Composition and Compresence: A Workshop for a We
Led by Jaime Shearn Coan
Dates: Tuesdays and Thursdays, July 23-August 1
Capacity: 15 participants
Cost: $120-240 total (sliding scale, $30-60/session)
"We can never simply be the ‘we’ understood as a unique subject, or understood as an indistinct ‘we’ that is like a diffuse generality. 'We’ always expresses a plurality, expresses ‘our’ being divided and entangled." (Jean-Luc Nancy)
In this workshop, we will try on various practices that mobilize language as a vector for knowing and unknowing each other. How does language travel from body to body? How does language affect, alter, create, validate a body? We will move between being spectators and performers to being translators and interpreters and editors to being an entangled mass of awkward angles and odd syntactical twists. We will attempt to invite in pleasure, erotics, confusion, and frustration. In passing language and interpretation between us, we will visibilize and challenge what often happens without our consent as we are read in the streets, on stages and on pages. We will co-create without attempting to produce a unitary voice or narrative. No experience in writing or performing necessary, only a willingness to experiment and contribute to this temporary collective structure.
Jaime Shearn Coan is a writer, editor, and PhD Candidate in English at The Graduate Center, CUNY, where he is completing a dissertation titled Metamorphosis Theater: Performance at the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Race, and Sexuality. A current 2019-2020 CUNY/Schomburg Center Archival Dissertation Year Fellow, Jaime previously served as a Mellon Public Humanities Fellow at The Center for the Humanities, CUNY and has taught literature, composition, and creative writing at City College, Hunter College, and Queens College, CUNY. Jaime’s writing has appeared in publications including TDR: The Drama Review, Critical Correspondence, Drain Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Jacket2, Movement Research Performance Journal, Gulf Coast, On Curating, Women & Performance, and Bodies of Evidence: Ethics, Aesthetics, and Politics of Movement. Jaime is a co-editor of the Danspace Project 2016 Platform catalogue: Lost and Found: Dance, New York, HIV/AIDS, Then and Now and author of the chapbook Turn it Over, published by Argos Books.
Image: Tuesday Smillie, Sometimes, 2016. Textile, 49 x 108 inches. Courtesy of the Artist.
Writing for a Performance Persona
Workshop with Jibz Cameron
Sunday, June 9, 1-4pm
Capacity: 15 participants
Cost: $50-90 (sliding scale)
During the Writing for a Performance Persona workshop we will dive into exercises designed to help you access deep crevasses of your personal experiences to spark performance persona ingredients. Learn some new ways of accessing material within yourself. Leap over or crawl under creative blocks to your inner goldmine. Writers, performers, dancers, drag showgirls, thinkers, visual artists all welcome! This is a fun based workshop.
Here are some of the activity titles (without explanations!)
• Why don't you tell me who I am
• Ultimate fighting machine
• Personal ad for dad
Jibz Cameron is a performance/video artist and actor living in Los Angeles. Her work as alter ego Dynasty Handbag has been presented at such institutions as MOCALA, PS1, Joe's Pub, The Kitchen, REDCAT, The Broad Museum, Hammer Museum, New Museum of Contemporary Art New York, among other institutions great and small. She has been heralded by the New York Times as "the funniest and most pitch perfect performance seen in years" and "outrageously smart, grotesque and innovative" by The New Yorker. She has written and produced 7 evening length performance pieces and countless short works. She has produced numerous award winning video pieces and 2 albums of original music. In addition to her work as Dynasty Handbag she has been seen acting in films, theater and television (internet web series no one has seen). She also works as a professor of performance and comedy related subjects, formerly at Cal-Arts and NYU, as well as lecturing at institutions such as Cornell University, Wesleyan University, Yale, among others. Cameron also produces and hosts Weirdo Night, a monthly alternative performance and comedy event in Los Angeles.
Photo by Charlie Gross
a fervent accumulation: returning to the unwritten and the unsaid
Seminar led by Asiya Wadud
Saturday, June 15, 2-5pm
Capacity: 15 participants
Cost: $25-50 (sliding scale)
“Strophe, turning from one side to the other of the orchestra, the act of turning”
- Dionne Brand
Of The Blue Clerk, Dionne Brand notes “The things one has left unwritten or unsaid [in earlier work] would lead to a set of confrontations that would expose all the compromises, self-corrections, self-censorships, and sometimes nefarious and cowardly reasons for leaving the things unwritten and unsaid. So that’s a difficult process: to revisit the decisions of language, to revisit and critique the choices made even if those choices seemed, at the time, perfectly legitimate.”
This seminar uses The Blue Clerk as a point of departure to delve into our own personal inventories, the ones that “expose all the compromises”—the inventories that have accumulated for long spells but perhaps were never even written. What are your left-hand pages—the pages you avoid, rescind, or altogether abandon? What nascent knowledge exists there? What would it mean to etch these pages into some kind of existence? What does it mean to turn and return to an idea and what accumulates in the act of turning?
In addition to reading excerpts from The Blue Clerk, we will explore short selections from John Keene’s Annotations and Inger Christensen’s Alphabet as examples of possible ways to inscribe left-hand pages.
This seminar is open to all, with the only requirement being a commitment to exploring the unwritten and the unsaid in your own work and the desire to begin to say it. Through a series of prompts and short exercises, participants will accumulate their own left-hand pages, or revisit previously written ones.
Asiya Wadud is the author of Crosslight for Youngbird, published by Nightboat Books in 2018. Her book Syncope (Ugly Duckling Presse) will be out later this year and No Knowledge Is Complete Until It Passes Through My Body is forthcoming in 2020. She teaches poetry at Saint Ann’s School and leads an English conversation class for new immigrants at the Brooklyn Public Library. She is currently working on a collaboration with choreographer and writer Okwui Okpokwasili.