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Come together for a summer night of stargazing, indigenous storytelling and dance with choreographer and activist Emily Johnson.
Come together for a summer night of stargazing, indigenous storytelling and dance with choreographer and activist Emily Johnson.
Come together for a summer night of stargazing, indigenous storytelling and dance with choreographer and activist Emily Johnson.
131 backers pledged $15,052 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Gather on a Field of Quilts for a One-Night Performance

$15,052

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“What do you want for your well-being? For your chosen friends and family? For your neighborhood? For your town, city, reserve, tribal nation, world?"

This summer, award-winning artist and activist Emily Johnson and her company Catalyst ask you these questions in her large-scale, celebratory performance gathering Then a Cunning Voice and A Night We Spend Gazing at Stars, presented by Performance Space 122 in a world premiere on Randall’s Island Park. 

With your support, Performance Space 122 can bring Emily Johnson/Catalyst’s one-night performance to Randall's Island Park in Lenapehoking /NYC.

Performers from Emily Johnson's participatory work, SHORE, Melbourne Australia, 2017. Photo by Bryony Jackson
Performers from Emily Johnson's participatory work, SHORE, Melbourne Australia, 2017. Photo by Bryony Jackson

From sunset to sunrise, an audience of 300 gather for a participatory performance that focuses attention on the space we share and on envisioning the future. The work weaves together stories and performance with the exchange of ideas, meals, and the endurance of spending a night together outside under the stars and sky.

Tickets are available at: https://www.ps122.org/then-a-cunning-voice/

84 quilts make their first appearance on Randall's Island Park for "Then A Cunning Voice" rehearsal. They're designed by Maggie Thompson and hand-stitched over three years at community sewing bees. Photo by Meredith Boggia.
84 quilts make their first appearance on Randall's Island Park for "Then A Cunning Voice" rehearsal. They're designed by Maggie Thompson and hand-stitched over three years at community sewing bees. Photo by Meredith Boggia.

The performance begins with an opening ceremony and a group walk that arrives at the shores of the East River and unfolds on 4,000 square feet of hand-sewn quilts, designed by textile artist Maggie Thompson, Fond Du Lac Ojibwe. Throughout the night the audience will be guided through a series of richly crafted events — part ritual, part lyrical adventure — created by Johnson in collaboration with performers Tania Isaac and 12-year-old Georgia Lucas, and director Ain Gordon.

Each quilt has been made by community volunteers at artist-led sewing bees around the United States, Taiwan and Australia over the last three years. Inscribed with the intentions of hundreds of people from around the world, the quilts serve as audience seating, performance area, resting area, “home” for the duration, and maps toward an envisioned future.

Quilt squares on display at the Community Sewing Bee at Northern Spark in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2016. Photo courtesy of Emily Johnson/Catalyst.
Quilt squares on display at the Community Sewing Bee at Northern Spark in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2016. Photo courtesy of Emily Johnson/Catalyst.

Then A Cunning Voice... serves as a much-needed opportunity for connection between people near and far, between youth and elders, between Indigenous and non-indigenous people, and between urban and rural experiences. As politics and ever-widening social and economic barriers continue to divide us, Emily Johnson's practice of bringing people together takes on a new relevancy.

With your support, Performance Space 122 can bring Emily Johnson/Catalyst’s vision to full realization.

Performance Space 122 and Emily Johnson/Catalyst pay respect to Lenape peoples and ancestors past, present, and future. We acknowledge that this work presented by PS122 is situated in Lenapehoking, the Lenape homeland.

Emily Johnson rehearses during her creative residency at MANCC, Florida, 2016. Photo by Chris Cameron
Emily Johnson rehearses during her creative residency at MANCC, Florida, 2016. Photo by Chris Cameron

What does your funding support?

Ticket sales only cover a small portion of PS122's costs - and many of our programs are totally free. So how do we do it? We rely on an incredible community of individuals and institutions to realize our projects. 

As a Kickstarter backer, your support will go directly to this project including artist fees, rental costs, safety, city permits, and critical equipment.

If you can't support us monetarily, share this project on your favorite social media. Thank you!

Note: Performance Space 122, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

Community Sewing Bee at Northern Spark, Minneapolis, 2016. Photo by Erin Westover.
Community Sewing Bee at Northern Spark, Minneapolis, 2016. Photo by Erin Westover.

Rewards

Wherever you are in the world, you can be part of this important project!

$5 = Your name listed in the Thank You section of PS122’s website for Then A Cunning Voice…

$20 = Emily’s handwritten story from the performance

$50 = Your personal wish added to the quilt

$100 = Family recipe from Emily's mom and dad

$250 = Ruth Crow Tea that will be served at the morning's Elders' Breakfast

$500 = VIP exhibition tour and toast with Emily

$1,000 = Handstitched mini-quilt

$5,000 = Handstitched “Then A Cunning Voice” quilt from the performance tour

About Emily Johnson/Catalyst

Emily Johnson is an award-winning choreographer based in New York City. Originally from Alaska, she is of Yup’ik descent. The New York Times calls her “a magnetic performer, adept at mobilizing people” and “one you want to follow.” Since 1998, Emily has created work that considers the experience of sensing and seeing performance. Her dances engage audiences within and through the environment—interacting with a place’s architecture, history, and role in community. Catalyst is an organization led by and in support of the artistic efforts of Emily Johnson. Then A Cunning Voice... is created with Ain Gordon, Tania Isaac, Georgia Lucas, Lenore Doxsee, Maggie Thompson, Meredith Boggia, Yumi Tamashiro, Wally Gunn, and countless contributions from the communities that have hosted Catalyst in the United States, Taiwan and Australia.

Emily Johnson/Catalyst is an independently operating organization led by and in support of the artistic efforts of Emily Johnson. Please learn more about Emily's projects, including how to support them, at catalystdance.com.

About Performance Space 122

For over three decades, audiences and artists have come to Performance Space 122 to experience new ideas in the performing arts. Together, we built a community with art and artists at its core. The true measure of our success is the large body of work developed at PS122, a body of work that has challenged audiences in New York and around the world.

From PS122's community sewing bee, Umyuangvigkaq, New York, 2017. Photo by Maria Baranova.
From PS122's community sewing bee, Umyuangvigkaq, New York, 2017. Photo by Maria Baranova.

More Info and Tickets

August 19, 5:30pm – 8am at Randall’s Island Park, NYC 

Tickets are available on ps122.org/then-a-cunning-voice

Featured Photo: Community Sewing Bee at Northern Spark, Minneapolis. Photo by Erin Westover.

Risks and challenges

Rain or shine, Performance Space 122 is committed to bringing this ambitious project to life on August 19. The greatest risks and challenges before us are those we want to address together in Then A Cunning Voice..., building a community and envisioning a better future. Join us!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Witness

    Your name listed in the Thank You section of PS122’s website for Then A Cunning Voice…

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Stitcher

    Emily Johnson will send you her handwritten personal story from the performance.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Stargazer

    We'll write your personal wish onto a quilt square as part of the 4,000 sq ft quilt that is the centerpiece of the performance, designed by textile artist Maggie Thompson.

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    16 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Provider

    Emily Johnson will send you her mom and dad's family recipe for Cold Smoked Alaska Red Salmon. (Vegetarian option with Sautéed Fiddleheads also available).

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Guide

    Emily Johnson will send you Cedar Tea (foraged from Minnesota) that she will serve during the performance.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Dreamer

    You and a guest are invited to a VIP tour of Emily Johnson's art exhibition in NYC featuring all 4,000 square feet of hand-stitched quilts used during the performance. Followed by a special reception.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Visionary

    Emily Johnson will send you a handstitched mini-quilt, based on Maggie Thompson's beautiful textile design for the performance.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Changemaker

    Emily Johnson will give you one of the full-size original handmade quilts from Then A Cunning Voice, handstiched by Emily with community sewing bees across the globe, designed by textile artist Maggie Thompson. (Delivery after the international tour of the work)

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Funding period

- (33 days)