Marking the Occasion

Edited by Jaime Shearn Coan and Tara Aisha Willis

December 2020
Document Series #5
Edited by Jaime Shearn Coan and Tara Aisha Willis
Contributions by David Thomson, Julie Tolentino, Mariana Valencia, Takahiro Yamamoto, and Mlondi Zondi
Softcover, 184 pages, 6.7 x 9.4 inches
ISBN: 978-1-7327086-9-3
Designed by Dorothy Lin
Printed in Italy
Edition of 300
Sold out

About the publication

Marking the Occasion represents the final movement in a year-long engagement with the question, "Can a performance be a rough draft of a written work?" In this case, the rough draft took place at Mount Tremper Arts during a 2019 Watershed Residency. Taking the practices of choreography and co-writing as methods of investigation, curator-editors Jaime Shearn Coan and Tara Aisha Willis introduce new trajectories for live work and text by bringing together dance and performance artists from across the US who occupy multiple roles within art economies and in whose work language and writing are prevalent. Exploring a multiplicity of lived, embodied experiences within a single event, Marking the Occasion gathers together archival materials from the residency alongside new contributions from participants David Thomson, Julie Tolentino, Mariana Valencia, Takahiro Yamamoto, and Mlondi Zondi. The publication also marks the events of 2020, and traces their reverberations through each artist's practice as time, movement, action, and collaboration take on new meanings.  

Spread from Marking the Occasion (2020)

About the editors

Jaime Shearn Coan is a writer and ACLS Public Fellow at the ONE Archives Foundation. He received his PhD in English from The Graduate Center, CUNY upon completion of his dissertation, “Corporeal Archives of HIV/AIDS: The Performance of Relation.” His writing has appeared in publications including TDR, Critical Correspondence, Drain Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Movement Research Performance Journal, Gulf Coast, On Curating, Women & Performance, and Bodies of Evidence: Ethics, Aesthetics, and Politics of Movement. He co-edited Danspace Project’s catalogue, Lost and Found: Dance, New York, HIV/AIDS, Then and Now and is the author of the chapbook Turn it Over.

Tara Aisha Willis performed in a collaboration by Will Rawls and Claudia Rankine and in The Skeleton Architecture’s “Bessie” award-winning performance. She is a PhD candidate in Performance Studies at New York University and Associate Curator in Performance & Public Practice at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Willis has been an editor for Women & Performance and TDR, co-edited an issue of The Black Scholar with Thomas F. DeFrantz, and held a NYPL Jerome Robbins Dance Division Research Fellowship. She was the founding administrator of Movement Research’s Artists of Color Council, and was in the first working group for “Creating New Futures,” the COVID-19 responsive guidelines for ethical dance presenting.

Spread from David Thomson, "mapping the occasion," in Marking the Occasion (2020)

About the contributors

David Thomson is a collaborative interdisciplinary artist. He has worked with Trisha Brown, Susan Rethorst, Bebe Miller, Remy Charlip, Grisha Coleman|Hot Mouth, Ralph Lemon, Sekou Sundiata, Tracie Morris, Meg Stuart, Marina Abramović, Yvonne Rainer, Yanira Castro, and Kaneza Schaal among many others. His work engages questions of identity, value, and presence, structuring environments through a range of temporal forms from short works to durational tasks. He received Bessie Awards for Sustained Achievement (2001) and Outstanding Production (2018) for he his own mythical beast. Thomson has been recognized with awards and fellowships from US Artist, LMCC, Yaddo, MacDowell, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. 

Julie Tolentino (Filipino-Salvadoran) is a movement-based interdisciplinary artist. Recent 2019 commissioned works include REPEATER, .burymefiercely., and Slipping Into Darkness - Day & Night. Tolentino is a recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts award and was a 2018-2020 UCR Dean’s Distinguished MFA Fellow. 

Mariana Valencia is a choreographer and performer. Her work has been presented in venues and museums across the United States, England, Norway, Serbia, and Macedonia. Valencia is a Whitney Biennial artist (2019), a Bessie Award recipient for Outstanding Breakout Choreographer (2018), a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Award to Artists grant recipient (2018), and a Jerome Travel and Study Grant fellow (2014-15). She has worked on various performance projects alongside Lydia Okrent, Jules Gimbrone, Elizabeth Orr, Kate Brandt, AK Burns, Guadalupe Rosales, Em Rooney, robbinschilds, Kim Brandt, Morgan Bassichis, Jazmin Romero, Fia Backström, and MPA.

Takahiro Yamamoto is an artist and choreographer based in Portland, Oregon. His performance and visual art works have been presented at PICA, Portland OR; DiverseWorks, Houston; Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; The Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; and GoDown Arts Centre, Nairobi, among other venues. He is part of the Portland-based support group Physical Education with Allie Hankins, keyon gaskin, and Lu Yim. Yamamoto holds an MFA in Visual Studies from Pacific Northwest College of Art. He is a Full-Time Visiting Artist in the Department of Performance at the School of Art Institute of Chicago in 2020.

Mlondi Zondi is a US-based South African interdisciplinary artist, dramaturg, curator, scholar, and Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Artist-in-Residence (2020). Mlondi makes performances for the black box theater, gallery/museum, proscenium stage, and other public spaces. This work, often created in collaboration with others, has been presented at the Durban Art Gallery, The Market Theatre (Johannesburg), ICA Live Art (Cape Town), Laguna Art Museum, Axis Lab Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Mount Tremper Arts, Gibney New York, and the African Burial Ground in New York City.


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