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$7,264 pledged of $8,000 goal
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All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

By david thomson
$7,264 pledged of $8,000 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About

Can a black body be neutral in a post-modern aesthetic in America? 

This is where it all started, with this question, and I created Venus, named after the Hottentot Venus, aka Sarah Baartman, an enslaved black woman who was exhibited as an exotic in the early 19th Century London and Paris. Venus is a character that flirts with black face, gender ambiguity and sexuality, coupled with the incongruities of dominance, vulnerability, erasure and visibility. I sought to understand how something exotic could be normalized or neutralized within a performance setting. 

This question led to the development of a series of investigations and performance installations related to the complexities of identity and perception: The Sessions (Gibney, 2013), Venus Redux (The Invisible Dog, 2014), The Venus Knot (The Invisible Dog, 2015) Chimaera (BRIC & The Bronx Museum, 2016), and The Voyeurs (Brooklyn Bridge Park & Madison Square Park, 2016). Each iteration was a different exploration of form and content.

I’m now in the final iteration that encompasses the other works: he his own mythical beast. I see this production existing in its own space of entangled narratives. This project has been a means of generating questions regarding the mythologies and contradictions of identity, race, gender, aesthetic neutrality and humanity in American culture. It also represents my first evening length work!

This new work brings together materials and research from prior installations into a new narrative, along with the return of the infamous Venus. Influences along the way have included Hitchcock’s Rear Window, James Baldwin, the confession booth, Claudia Rankine, high school fights, Judith Butler, baptism, Roland Barthes, Trisha Brown and dreams of transformation.

We are planning to premiere of the work on January 31, 2018, as part of PS122’s inaugural COIL Festival in their newly renovated space! I am in the process of finishing the script & work and we are developing the set and video installation design.

Why We Need Your Help

It's a moment of firsts:  My first evening length work AND my first Kickstarter!  

I am working with a talented team of collaborating artists to create this work. The other performers include Paul Hamilton, Jodi Bender and Katrina Reid; the visual | sound designer and co-director, Peter Born, and Clarinda Mac Low as dramaturg. With additional technical help to develop the installation.

I need your help to finish this dream! It’s been a long road and I am very excited to show this work. Sadly, some expected funds have been reduced and I have to cover the cost of building the set, equipment rental, rehearsal space, collaborator fees, and yes, insurance and liability so that everyone is protected.

All pledges will be tax deductible!

Risks and challenges

I have secured 80% of our budget and we’re asking for your help in raising $8,000 of our remaining budget. I’m an artist who has a long history of working with others on their visions, a unique lineage of artmaking. It’s been crazy and catalyzing in digging into this project and the myriad of issues that it has touched upon. The ability to develop my own work and my voice has been a learning process inside and outside of the studio. Raising this money is one of the final challenges.

Without these funds the project will go on, but as a shadow of itself. We all know how to make do but I want to do better. And I can with your help. Any support is deeply appreciated and valued and all pledges will be tax deductible.

Other Ways You Can Help

Some of you may not be able to contribute, but that doesn't mean you can't help. The more people that know about this campaign, the greater opportunities I have to reach my goal! Please share and spread the word about this project.

Thank you in advance for your support and hope to see you at PS122 in January.

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    Sphinx

    THANK YOU, a shout out on social media and from my heart!

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    Unicorn

    Specially printed card with an Image and quote from the beast series

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    Centaur

    Access to exclusive password protected audio recording clip of The Voyeurs featuring the award-winning Okwui Okpokwasili and the 2016 Pen/Faulkner winner James Hannahan

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    Pegasus

    Access to exclusive password protected videos created by Peter Born in the creation of he his own mythical beast

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    Chimaera

    A special short script created with text from research and beast material using the cut-up technique popularized by William Burroughs, including text from Roland Barthes, Claudia Rankine, Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, Alfred Hitchcock, Judith Butler and Toni Morrison, printed on quality paper.

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    • 1 reserved ticket to the show.
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    Thunderbird

    Limited edition Letterpress broadside with the BEAST Declaration: I AM A MYTHICAL BEAST on archival paper

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    • 2 reserved ticket to the show.
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    Phoenix

    A Venus Knot created especially for you, based on the Venus Knot installation!
    Listing as a Sponsor in the program

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    • 2 reserved ticket to the show.
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    Venus

    A Venus Knot created especially for you!
    Listing as a Sponsor in the program

    Includes:
    • 2 reserved ticket to the show.
    • Printed card with an Image and quote from the Beast series
    • Access to audio recording clip of The Voyeurs
    • A short script created with text from research and beast text
    • Access to exclusive Beast videos created by Peter Born
    • Limited edition Letterpress broadside with the BEAST Declaration
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