As a prologue, Center for Art, Research and Alliances (CARA) is pleased to present Conjurings, a public program unfolding over three weekends in July and August 2022. Shaped by scholars, artists, musicians, writers, shamans, machines, sonic technologies, and many other life-forms and undefinable disciplines, Conjurings braids invocation, incantation, questioning, un-earthing, and ceremony to open space for future (un)doings.
Convened by Erika Sprey and artists Lamin Fofana and Sky Hopinka have been working together with Emmy Catedral, Curator of Public Programs, and Manuela Moscoso, Executive Director, conjuring weaved voices inspired by each of their own practices and research throughout the program and beyond. Out of this process of forging new collaborations and expanding our networks, we are happy to present various evolving forms of live and situated experimentings.
Our guiding question is: How do we dream not only about ourselves? That is to say, to dream not only about ourselves, but about each other, about beings of the forest, of water, of animals, buildings, shelters—of concrete or invisible beings, as porous interdependent entities reliant on each other and everything around us. Such collective dreamwork requires a deep and thorough understanding of the shifting mechanisms of oppression and the realities of racial capitalism. It demands the undoing of Western categories and demarcations of thought; linear and quantifiable time-space notions, and inadequate dichotomies of body and spirit, rational and organic, nature and culture, dreaming and waking. Each invited conjurer will speak to and through these conditions for collective and liberatory dream practice—listening with care to what emerges from these future ancestries, and tending their rich and opaque transmissions.
August 05, 2022
7:00 pm Doors Open
7:45 pm Opening Remarks
8:00 pm Sugar Vendil
Composer and musician Sugar Vendil will share an evening of music that encompasses her practice as a chamber musician, soloist, and budding synthesizer queen. Vendil will share new semi-improvised pieces for synth & voice. The opening installation-style performance of “ooh wo aa oo wa o” for vocalizing chamber ensemble will feature her ensemble The Nouveau Classical Project: Laura Cocks, flute; Marina Kifferstein, violin (NCP alum); cellist Thea Mesirow; and guest clarinetist Yuma Uesaka.
9:30 pm Aldrin Valdez: Writings
Aldrin Valdez will present writing that thinks through romances, histories, and movies.
9:45 pm Les The DJ: Sa Dako Pa Roon
Les The DJ will play an all-vinyl set of music from the Philippines and its Diaspora, and create musical narratives that evoke nostalgia and curiosity.
August 06, 2022
1:30 pm Doors Open
1:45 pm Opening Remarks
2 pm Lavender Suarez
Lavender Suarez leads a group discussion about dreaming and listening, then invites us to close our eyes and enter a hypnagogic sonic world with a live meditative sound bath.
3:30 pm Kemi Alabi
Prompted by poems from Kemi Alabi's award-winning debut collection Against Heaven, this interactive reading will lead listeners through a sonic spellwork experiment.
4:00 pm Camille Barton and Annika Hansteen-Izora: Chrysalis to Catalyst
A collective and somatic experiment in communal dreaming. Beginning with a conversation between Camille Barton and Annika Hansteen-Izora on dreaming as a source of radical imagination, participants will then collectively engage in a communal dreaming activity to meditate on and hold deep presence with the futures we dream of.
6:00 pm BREAK
7:00 pm Doors
7:15 pm Opening Remarks
7:30 pm charles theonia
charles will read from their manuscript-in-progress, Queer Heaven Is a Dance Floor but I Can't Relax. Like meeting on the dance floor, these poems posit that citation is an active form of friendship, a method of reaching across generations to reconstitute queer and trans language into a collective moment.
7:45 pm Wo Chan
Poet & drag performer Chan will be reading from Togetherness, their debut collection of poetry which tells "stories of the poet’s immigrant childhood spent in their family’s Chinese restaurant and culminating in a deportation battle against the State. These narrative threads weave together monologue, soaring lyric descants, and document, taking the positions of apostrophe, biography, and soulful plaint to stage a vibrant and daring performance in which drag is formalism and formalism is drag—at once campy and sincere, queer, tender, and winking."
8:00 pm Nicole Wallace
Nicole will read a selection of newer writings // works in progress + poems from their chapbook, WAASAMOWIN.
8:15 pm Maria Hupfield and Electric Djinn: Spirit is Alive, Magic is Afoot
Drawing from their individual practices Maria Hupfield and Electric Djinn reunite in the shared collaborative space, to create new work through the combination of organic sound, electronic music, movement and materials.
9:15 pm Break
9:30 pm Suzanne Kite and Robbie Wing: ᎤᎩᏥᏕᏱ ᎠᏗᏗᏍᎪ ᏧᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᏱᎩ
ᎤᎩᏥᏕᏱ ᎠᏗᏗᏍᎪ ᏧᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᏱᎩ is a sound installation and performance by Robbie Wing and Kite comprised of quadraphonic speakers, three sculptures, and a 20 minute performance. Field recordings taken at dusk and dawn at No Flesh Creek and Kyle Dam in Kyle, South Dakota surround a prairie root system, a sonified pillow, and dreaming medicines. The performance includes body interface, banjo and field recording composition.
10:30 pm AfroOankali: DJ Set
AfroOankali serves ritual bass: a hypnotic blend of low end frequencies and polyrhythms which celebrates the Afro-Caribbean influence in electronic music, underground club culture and the healing potential of bass music.
11:15 pm End
August 07, 2022
1:00 pm Doors Open
1:30 pm Opening Remarks
1:45 pm COUSIN Collective (with Raven Chacon, Sky Hopinka, Suzanne Kite, and Adam Piron)
A conversation with members of COUSIN Collective discussion topics ranging from challenges, obstacles, and opportunities for Indiginous art, music, and film, and the need for collaboration and knowledge sharing in navigating spaces not designed for Indigenous Peoples.
3:15 pm Break
3:30 pm Emerson Uýra: Espiral da Morte
When ants lose track of the pheromone scent that keeps them in contact with their main foraging party, they begin to follow one another, forming a continuously rotating circle until they die. This is called the “death spiral.” Uýra intercrosses this biological phenomenon with the sociocultural phenomena in Brazil: the resistance of interruption of smell and memory among Indigenous peoples in Brazil’s Diaspora. Uýra brings the feedback from the Forest—another spiral opens, as in a cycle renewal. This turn of the spiral refers to the exchanges and technologies of memories ensured by Indigenous people throughout centuries, countering historical erasure in Brazil.
5:00 pm Gavilán Rayna Russom
For the closing performance of the first Conjurings series, interdisciplinary artist Gavilán Rayna Russom will share a long form sound work that explores her personal relationship to CARA’s new building. As the in-house electronics technician for DFA Records—the previous tenant in the building—as well as an artist on the label who recorded several albums in their basement studio, Rayna spent countless hours at 225 W 13th St. Her deeply personal performance will weave together electronic and acoustic sound with spellwork and mediumship.
6:30 pm End
Blue CHiLD. & iris yirei hu will produce a commissioned installation in CARA’s main gallery, accompanying the program of performances, talks, and presentations. The second floor will also host an ongoing exhibition rooting the program in legacies of Black, Latinx and Indigenous intellectual frameworks and their many intertwined cultural expressions, with an intergenerational span of works by Amanda Piña, Betty Tchomanga, Grandma Baby Apothecary, June Jordan, Khari-Johnson Ricks, Marilyn Nance, and Sky Hopinka. Presented in the ground floor gallery and CARA bookstore are works by Neema Githere, Juan Alvear, and the late Anishinaabe and Chemehuevi poet Diane Burns.
Aldrin Valdez is a bakla writer and visual artist. They are the author of ESL or You Weren't Here (Nightboat Books, 2018), selected as a 2019 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Poetry. As for current plans, Aldrin is trying to take it easy, feel real, play video games, and tell their brain it's okay that it's still registering the year as 2020.
Annika Hansteen-Izora (she/they/he) is an artist, writer and designer. She/they/he explorers the intersections of design, radical Black imagination, art and technology to create ecosystems rooted in dreaming and care. Brooklyn, NY on unceded Lenape land. Annika has been exploring the topics of communal dreaming, digital gardens, creative ecosystems, queering friendship and communal care.She/they/he lives in Brooklyn unceded Lenape land.
Camille Sapara Barton
Camille Sapara Barton (they/them) is an artist and educator who explores creative interventions that sustain life.Rooted in Black Feminism, ecology and harm reduction, they use creativity as a means to grow the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. Embodiment, healing justice and drug policy are key threads within Barton’s work. Camille is currently the head of Ecologies of Transformation, a temporary masters programme at Sandberg Institute. They are based in Amsterdam.rary masters programme at Sandberg Institute. They are based in Amsterdam. DJ AfroOankali serves ritual bass: a hypnotic blend of low end frequencies and polyrhythms which celebrates the Afro-Caribbean influence in electronic music, underground club culture and the healing potential of bass music.
COUSIN is a collective supporting Indigenous artists expanding the form of film. We create and support work that is personal, proudly provocative and driven by strong, artistic voices. We celebrate this work and get it made, seen and shared.
charles theonia (they/them) is a poet, enthusiast, and transsexual without direction. They are the author of artist book Saw Palmettos and chapbook Which One Is the Bridge, and they co-edited Femmescapes, a magazine of queer and trans affinities with femmeness.
Emerson Uyra is indigenous to the Central Amazon. They are a biologist with a Masters in Ecology, and work as a visual artist, art educator and researcher. They live in Manaus; an industrial territory in the middle of the Forest, where they transform themselves to live Uýra, a tree that walks. Having the body as a support, they narrate stories of different Natures via photo-performance and performance. From the City-Forest landscape, they are interested in living systems and their violations, as well as decoloniality, memory and indigenous diasporas.
Electric Djinn is an American-born New York City-based electronic music producer, performer, and inter-disciplinary artist. She works on site-specific multi-media installations, performances, and live music. These include the use of field recordings, electronic music, video, and movement. She holds certificates as a sound healing practitioner and incorporates this knowledge in her compositions, which include singing bowls, chanting, binaural beats, and healing frequencies. She investigates the therapeutic potential of music and sound through these arrangements.
Gavilán Rayna Russom
Gavilán Rayna Russom’s visionary career in music reverberates expansively at the multiple intersections between experimental and dance floor sounds. Rayna’s creative arc began when she was still in high school - DJing dance parties and distributing home-produced drone and noise tapes - and has carried her through a long-standing relationship with New York’s DFA Records, critically acclaimed releases for LIES, Nation, Curle, LuxRec and Ecstatic Recordings as well as the founding of her own label Voluminous Arts.
Kemi Alabi is the author of Against Heaven (Graywolf Press, 2022), selected by Claudia Rankine as winner of the Academy of American Poets First Book Award, and coeditor of The Echoing Ida Collection (Feminist Press, 2021). Their work appears in The Atlantic, The Nation, Poetry, Boston Review, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2, and elsewhere. Born in Wisconsin on a Sunday in July, they now live in Chicago.
Lavender Suarez is a sound healing practitioner, meditation teacher, musician, and artist. She has hosted workshops and performed at numerous museums and artistic institutes including MoMA, the Guggenheim, the Whitney, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Rubin Museum of Art, and The Brooklyn Botanic Garden, providing educational and meditative listening experiences. She is the author of Transcendent Waves: How Listening Shapes Our Creative Lives (Anthology Editions, 2020). Lavender performs and releases music under the name C. Lavender.
Les The DJ
Les The DJ aka Les Talusan is a DJ, photographer, curator, teaching artist and organizer whose practice immerses people in the joy of discovery, empowerment, and community. This approach is informed by Les’ own story of resilience, liberation and courage as an immigrant, mother and v/s. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Les fell in love with music at a young age, DJing at local clubs and playing in bands. Les has lived in Washington, DC for over 20 years and continues to expand their talents, performing behind the decks in the U.S. and abroad.
Maria Hupfield (she/her) is a Toronto based artist and transdisciplinary maker working with Industrial felt at the intersection of performance art, design and sculpture. She is the Inaugural ArtworxTO Artist in Residency with the City of Toronto, Parks and Recreation, and a Mellon Fellow, Center for the Imagination in the Borderlands, Arizona State University, USA, 2022. She has exhibited extensively including: the Heard Museum, Phoenix; The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto; the Art Gallery of Ontario, National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa; and the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of the American Indian, New York; amongst others. She is an Assistant Professor and Canadian Research Chair, Transdisciplinary Indigenous Arts at the University of Toronto. Hupfield is martin clan and off-rez member of the Anishinaabe Nation belonging to Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario, Canada.
Nicole Wallace’s (she/they) first chapbook, WAASAMOWIN, was published by IMP in 2019. They were the June/July 2020 poetry micro-resident at Running Dog and a 2019 Poets House Emerging Poets Fellow. Nicole is of mixed settler/European ancestry and is a patrilineal descendent of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe). They currently live and make work on Canarsee and Lenape territory (Brooklyn, NY) where they are Managing Director of The Poetry Project.
Robbie Wing is a sound artist, musician & composer based in Tulsa, OK and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. His practice focuses on acoustic geographies, installation and experimental music.
Sugar Vendil is a composer, pianist, and interdisciplinary artist based in Lenapehoking, known as Brooklyn. She started her artistic life as a classical pianist, and after spending nearly a decade searching for her own voice, her practice evolved into writing her own music and making performances that integrate sound, movement, and unconventional approaches to the piano.
Suzanne Kite Kite is an Oglala Lakota performance artist, visual artist, and composer, concerned with contemporary Lakota ontologies through research-creation, computational media, and performance practice.
Wo Chan who performs as The Illustrious Pearl is a poet and drag artist. They are a winner of the Nightboat Poetry Prize and the author of Togetherness (2022). Wo has received fellowships from MacDowell, New York Foundation of the Arts, Kundiman, The Asian American Writers Workshop, Poets House, and Lambda Literary. Their poems appear in POETRY, WUSSY, Mass Review, No Tokens, The Margins, and elsewhere. As a member of the Brooklyn-based drag/burlesque collective Switch N’ Play, Wo has performed at venues including The Whitney Museum of American Art, National Sawdust, New York Live Arts, and the Architectural Digest Expo. Find them at @theillustriouspearl.
05 – 07 August, 2022
Conjurings are free and open to the public. We have limited capacity, reservations are required.
COVID-19 Protocol: For the health and safety of our staff, invited artists, and public, we shall be requesting everyone to mask during the performance programs.
Accessibility: The entry to CARA is ADA-compliant and our bookstore and galleries are barrier free throughout with all gender, wheelchair accessible bathrooms. CARA shall accommodate guest wheelchair needs if requested in advance via email@example.com. Service animals are welcome. The closest wheelchair accessible subway is 14th St/8th Avenue station.
We would love to have you with us.