Choreographer Okwui Okpokwasili and curator Sophie J Williamson, consider how time, history and circadian rhythms imprint themselves on our bodies.
In Being Taken for Granite, Ursula K. Le Guin described a kinship with mud as a body that yields, reacts, imprints and responds. Taking this text as a guide they will unravel relationships between the body and the soil from which it is born, considering ways of archeologically excavating and reading bodies – human, non-human and geological – to understand their ever-present dialogue with the past.
From the sedimentary strata of mountains to the narratives secreted in our own gestures, Okpokwasili and Williamson discuss the body as an accumulation and amalgamation of historic interactions. They will consider how lineage, past lives and trauma secret themselves in bodies, and how these silences resurface to reveal our entangled pasts, form us in the contemporary and redirect futures.
Okwui Okpokwasili is a Brooklyn-based choreographer, performer and writer. Her performance work has been commissioned by the Walker Art Center, Danspace Project, Performance Space New York, the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, the 10th Annual Berlin Biennale, and Jacob’s Pillow, among other institutions. Her work includes two Bessie Award–winning productions: Pent-Up: A Revenge Dance and Bronx Gothic. She has held residencies at the Maggie Allesee National Choreographic Center, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Rauschenberg Foundation Captiva Residency, and New York Live Arts, where she was a Randjelovic/Stryker Resident Commissioned Artist. She is currently a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts. Okpokwasili is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow.
Sophie J Williamson is the initiator and convenor of Undead Matter, a multidisciplinary research platform focused on the intimacies of being with the geological. Williamson was Exhibitions Curator at Camden Art Centre (2013 – 21), prior to which she was part of the inaugural team at Raven Row (2009–13) and worked at the Singapore Biennale (2006), Venice Biennale (2007) and Manchester Asian Triennale (2008). Her writing has appeared in frieze, Art Monthly, Elephant and Aesthetica, among others. Residencies and awards include: V-A-C Research Prize Recipient (2020), Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Curatorial Fellow (2020); and Gasworks Curatorial Fellow (2016). Her anthology, Translation, part of the Whitechapel Gallery and MIT Press – Documents of Contemporary Art series, brings together writings by artists, poets, authors and theorists to reflect on the urgency of building empathy in an era of global turmoil.
Produced by: Zakia Sewell
Music by: Nicolas Gaunin
Design by: Mariana Vale
Supported by Freelands Foundation