulled into covering until everything was the same
soul object well formed
the irreducible always already truth
Hidden in the trees
It is nothing i am here i am still here
desire dissolves away
glug glguhhh guhhhh i drink gulps of light
Putting myself back together
The rain pushes all the glyphosate
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons down into the ground
industrial operation rehearses suffering its moves the world with terrible momentum shift me into dimensional alienation
CONSTRUCT AN OBSTRUCTION ALREADY WEAPONIZED WITHIN
THE SURFACE IS THE LOSS OF WHAT IS ALREADY MISSING WITHIN
I look up at the sky bathed in pink
longing for a liberated psyche I could rinse of any meaning into light no former shape
Like the word, the world is dying in flames
Like rapacious gloom in the empires burning afterlife
Like looking out the window a hollow flower
Like falling into the wind
Like falling into the heavy air
Like falling to limitless love
Made into air returning into the membrane of the real high shit
Like we gotta make a new world
Like fade up reform resound
Open association vacate
Like the surprising sun is blossoming somewhere and here i am blown away into the paradox of smiling
Precious Okoyomon, FRAGMENTED BODY PERCEPTIONS AS HIGHER VIBRATION FREQUENCIES TO GOD is made possible in part by grant from the National Performance Network.
Sean-Kierre Lyons, Creative Consultant
Dion McKenzie (TYGAPAW), Sound Designer
Michael Hernandez, Sound Engineer
Jørgen Skjaervold, Lighting/Effects Engineer
Michael DeCaul, Alexander Setzko, Gabriel García, and Robin Ediger-Seto, Scenic Carpenters
Jørgen Skjaervold and Michael Hernández, Technical Sculptors
Scenic Rock Towers by Quinn Stone, StoneDog Studios
Clay, Mulch, Delaware River Rock provided by Landscape Materials Inc.
Installation Photography by Da Ping Luo
As a week-long performance-installation, Tolentino’s new durational work, Slipping Into Darkness, plays out in both the Day and the Night. In the daylight of the winter sun, movers breathe, labor, and shift while sheathed under the cover of a thick “horizon” made from leather, scented oils, reflective surfaces, and dense sound. In the evening, participants join in an intimate one-to-one exchange immersed in a dark pool of mineral water. Working with and below these evocative opaque surfaces, Tolentino reaches for the sensual, the subjective excess of each encounter. Loss tenders refuge. Space and time open to the accounts of Others—the imprecisely labeled, unseen, or overlooked—and the inspiring visionaries who thrive as not-of-this-world future-makers. Tolentino tunes us into spaces that generously blur yet ignite our shadowy interiors and fugitive poetics with time’s future-past to float with that which falls in and out of grasp.
This project will be accompanied by .bury.me.fiercely.—a 35-minute special late night performance on Dec 12th at 10pm by Julie Tolentino and Stosh Fila.
With her work farsa (engl. farce), the Brazilian artist Renata Lucas creates “a theatre that performs itself” generating a montage of space and perception that disarms dynamics of totality. A large hanging curtain that spans across Performance Space’s main theatre—within which two smaller curtains are embedded—rotates and opens up passageways when activated by the viewer. As bodies move through the work, their limbs appear as disembodied pieces cutting through perceived truths and assumptions, leaving us in a state of farcical reality where nothing is static or stable. With farsa, Lucas alludes to the current political situation in Brazil, where totalitarian currents attempt to reshape rights and liberties and disembody established values and moral systems.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.