We will be joined by the Center for Experimental Ethnography's Fall Fellows, Cristiana Giordano, Greg Pierotti and Ricardo Bracho. They will discuss their fall classes as well as tell us about the projects they are working on. We look forward to seeing you! Register HERE!
A CONTINUING CONVERSATION ABOUT MOVE AND THE PENN MUSEUM
The recent revelations concerning the Penn Museum and human remains have raised a number of questions about the histories of anthropology and ethnographic museums, and about the practices of collecting, exhibiting, and researching:
Our guests Rachel Watkins (American University), Aja Lans (Syracuse University), and Delande Justinvil (American University) will help us think through these questions, and more…
PRE-READINGS / VIEWINGS
Blakey, M. L. (2020). “Archaeology under the blinding light of race.” Current Anthropology, 61(S22), S183-S197.
Justinvil, D. & Colwell, C. 2021. “US museums hold the remains of thousands of Black people. What can be done about it?” Available at:
Lans, Aja. 2020. “Decolonize This Collection: Integrating Black Feminism and Art to Re-Examine Human Skeletal Remains in Museums.” Feminist Anthropology DOI: 10.1002/fea2.12027
Watkins, Rachel. 2020. “An Alter(ed)native Perspective on Historical Bioarchaeology.” Historical Archaeology 53(4).
Reclaiming the Ancestors: Indigenous and Black Perspectives on Repatriation, Human Rights, and Justice, September 2020.
The event featured Reggie Wilson in conversation with CEE Director Deborah Thomas, Jasmine Johnson, John L. Jackson Jr. and Jawole Zollar
ABOUT THIS EVENT
On May 1, we were honored to host a conversation featuring Reggie Wilson in dialogue with Jasmine Johnson, John Jackson, and Jawole Zollar regarding the film, “GROUNDS THAT SHOUT!...and others merely shaking.” This film emerged from Reggie’s work in 2018-2019, sponsored by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage and organized through Philadelphia Contemporary, the Danspace Project, and Partners for Sacred Places. For this project, Reggie curated dance with local choreographers and dance groups at historical churches in Philadelphia. “Grounds that Shout!” was meant to explore the relationships between religion, movement, race, place, and the body, and to foreground how the histories of contemporary performance are intertwined with the legacies of African-American religious and religiously-affiliated spaces. Graduate students in CAMRA documented the project, With generous support from the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation, graduate students in CAMRA, and the resulting film, which was circulated ahead of time, provided the basis for our conversation. The film bears witness to Reggie’s process, documenting the development of movement, the relationships between performers and space, and the city and its denizens. The conversation was wide-ranging, addressing the overlapping circles of performance, method, and community-building, and the simultaneity of past and present. Listening to the distinct sounds of places and bodies in the film became an important way of becoming literate, of being able to hear the ground shout. And rapport with death, in this work, became a generative possibility where choreography was a practice of life.
The film was Directed and Produced by Gordon Divine "Dee" Asaah.
Executive Producer: Center for Experimental Ethnography in collaboration with CAMRA (Collective for Advancing Multimodal Research Arts)
Watch the dicussion HERE
A program curated and organized by Jenny Chio, Spring 2021 Visiting Fellow at the Center for Experimental Ethnography (University of Pennsylvania) and Associate Professor of East Asian Languages & Cultures and Anthropology at the University of Southern California.
With eleven films, three dialogues, two essays, and one live Zoom conversation, this film series illustrated the productive “unruliness” (to quote U Penn Professor Chenshu Zhou) of ethnography and film in exploring the contours of Indigenous identities and politics. Indigeneity, as the films and conversations revealed, encompasses stories of personal loss and memories of suffering, reflections on current social transformations and cultural subjectivities, and narratives of state violence and power in marginalized communities and upon individuals. Filmmaking has become a means to confront the lived realities of cultural and ethnic differences, claims to political sovereignty, and shared social histories that together constitute some of the possibilities of Indigenous experiences in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. [While the films are no longer available, the event website with film and filmmaker descriptions, dialogues, and essays is online: www.filmandethnography.org.]
This film and conversation series explores the category and concept of “Indigeneity” in the contemporary People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
In each political space, “Indigenous” has come to represent and symbolize the different stakes of identity, culture, and heritage in the modern world, while grappling with ongoing political tensions around national sovereignty, China’s global influence, and social solidarity. Whereas “Indigenous” in Hong Kong now refers to both a nativist political movement and marginalized communities that settled in Hong Kong prior to British colonial rule, in Taiwan Indigenous refers to Austronesian Aboriginal communities who align themselves with contemporary global Indigenous activists. In China, the term Indigenous itself is highly contested, as the Chinese state increasingly resists and represses claims to cultural self-determination amongst its ethnic minority populations. Thus, the films and speakers in this event all approach Indigeneity from their own personal backgrounds and experiences as citizens, artists, and scholars from and working in China, Hong Kong, and/or Taiwan.
The Contest over "Indigeneity": Film and Ethnography in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan is an online exhibit includeing an event website, eleven films, three prerecorded discussions, and biographies of event guests, as well as a virtual screening week (Friday April 23- Friday April 30) and a live zoom discussion (Thursday April 29 at 7PM EDT).
Event hosted by the Center for Experimental Ethnography, and co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Contemporary China at Penn, and Penn Global
film screening week | Friday April 23 -April 30, 2021
During this weeklong film screening, we invited participants to watch films by artists working on Indigeneity in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, curated by Jenny Chio. Information on these artists can be found here.
We also invited attendees to listen to the pre-recorded conversations between the filmmakers, curator Jenny Chio, and invited scholars.
LIVE CONVERSATION | Thursday april 29 at 7PM
The live discussion on Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 7 pm EST/EDT took place with CEE Faculty Fellow Dr. Jenny Chio, Cui Yi (filmmaker and conservation ecologist), Dr. Aynur Kadi (assistant professor of Digital Media Arts at the University of Waterloo), Dr. Chenshu Zhou (Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies in the Department of History of Art at UPENN), Chan Ho-Lun Fredie (filmmaker and producer), Li Xin (a visual anthropologist and filmmaker), Dr. Miguel Angel Hidalgo Martinez (Assistant Professor of China Studies at Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University)
As many of you know, it was revealed last week that the remains of two of the children killed when the City of Philadelphia dropped two bombs on the MOVE compound in 1985 – Tree and Delisha Africa – had been held in the Penn Museum and used for research and teaching. Mike Africa, Jr., a MOVE family member, has circulated a number of demands including the return of the remains to the MOVE family, an apology and appropriate restitution, and the creation of a transparent, public investigation led by a MOVE-approved investigator into how these remains ended up in the Museum’s possession over the past 35 years. The Museum and the University have both issued statements.
Still, the questions remain:
The Center for Experimental Ethnography will facilitate a dialogue about these questions with Krystal Strong (GSE, Black Lives Matter Philly), who has been working closely with the Africa family and the MOVE community to develop a counter-archive.
Pablo D. Herrera Veitia is currently a PhD Candidate in Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews, UK. Arguably Cuba’s most influential beat-maker and a pioneer of the Afro-Cuban and Cuban Hiphop sounds, his research follows the question; What is it like to be Afro-Cuban in Havana today? It explores how the presence of amplified urban Afro-Cuban music in public and domestic settings may be construed as a form of citizenship.
Herrera Veitia was the recipient of a 2018-2019 Nasir Jones Fellowship at the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute (HARI), Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University. Hearing Afro-Cuban Rap, the archival project he began in collaboration with the HARI and Loeb Music Library treats golden-era Afro-Cuban rap songs, in particular, as the meaningful ethnographies that best articulate the counter-narratives that drove the racial debate into Cuba's public sphere between 1995 and 2004.
To his credit as a cultural producer goes the coordination of the Black August Collective showcases in Havana. A series of US-Cuba people-to-people music events, Black August, brought to Havana's International Rap Festival, presentations by Mos Def and Talib Kweli’s Black Star, Hi-Tek, Dead Prez, Common, Tony Touch, and Project Blowed between 1998 and 2002. He was also instrumental in The Roots concert in Havana, amongst other projects.
MARCH 18th at NOON
Listen to the presentation and lively discussion now!
Alissa Jordan is a multimodal cultural anthropologist who received her Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Florida. Her research focuses on questions of bodily being, bodily security, and creativity across field sites in rural Haiti, urban Ghana, and in social spaces in virtual and augmented reality. She investigates these questions using methods of experimental writing, collaborative nonlinear filmmaking, sensory mapping, photography, museum exhibition, and digital experimentations. She is currently researching women's experiences of birthing, and care as resistance, in the context of hospitals that imprison mothers, infants, and other patients for debt.
She produced the audio documentary "Birthing and Resistance" on hospital detention in Haiti, with the first episode co-hosted with photo-journalist and birth activist China Tolliver, and she is the host of "Akouchman ak Rezistans", a Haitian Creole audio documentary on hospital detention.
Carmelle Moise is a nurse midwife and a member of the board at MamaBaby Haiti MamaBaby Haiti is a non-profit which runs two birth centers, health clinics, and a midwifery school in Haiti. It provides a safe place for Haitian women to receive compassionate and respectful care at the hands of skilled midwives. No one is turned away.
Michel Pierre Saint Phard is an English Teacher from Arcahaie, Haiti studying to be a Medical Assistant in Westbury, New York. In his life, Saint Phard has farmed a plantain garden, ran into a deadly fire to save the lives of fellow workers, worked in numerous NGOs, and (like many Haitians) helped pull people from the wreckage of the 2010 earthquake when foreign workers and US military were boarded up in an airport fortress downtown.
In 2014, he was an invited speaker at the University of Florida for his talk "Why YOU Need US," a conversation on America and Aid Projects in Haiti. He has worked on research projects related to anthropology and medicine with Alissa Jordan since 2012.
MARCH 15th AT 6PM EST
15 MARZO @ 17:30 (GMT-5)
Documenting Discontent is a virtual audio event that will take place on March 15th at 5:30 PM eastern. This one-hour virtual event will bring together two Mexico-based sound artists/researchers, Karina Franco Villaseñor (nê.i) and Vladimir Flores García (Vlax) to discuss their creative practices in sound. Funded by the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation and with support from the Center for Experimental Ethnography, this event is interested in the ways sound is used to document microhistories and communicate social imaginaries derived from protest and conflict, the deconstruction of acoustic pleasure, and the power of sound to reinforce relationships and political dynamics. Drawing on Franco Villaseñor and Flores García's experiences as researchers, teachers, and creators, the conversation will consider the challenges and potentials of sonic archiving and question the construction of official narratives. The event will be conducted in Spanish with simultaneous translation into English and will be open to the public. Select works by the two artists will be made available for listening online in the days prior to the event and will be available following the one-hour discussion.
Documentando el descontento es una conferencia virtual a realizarse el 15 de marzo a las 17:30 (GMT-5) . Este evento de una hora de duración es un conversatorio entre los artistas Karina Franco Villaseñor (nê.i) y Vladimir Flores García (Vlax) quienes compartirán reflexiones sobre sus investigaciones y trabajo creativo en torno al sonido. Con financiamiento del “Sachs Program for Arts Innovation” y apoyo del Centro para la Etnografía Experimental de la Universidad de Pensylvania, este evento busca reflexionar sobre las maneras en que el sonido se utiliza para documentar microhistorias y comunicar imaginarios sociales derivados de la inconformidad y el conflicto social, la deconstrucción del placer acústico y el poder del sonido para reforzar las interacciones humanas y las dinámicas políticas. Considerando la experiencia de Franco Villaseñor y Flores García como investigadores, docentes y creadores, este conversatorio examina los retos y posibilidades de los archivos sonoros al tiempo que reflexiona sobre la construcción de narrativas oficiales. Este evento es gratuito y tendrá traducción simultánea de español a inglés. Durante el evento, se considerará algunas obras sonoras de los dos artistas en más detalle y estarán disponibles para su escucha en los días antes del evento e inmediatamente después.
DOCUMENTING DISCONTENT: SOUNDINGS
In “Documenting Discontent: Soundings,” Karina Franco Villaseñor (nêi) and Vladimir Flores García (Vlax) mix and remix new sounds with existing audio projects, playing with their own works and with each other’s. This selection of remixed audio, accompanied by text and images, was curated by nêi and Vlax for the March 2021 event, Documenting Discontent/Documentando el Descontento.
En “Documenting Discontent: Soundings,” Karina Franco Villaseñor (nêi) y Vladimir Flores García (Vlax) mezclan y remezclan nuevos sonidos con proyectos previos, jugando con sus propios sonidos y con los sonidos del otro. Esta selección de audio, con textos e imágenes, fue curada por nêi y Vlax para el evento Documenting Discontent/Documentando el Descontento (Marzo de 2021).
Meet the Artists/Conocer a los artistas
Vladimir Flores García, Vlax
Vladimir Flores García is a multimedia artisan and a graduate of Mexico’s National Autonomous University’s Faculty of Arts and Design. Since 2000, his work has incorporated community journalism and education. He has worked as a news correspondent for independent and public outlets in Mexico (Radio UNAM), the United States (Radio Bilingüe, KPFT, FSRN), and Europe (Radio Nederland, RFI). Vlax is a member of the Dyne.org Foundation, where he investigates decolonial technology using open software tools. He lives in Oaxaca and enjoys cooking vegetarian food. https://vlax.dyne.org/
Vladimir Flores García (México, 1974) es artesano multimedia egresado de la Facultad de Artes y Diseño de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Desde el año 2000 su trabajo cultural incorpora el periodismo comunitario y la educación. Ha trabajado como corresponsal de noticias en medios independientes y públicos de México (Radio UNAM), Estados Unidos (Radio Bilingüe, KPFT, FSRN) y Europa (Radio Nederland, RFI). Es integrante de la Dyne.org Foundation con la que investiga la tecnología decolonial utilizando herramientas de software libre. Reside en Oaxaca y cocina vegetariano. https://vlax.dyne.org
Karina Franco Villaseñor, nê.i
Karina F. Villaseñor (Mexico, 1985), works in audio production and post-production on a wide range of multimedia projects. She received her Masters degree in Music Technology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and her bachelor’s degree in Audiovisual Sciences from the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana. Her work engages the intersection of sound, body, and perceptive ecology. Her research has been published in academic volumes in Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, Spain, and Turkey. She has collaborated on projects with national and international producers, with an emphasis on documentary projects and sound design for immersive experiences. Since 2009, she has crafted training curricula for educational centers and universities in Mexico City and surrounding areas.
Karina F. Villaseñor, mexicana, 1985, se dedica a la producción y post de audio en colaboración con diversos proyectos multimedia. Es Maestra en Tecnología musical por la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México y Lic. en C. Audiovisual por la UCSJ. Su trabajo se motiva del cruce entre sonido, cuerpo y ecología perceptiva. Como investigadora ha sido publicada en algunas compilaciones académicas en México, Chile, Uruguay, España y Turquía. Como creadora ha cooperado activamente con productoras nacionales e internacionales, con énfasis en registro documental y diseño sonoro para sistemas inmersivos. Desde el 2009 teje con procesos formativos para centros educativos y universitarios en Ciudad de México y alrededores. https://soundcloud.com/nei-villasenor
6 PM MARCH 8th
On International Women's Day 2021, the Center for Experimental Ethnography is pleased to present Haitian filmmaker Etant Dupain's feature "Madan Sara: Pouvwa Fanm Aysiyen" (Madan Sara: The Power of Haitian Women) followed by a discussion between Etant Dupain (Director, Madan Sara), Dr. Régine Michelle Jean-Charles (Associate Professor of French and the Graduate Program Director at Boston College), and Lunise Cerin (Editor, Madan Sara). The CEE screening of Madan Sara follows a four-day series of free, public screenings of the film throughout Haiti, supported by matenmidiswa pwodiksyon
"The women known as Madan Sara are on the forefront of the battle for a more robust and inclusive economy in Haiti. They work tirelessly to buy, distribute, and sell food and other essentials in markets through the country. Despite the obstacles faced by the women working in a sector that lacks investment, infrastructure and state assistance, the Madan Sara continue to be one of the most critical parts of the Haitian economy and of who we are as a country. The Madan Sara documentary tells the stories of these indefatigable women who work at the margins to make Haiti’s economy run. Despite facing intense hardship and social stigma, the hard work of the Madan Sara puts their children through school, houses their families, and helps to ensure a better life for generations to come. This film amplifies the calls of the Madan Sara as they speak directly to society to share their dreams for a more just Haiti."
WATCH THE DISCUSSION
Meet The Discussants
Director, Madan Sara
Dr. Régine Michelle Jean-Charles
Associate Professor of French and African and African Diaspora Studies, Boston College
Her first book, Conflict Bodies: The Politics of Rape Representation in the Francophone Imaginary (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2014) examines theoretical, visual, and literary texts in order to challenge the dominant views of sexual violence. She has authored over 30 publications that have appeared in books, edited volumes, and peer-reviewed journals. Her second academic book Looking for Other Worlds: Black Feminism, Literary Ethics, and Haitian Fiction is currently under contract with University of Virginia Press. Her book A Trumpet of Conscience for the 21st Century: King’s Call to Justice is forthcoming with Orbis Press in 2021.
Much of Dr. Jean-Charles’s activist work has been with A Long Walk Home, where she began as founding board member in 2003. A Long Walk Home, Inc., is a non-profit organization that uses art to educate, inspire, and mobilize young people to end violence against girls and women. Her involvement in ALWH ranged from performing in Story of a Rape Survivor, a multi-media arts performance about black women and sexual assault, conducting workshops for the Girl/Friends Leadership Institute in Chicago, to giving lectures at universities across the country on topics such as study abroad and sexual assault. Her work with the Boston area includes initiatives with Shatter the Silence a faith-based initiative to address sexual violence and AFAB the Haitian Women’s Association of Boston.
Dr. Jean-Charles is also a regular contributor to media outlets like The Boston Globe, WGBH, America Magazine, and Cognoscenti, where she has weighed in on topics including #metoo and issues affecting the Haitian diaspora.
Editor, Madan Sara
The Madan Sara project is raising funds to support their efforts to bring the film to communities in Haiti through free, public screenings. We invite you to make a contribution of any size to support this mission. To learn more about the film and join in the conversation online, visit MadanSaraFilm.com, use the hashtag #MadanSara across social media, and follow @madansarayiti on Twitter and @MadanSaraFilm on Instagram.
Building on our work to create Black spaces for creation, exploration, and community, this will be a free and virtual convening that will feature our 2020 artists-in-residence and several other Black radical performance makers and scholars from around Philadelphia and beyond.
Featuring keynotes from Ebony Noelle Golden and Germaine Ingram, original work by Viktor L. Ewing-Givens, workshops and an artist talk from Misty Sol (Philadelphia, PA), Danielle Deadwyler (Atlanta, GA), Ada Pinkston (Baltimore, MD), and Crystal Z Campbell (Tulsa, OK), a BSR commissioned Philly Black Caribbean Zine Workshop and Share Out curated by Shanel Edwards (featuring work by - Tahnee Jackson, Charlyn Griffith-Oro, Angela Salmon and Nikolai McKenzie Ben Rema) and a Black Diaspora Artist Salon hosted by Jumatatu Poe, this digital convening is celebrating and learning from the centuries-long Black freedom dialectic between the Caribbean and Philadelphia, as we launch new spaces in our residency program for artists in the Caribbean.
This convening is presented in partnership with the Center for Experimental Ethnography (CEE) at Penn and Howlround.
Project support provided by Added Velocity which is administered by Temple Contemporary at Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University and funded by the William Penn Foundation.
Ebony Noelle Golden | Opening Keynote and Welcome Event
4:30 PM EST
Opening offerings by Black Spatial Relics Director, Arielle Julia Brown, Viktor L Ewing-Givens, Center for Experimental Ethnography Director, Dr. Deborah Thomas, and a featured keynote from Ebony Noelle Golden!
Artist Talk - Moderated by Arielle Julia Brown
6:30 PM EST
Join our 2020 Artists-in-Residence, Misty Sol (Philadelphia, PA), Danielle Deadwyler (Atlanta, GA), Ada Pinkston (Baltimore, MD), and Crystal Z Campbell (Tulsa, OK) for a conversation about the intersections of their work, moderated by Black Spatial Relics Director, Arielle Julia Brown.
Workshop With Danielle Deadwyler
11:00 AM EST
In this workshop experience, we will engage a documentary offering, then use its visual language to locate and develop communal and personal gestures of labor, ritual, and redaction.
Workshop With Ada Pinkston
3:00 PM EST
Join this workshop for a screening of the performance, "and there were other stories...." (a work in progress in response to the Hampton National Historic site) and conversation/listening/talkback.
Caribbean Zine Workshop Share Out
Hosted and Curated by Shanel Edwards
6:00 PM EST
This offering is a zine workshop centering Black Caribbean folks rooted in Philadelphia, their stories, their songs, their spirits. Featuring work by Tahnee Jackson, Charlyn Griffith-Oro, Angela Salmon and Nikolai McKenzie Ben Rema.
Workshop With Misty Sol
11:00 AM EST
In this workshop, we will explore the ways afro-futurist consciousness was preserved and incubated in Black women's' kitchens, gardens, and private spaces. Through breathing, movement, memory, and baking, we investigate how to incorporate the Black ways of knowing, into our creative and educational practices.
Workshop With Crystal Z Campbell
3:00 PM EST
An interactive sound-centered workshop will be led by artist Crystal Z Campbell and a sonic specialist. Working with a range of archival and contemporary prompts and engaging the performative possibilities of sound within and of the body, we'll develop a series of recordings. The collaborative recordings generated by the workshop will be used for the experiment feature film SLICK's soundtrack.
Black Diaspora Artist Salon
Curated and Hosted by Jumatatu Poe
6:00 PM EST
Join our Black Diaspora Artist Salon featuring critical conversations and work sharing by artists from around the Black Diaspora.
Register hereFebruary 27
Germaine Ingram | Keynote and Closing Event
12:00 PM EST
Join Black Spatial Relics for closing remarks, engage in a closing offering by Viktor L Ewing-Givens, and a closing keynote by Germaine Ingram.
Project support provided by Added Velocity which is administered by Temple Contemporary at Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University and funded by the William Penn Foundation.
BLACK SPATIAL RELICS is a national residency program, founded and directed by Arielle Julia Brown. The Black Spatial Relics Residency is made possible with support from the JKW Foundation, Velocity Fund, W. Trust, Black Seed, Leeway Foundation, Monument Lab, and independent donors. Black Spatial Relics is a fiscally sponsored project of both Fractured Atlas and Notch Theatre Company. For more information about the 2020 artists in residence, their work, past artists in residence, and the 2021 convening, visit www.blackspatialrelics.org.
Arielle Julia Brown | Founder + Director
Joseph Tolbert Jr. | Convening Producer
Malkia Okech | Associate Producer
Cesali Morales | Graphic Designer
REGISTER HERE: The Forum will be a free and online program.
Participatory Dance & Choreography Workshop on "Choice"
March 3, 2021 (Wednesday)
1:00 pm—2:00 pm
ONLINE EVENT- REGISTER HERE
Dawn Marie Bazemore
Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance,
Philadelphia's Premier Modern Dance Company
Join us for a live virtual interactive workshop that explores the Wolf Humanities Center's annual topic of "Choice" through the embodied practice of dance and art-making. Led by Dawn Marie Bazemore and lead dancers from Philadanco, this workshop welcomes participation from all backgrounds and skill levels.
Support for this workshop and Dancers Choices, Choreographers Choices provided by The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation.
Dawn Marie Bazemore is a Philadelphia-based dance artist and educator. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Rowan University and the Artistic Director of her own dance collective DMB|#dbdanceproject. Dawn Marie is a former member of Philadanco and has also performed featured roles in Broadway and regional musical theatre productions. Her performance of Strange Fruit, choreographed by the late Dr. Pearl Primus, is currently on display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Dancers' Choice Choreographers' Choices
March 3, 2021 (Wednesday)
ONLINE EVENT - REGISTER HERE
Philadelphia's Premier Modern Dance Company
Dawn Marie Bazemore
Dance Artist; Assistant Professor of Theatre and Dance, Rowan University
Jasmine E. Johnson
Assistant Professor of Africana Studies,
University of Pennsylvania
Deborah A. Thomas
Professor of Anthropology and Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania
Doctoral Candidate, Penn English
Lead dancers from Philadelphia’s premier modern dance company perform a piece that pays homage to the Yoruba deity Oshun, the protector, savior, and nurturer of humanity. Following this special performance, Dixon Li will moderate a conversation among the dancers and dance scholars Jasmine Johnson, Deborah Thomas, and Dawn Marie Bazemore, that touches upon the choice to dance, choreography and choice, and performance and choice.
Support for Dancers' Choices, Choreographers' Choices provided by The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation. Cosponsored by the Department of Africana Studies and the Center for Africana Studies.
FEB 18th @ NOON
Ricardo A. Bracho is currently Sachs Artist-in-Residence in the Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies program here at Penn, where he teaches creative and critical writing. His plays have been staged read, workshopped, and premiered in theaters and at universities nationwide. He has a committed focus on working with feminist, queer, Latiina/o, community-based, and experimental theaters including Mabou Mines, INTAR, and Company of Angels. His plays have also been staged read and workshopped at Vassar, Stanford, DePaul University, and the University of California campuses at Riverside, Berkeley, Irvine, Santa Cruz, and Santa Barbara. His past academic appointments include Artist/Scholar-in-Residence at the Center for Chicano Studies at UC Santa Barbara and the Multicultural Faculty position at The Theatre School at DePaul University. His plays include The Sweetest Hangover, Sissy, Mexican Psychotic, and Puto. He has worked in independent film and video as an art director, in casting, and as a script, grant, and editorial consultant, primarily with queer, black, and brown makers, including Augie Robles, Cauleen Smith, and Ela Troyano.
As a producer and dramaturge, he has helped stage anti-gentrification street theater in Boyle Heights and the works of Lisa Thompson, Brian Bauman, and Sigrid Gilmer. He began this theater career some thirty years ago as Assistant Director to Cherrie Moraga’s DramaDIVAS, writing for a performance workshop for queer and trans youth of color. He was a co-founder of Proyecto ContraSIDA Por VIDA, a San Francisco based Latina/o LGBT HIV service agency. He has also worked on curriculums, media campaigns, research and funding for FIERCE!, AIDS Project Los Angeles, and Center for AIDS Prevention Studies. He was a researcher on The H.I.P. H.O.P. Project (Health in Prison, Health Outta Prison) for young men in San Quentin Prison. He was interviewed on The Blunt Project in New York. He is developing two chapbooks of poetry, The Salt of Him and Under Quarantine.
For our first Third Thursday of Spring Semester 2021, CEE opened with introductions to both Reggie Wilson and Jenny Chio, the Spring Semester Faculty Fellows with CEE. Jenny offered preliminary reflections on what it has been like to return to teaching remotely, and the way that priorities in teaching have shifted during COVID-19 and quarantine.
Reggie Wilson opened with comments about what being a "lay anthropologist" means to him in his artistic practices, connecting his anthropological approach to reading Zora Neale Hurston. While reading Hurston as a student, Reggie began asking questions about what it means to examine cultures and communities that one is also a part of. He reflected on his virtual travel back and forth between home sites, like Milwaukee, and the place of his work in New York, given the exigencies of COVID. He completed his comments with a reflection on the ways that places where you have been shape who you are and what you are.
Deb followed Reggie's comments with a provocation: what is the relation between people and place, and what holds that kind of relationship together? Jenny responded by turning to locality as an important source of relation, in contrast to nation or country. She spoke of the need for space to define such relationships ina way that is both critical and empathetic, critical and supportive.
Reggie responded by pointing to the fact that personhood and place are concepts that are both "infinite".. They come to play out in "who we are" and "what we are trained to do". The influence of locality, of place, is not small in who we are. Finally, he pointed out that if we can consider people to be the body, or the bodies that we are and we inhabit, then place, or specifically choreographic space, is that "where the body does its things". Also, Reggie drew attention to the fact that place is not merely a physical site outside the body, but can be sites within the body---place can be within one's head, or a specific spot on a wrist.
Jenny then turned to the question of portraiture asking, "what is the place that gets created in the contact between person and place?" and "how do people and objects come to make a place within the realm of portraiture?"
In the question and answer session, Ore asked more about Reggie's approach to negotiating field research and positionality. How can field workers navigate the pressures to make non-linear explorations more logical and linear for the sake of grant writing, funding, and arts support? Reggie shared more of his process in response, explaining how he begins with a research period, intensive site visits and site "feels", and then gathering in the space with his company in order to begin exploring movement.
Jenny Chio reflected on what it has been like to see differences develop in her relationships between towns and between times. She spoke of how she was introduced to a particular site for her PhD, only to watch her relationship "unravel" and change over the years as priorities shifted, and as the same level of "in-touchness" with the field was lost. As a result of this, she has recently been thinking about the way that we can preserve and nurture relationships across difference and distance, and the kind of work that this takes as the length of time spent in research changes so dramatically over the course of one's career.
Jasmine Blanks-Jones posed a question about personhood to the speakers, asking for comments about how and where personhood is located at a collective level---if it doesn't just reside in a body but also between bodies, what does this mean? And finally, at the end of the meetup, Va Bene Elikem Fiatsi posed a question to Reggie about what mutations and relationships are implied by the term "Africans in the Americas". Reggie responded by turning attention tot the importance of local specifities and places in the lives of artists and people, and the critical process of "local" sites in shaping who people are.
Reggie Wilson is Executive and Artistic Director, Choreographer and Performer of Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group. His work draws from the cultures of Africans in the Americas and is combined with post-modern elements and his own personal movement style to create what he sometimes refers to as "post-African/Neo-HooDoo Modern dances." He has lectured, taught and conducted workshops and community projects, and had his work presented nationally and internationally. Wilson is a recipient of the Minnesota Dance Alliance's McKnight National Fellowship (2000-2001), is a 2002 BESSIE recipient, and is a 2002 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. Wilson has been an artist advisor for the National Dance Project, a Board Member of Dance Theater Workshop, and in recognition of his creative contributions to the field, was named a 2009 United States Artists Prudential Fellow, as well as being a recipient of the 2009 Herb Alpert Award in Dance. In 2012 he was named a Wesleyan University’s Creative Campus Fellow, received an inaugural Doris Duke Performing Artist Award; And received the 2012 Joyce Foundation Award for his successful work Moses(es) that premiered in 2013. His critically acclaimed work CITIZEN premiered 2016 (FringeArts – World; BAM NextWave 2016 - NYC) and is currently touring. Wilson was curator of Danspace Project’s Dancing Platform Praying Grounds: Blackness, Churches, and Downtown Dance (Platform 2018) and created the commissioned work “…they stood shaking while others began to shout” specifically for the space at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery. Most recently, he curated Grounds That Shout! (and others merely shaking), a series of performances in Philadelphia’s historic sacred spaces. His newest work is titled POWER.
Jenny Chio is Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Anthropology at the University of Southern California. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MA in Visual Anthropology from Goldsmiths College, University of London. As a cultural anthropologist and ethnographic filmmaker, her writing and filmmaking explore the shifting intersections of subjectivity, collective memory, and modernity, with an emphasis on race, ethnicity, and cultural heritage as powerful categories in the contemporary world. She investigates these issues through long-term ethnographic fieldwork and documentary filmmaking on independent and vernacular media practices, urbanization and the transformation of rural landscapes and livelihoods, and cultural tourism in the People's Republic of China. Her 2014 book, A Landscape of Travel: The Work of Tourism in Rural Ethnic China, and 2013 film, 农家乐Peasant Family Happiness, examine how the expediencies of tourism, from landscapes and architecture to “learning to be ethnic” for tourists, have shaped the lives and livelihoods of rural, ethnic minority village residents in Southwest China. Her current projects include an ethnography of vernacular media practices in rural China and an ethnographic portrait film of two Miao women in Guizhou province. Most recently, she has written about tourism and race, theorizing ethnographic film, festival crowds and ethnic body politics, and the vernacular videography of bullfights. She served as Co-Editor of the journal Visual Anthropology Review from 2016-2018 and as Co-Curator of the Society for Visual Anthropology Film and Media Festival in 2013 and 2014. Her website is www.jennychio.com.
The Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication is proud to present A CARGC Book Talk Television and the Afghan Culture Wars: Brought to You by Foreigners, Warlords, and Activists featuring Wazhmah Osman, Temple University with Discussant Deborah A. Thomas, University of Pennsylvania.
Thursday, December 10 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM
This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Experimental Ethnography, Cinema and Media Studies, Middle East Center, and South Asia Center at the University of Pennsylvania
– Sun Ra
How do you archive something that hasn’t happened yet? What would an archive of the end of the world look like?
On December 3rd at 5 PM EST, Center for Experimental Ethnography fellow Christina Knight and choreographer Jessi Knight of knightworks dance theater discussed their forthcoming short film, “doomsday: field notes,” a fictional work documenting a mysterious set of ritual practices discovered by an anthropologist from the future. In the film, fragments of dance, glimpses of community building, and invocations of black feminist writing reveal a “doomsday church” invested in charting a black future. For this conversation, knightworks shared their creative and collaborative process, screen clips of the work-in-progress, and discussed their investments in the black speculative.
Christina Knight is Assistant Professor of Visual Studies at Haverford College. Knight's work examines the connection between embodied practices and identity, the relationship between race and the visual field, and the queer imaginary. She is currently completing a book manuscript that focuses on represents of the Middle Passage in contemporary American visual art and performance. Knight is also at work on a new project that examines the influences of drag culture on contemporary black art.
Jessi Knight is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer from Pittsboro, N.C. After graduating from Duke University with a self-designed dance degree with an emphasis in music and education, Jessi embarked on a teaching and choreographing career that has afforded her the opportunity to teach, choreograph and perform both locally and nationally. She spent four years in Denver, Colorado as a member of the internationally acclaimed Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble and currently resides in North Carolina where she continues to choreograph and perform on a project by project basis for her company knightworks dance theater.
DEC 8 at 5PM
Join us for the Fall 2020 Fellows Event by Steven Feld (CEE Fellow, Fall 2020). Hearing Heat listens to histories of listening to cicadas in Papua New Guinea, Japan, and Greece. Through a swelling intensification of intermedial recontextualizations, cicadas are amplified as a companion species thermosonic technology that bears ongoing witness to “the climate of history” in anthropocene atrocities ranging from rainforest destruction to nuclear escalation to precarious heat waves.
This intermedial performance piece is designed for installation of 6-8 rooms with variously positioned speakers and screens presenting an experimental interplay of voice(s), acoustic biospheres, poesis, musical composition, film and television soundtracks, graphic design and notation, sonographic spectra, sculpture and physical objects. The physical installation version of the piece will be recrafted for CEE online experience as a fifty-minute film in the form of an “exhibit walk-through tour,” with discussion to follow.
STEVEN FELD IN CONVERSATION WITH
Is it possible to publicly narrate the past, and document the present, in ways that move beyond permanence and monumentalization? What would it mean to think in terms of materiality not in relation to landscape but instead in terms of embodiment?
Participants Ken Lum, Deborah Anzinger, and Gabrielle Goliath addressed these questions and others in conversation with participants. Gabrielle Goliath drew from her work "Elegy 7" which can be viewed here.
As always, Third Thursdays are free and open to the public
Gabrielle Goliath situates her practice within contexts marked by the traces, disparities and as of yet unreconciled traumas of colonialism and apartheid, as well as socially entrenched structures of patriarchal power and rape-culture. Enabling opportunities for affective, relational encounters, she seeks to resist the violence through which black, brown, feminine, queer and vulnerable bodies are routinely fixed through forms of representation. Goliath has exhibited widely, most recently in Our Red Sky, Göteborgs Konsthall, Gothenburg. Her solo exhibition, This song is for... is currently installed at the Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, and will open later this year at Konsthall C, Stockholm. She will also present a new work in December 2020 by commission of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Goliath has won a number of awards including a Future Generation Art Prize/Special Prize (2019), the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award (2019), as well as the Institut Français, Afrique en Créations Prize at the Bamako Biennale (2017). Her work features in numerous public and private collections, including the TATE Modern, Iziko South African National Gallery, Johannesburg Art Gallery, and Wits Art Museum. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate with the Institute for Creative Arts at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Deborah Anzinger is an artist and founder of New Local Space (NLS), Kingston, Jamaica. Anzinger’s work was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia) and has been exhibited at Pérez Art Museum Miami; Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art, Brooklyn; National Art Gallery of the Bahamas; and National Gallery of Jamaica. Her work is published in Small Axe Journal (Duke University Press), Caribbean Quarterly (Taylor & Francis), Bomb Magazine, Art Papers, The New Yorker and Artforum. Anzinger was recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and a fellowship to Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She is a 2020 Soros Arts Fellow. As part of the Soros Arts Fellowship, Anzinger is creating archival arboreal sculptures called Training Stations in Maroon Town located in Jamaica’s Cockpit Country, an historical site of refuge from the Transatlantic slave trade for Maroons, and a major source of freshwater and biodiversity in the country. The title of the project references the Ground Truthing process used by the government to redefine the boundaries for mining operations and encroachment into The Cockpit Country Protected Area. Training Stations however proposes an alternative set of parameters to redefine the identity of this space based on the interconnectedness of land, ecologies, histories and lived realities.
The artists residency is a collaboration between VCAM and Ethnocine Collective, a group of visual anthropologists and filmmakers who push the boundaries of documentary storytelling through decolonial and intersectional feminist practice. The residency aims to strengthen the burgeoning field of feminist ethnographic filmmaking by supporting two underrepresented artists to claim the time, space, and a critically engaged community to move the needle forward on works-in-progress.
Organized by Ethnocine Collective & Haverford's VCAM, Co-sponsored by the Center for Experimental Ethnography and the Brown Girls Doc Mafia.
Free and open to the public
PENN MUSEUM 336