Setting the fugitive experience afforded Black people on fire with majesty, opulence, and agency, Séancers combines lyrical poetry and psychic movement forms to investigate concepts of loss, resurrection, and paranormal activity.
Séancers builds on Kosoko’s internationally acclaimed work #negrophobia, which has toured internationally following its premiere at Abrons Arts Center as part of American Realness. On #negrophobia, Siobhan Burke in The New York Times wrote, “Mr. Kosoko transformed the concrete space into a tumultuous shrine to dead black men,” and Scottish newspaper The Herald described the work as, “gut wrenching and personal.” With Séancers, Kosoko takes this investigation of loss a step further by delving into ritualistic practices of resurrection and paranormal activity. Having experienced the recent deaths of his brother, grandfather, and father, Kosoko is trying to see this trilogy of loss as a kind of creative tool, a portal to other conceptual pathways for locating, performing, and experiencing Black performativity. Séancers is a vehicle where Kosoko hopes to connect not only to his deceased family, but also, to unknown dimensions of his own psyche and creative practice. Interrogating issues related to American history, colonization, and terrorism, Séancers journeys into the surreal and fantastical states of the Black imagination as it travels the axis of abstraction, illegibility, and gender multiplicity. The work locates itself inside the spiritual, emotional, and theoretical world with the live performances of sound artist Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste and experimental performance artist Kosoko, and a special guest artist-theorist who helps frame the witnessing of each performance. Theorists include musician M. Lamar (Jan. 13th and 15th) and Che Gossett (Jan. 14th and 16th).
Who I am
Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, originally from Detoit, MI, is a Bessie ard nominated Nigerian-American curator, poet, and performance artist. He is a 2017 Princeton Arts Fellow, a 2017 Jerome Artists in Residence at Abrons Arts Center, a 2017 APAP Leadership Fellow, and a 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Fellow. He is a 2016 Gibney Dance boo-koo resident artist and a recipient of a 2017 and 2016 USArtists International Award from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. His work has been presented throughout Europe and the United States. He has created original roles in the performance works of visual artist Nick Cave, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Keely Garfield Dance, Miguel Gutierrez and The Powerful People, Headlong Dance Theater, among others. Kosoko’s poems, interviews, and essays can be found published in The American Poetry Review, Poems Against War, The Dunes Review, Silo, Detroit Research v2, Dance Journal (PHL), the Broad Street Review (PHL), Movement Research Performance Journal, and Critical Correspondence (NYC). He lectures, speaks, and performs internationally. His piece #negrophobia is currently touring throughout Europe having appeared in major festivals including Moving in November (Finland), TakeMeSomewhere (UK), SICK! (UK), Tanz im August (Berlin), Oslo Internasjonale Teaterfestival (Norway), Zurich MOVES! (Switzerland), Beursschouwburg (Belgium) and Spielart Festival (Munich). Visit Jaamil.com for more information.
The creative team for Séancers includes projects manager Kimya Imani Jackson, lighting design by Serena Wong, associate lighting design by Megan Lang, set and costume design by Kosoko, set decor and construction by Devin N. Morris, dramaturgy by Emily Reilly, associate directing by Jennifer Kidwell, associate costume design and fabrication by Simone Duff, wardrobe and costumes by Savonne Whitfield, video installation by Andrew Amorim, video production by Alex Romania, social media producing by Ben Grinberg, and production stage management by Eli Reid. Performances of Séancers will take place Jan. 13-16 at Abrons Arts Center, located at 466 Grant Street in Manhattan. Tickets, priced at $25, can be purchased by visiting https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/983911
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