Fall/Winter Season Announcement

NAVEL is excited to introduce its inaugural season of programming for the Fall/Winter 2018-2019.

A series of programs asks audiences to activate their memories, reassess social structures, and mobilize for the commons of our collective futurity. Through an array of events and ongoing programs, we will investigate how identities, histories, subjectivities, and technology can produce new grounds of knowledge and unbind latent potentialities amidst a precarious political life and an uncertain future. This season aims to provide fertile terrain to ponder anew—through the auspice of our collective consciousness and body—what is not yet here and what is to be done.

The season begins in early October with America’s Procession, a performance directed by artist Elliot Reed with an original score by Antonio Harper. The piece will lead the audience through an experimental aria that invokes the artist’s great-grandmother America Bell Miller, a prolific poet, musician, caretaker and mother, who died suddenly of a heart attack while singing in church. Through voice, movement, and a series of games, dancers and actors will move through the space and audience, gliding to their final resting place, or perhaps carving a passageway through the genealogy of a transformative, almost supernatural event.

The following weekend, we will be celebrating the work of poet and playwright Amiri Baraka, highlighting his approach to theatre and performance, which he saw as both essential elements of everyday life in healthy communities, and tools for building and sustaining revolutionary consciousness. Organized by Harmony Holiday, an archivist of Baraka’s oeuvre, Amiri Baraka’s Revolutionary Theater will begin with the screening of The New-Ark(1968), a film made in his hometown of Newark, NJ, after surviving the 1964 Rebellion. The screening will introduce and frame our production of his controversial play Dutchman, staged as a read-through with jazz and sound archival accompaniment.

Also in October is the beginning of our Movement Practice Residency: Site-Specific Strategies. Taught by Spenser Theberge, the program is a series of research and practice sessions for experienced movement artists and creators, focusing on the development of site-specific performance work. Participants meet monthly, learning strategies from guest artists Samantha Blake Goodman (MAPS), Chris Bordenave (No One Art House) and Sarah Ashkin (Ground Series), while working on their own creations individually or in groups. The works-in-progress will culminate in a public presentation this January. Apply by Oct 3 2018.

In early November, join Kandis Williams for an evening of file upload frenzy: bring digital files and printed matter as your contributions to the Alexandria PDF library, a repository for content, uploaded or gifted by NAVEL’s guests and visitors, that is relevant to the programming or their personal practices for open use by the public. As the archive grows, we will invite guest curators and librarians to organize the library in ways they are interested in.

Soon after, we will be hosting the first event of the series The New Internet Commons, which aims to understand the state of the world wide web today in contrast with the early unravelings of its utopian vision. We will be looking at how it impacts marginalized communities, and at ways to regain control over a networked world and digitally-mediated value systems. Queercore, Cyberpunk and Networked Communities will focus on the past, present and future of queer communities online. Amongst the keynote speakers is artist and technologist Tom Jennings, who in the early 90s created the FidoNet, a low cost DIY internet.

The same week, NAVEL will be hosting the collaborative duo AuMAR for a short residency, culminating in the video performance Nocturnal Cyclones, in which they will be channeling ancestral realities. In their work, AuMAR interrogates aspects of their material reality through the language of mythbuilding and reflect on their history as African descendants.

In late November, exactly a year after their acclaimed performance, we welcome back Jermaine Spivey & Spenser Theberge for the premiere of Position 3, a new work in collaboration with filmmaker John de Menil. In this piece, the duo, accompanied by a third performer, the camera, complexifies the relationship between identity and perception by playing with the way their flesh, their projected selves and the audience’s impressions co-exist in space and time.

We will be ending the year with Year End Dish, a brunch organized by Hard to Read’s Fiona Duncan and scholar Sara Constantino on the role of gossip. Over pancakes, coffee and mimosas, Fiona, Sara and their guests will read through a selection of texts and lead a discussion on the ambivalent position of gossip as a form of communication throughout contemporary history, its recent revival as an area of study in anthropology, as well as how it relates to art practices and our everyday lives.

As part of The New Internet Commons series, the new year will kick-off with lectures and a panel discussion organized by Cassandra Press, READER on Black Twitter: effects of web 2.0 on blackness, around the under-analyzed intersection of blackness, online community and identity, and the inherent racism of app culture. Amongst the presenters are American Artist, Mandy Harris Williams, Devin Kenny, and Calvin Warren.

This season will close with Project Scream, a listening party and evening of performances curated by Tom Leeser, Fy and Carmina Escobar, for which artists have been invited to contemplate the meaning of the word scream. Inspired by the Buddhist deity, Hayagriva, who is depicted in Tibetan thangka painting as using sound in a ferocious form to achieve an enlightened state, the project stems from the desire to produce a response to our precarious times by transforming the scream, or perhaps despair, into a form of wisdom and compassion.

We hope this season of programming is an opportunity to examine the conditions of knowledge, material, and cultural production, as they exist yet could manifest—and that it will afford space to question, rethink and care for in community.

The NAVEL programming committee for Fall/Winter 2018/19 is Sara Constantino, Fiona Duncan, Tom Leeser, Carlye Packer, Spenser Theberge, Sasha Tillmann, Jonas Wendelin, and Kandis Williams.