A PROGRAM SUPPORTING NEW PROJECTS FROM 15 ARTISTS, ACROSS MUSIC, MEDIA, PERFORMANCE, AND ELECTRONIC WORK AND EXPERIMENTING WITH NEW INTERACTIVE FORMS
Commissioned Artists include The Builders Association, Olalekan Jeyifous, Aria Dean/Rhizome & Carl Sagan Institute, Andrew Schneider, Stephanie Dinkins, Annie Dorsen, Heather Hart, Keith Hennessy & Ishmael Houston-Jones, Maxe Crandall & Emmett Ramstad, Kristen Kosmas (a Co-Commission with On the Boards and The Chocolate Factory), Fei Liu, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Kaneza Schaal, devynn emory, and Zachary James Watkins
Onassis USA announces the Eureka Commissions, an initiative catalyzing forward-looking, exploratory, interrogative work within a new cultural landscape irrevocably changed by COVID-19 and a society grappling with social and racial injustice. The Eureka Commissions are an evolution of Onassis’ ENTER program in Athens, New York, and Los Angeles, which rapidly responded to a disrupted society, and offered rare glimpses into one another’s worlds in the pandemic’s early moments of isolation. Between May and July of this year, as projects and funding were halted globally for so many artists, Onassis’ ENTER commissioned 50+ artists from around the world to draw on their experience of the pandemic in 120 hours or less. (See full descriptions of the Eureka works below.)
The Eureka Commissions exemplify the Onassis Foundation’s international role as an institution where contemporary culture meets restless, daring artists and unexpected collaborations are nurtured. The Program continues the organization’s commitment to artists amid this prolonged hardship and expands its exploration of art’s purpose and reach. The initiative looks towards works developed over a longer period, that are not screen-based, and explore new forms of interactivity.
With these commissions totalling $140,000, Onassis offers between $5,000 and $13,000 to 15 American artists/groups for experiments that will see beyond our currently imposed distancing measures, seeking a way through for now and into the future. Artists, taking multitudinous forms (grieving ritual, mail-based artwork, light installation / performance, cross-country motorbike ride, algorithmic theatre, and more) to address our current reality, were selected by a jury including Prodromos Tsiavos (Athens), Florian Malzacher (Berlin), Karen Wong (NYC), Claudia La Rocco (Oakland), Vallejo Gantner (NYC) and Larry Ossei-Mensah (NYC).
Vallejo Gantner, outgoing Artistic and Executive Director of Onassis USA, says, “Onassis USA, and I personally are incredibly proud to be able to support these artists, many of whom are already pioneers in their disciplines, as their practice evolves, indeed thrives in this moment where the possibilities to experience and make art have been so challenged. These works, alongside those of the ENTER program earlier this year show us that artists will continue to create, innovate and lead through adversity.”
Afroditi Panagiotakou, Director of Culture of the Onassis Foundation, says, “Generating actions, interventions and ideas which shape and shake society is one of the leading missions of Onassis DNA. In Athens and Stegi, in New York and Onassis USA, celebrating new ideas that feed the mind and spirit, providing artists with all the necessary means to overcome any difficulty and thrive on their discipline is the core of our existence, our goal and desire. In times like these we want to make a statement about the usefulness of the ‘useless’, as artists are not just people doing their favorite pastime, but those able to move us both emotionally and intellectually.”
COMMISSION DESCRIPTIONS AND ARTIST BIOS
The Builders Association: I Agree to the Terms
I Agree to the Terms is a new crossmedia performance that considers the invisible labor of the human “microworkers” who shape artificial intelligence. Once seen as a personal tool of revolution with the potential of bringing neighbors closer together, social computing has become a largely isolating world where both our labor and our attention are capitalized. As the need for new survival strategies in our global economy grows, and with no end to our individual isolation in sight, this new work explores the daily terms we agree to through our online engagement, and at what cost. In collaboration with the online “microworking” community, The Builders will build a live, interactive performance that considers the impact of our online lives, with plans for a spring 2021 online premiere.
The Builders Association is an NYC-based, OBIE-winning crossmedia performance company in our 25th year. We use the richness of new and old tools to extend the boundaries of theater, telling original stories that examine the impact of media on various cultures and communities. Led by Marianne Weems, our work has appeared at 80 venues across the globe and has addressed issues such as outsourcing and corporate colonialism (ALLADEEN), dataveillance (SUPER VISION), and the global financial crisis (HOUSE/DIVIDED). In NYC, we have been presented at BAM, Lincoln Center, St. Ann's Warehouse, The Kitchen, New York Theater Workshop, the Whitney, the Guggenheim and more.
Aria Dean/Rhizome & Carl Sagan Institute: Black Space
Though earthbound politics and technology are a rich and urgent topic for artists today, outer space remains a compelling conceptual territory; it is specifically powerful when considering the long history of black artists’ engagement with space through Afrofuturism, later 20th century house and techno, and other black aesthetic-political movements. Responding to a persistent need for institutional support for black artists at large, Black Space proposes to virtually convene a working group of 5-7 black artists to explore the potential intersections of outer space and blackness.
Aria Dean (b. 1993) is an artist, writer and curator based in New York. She is Editor and Curator at Rhizome. Dean’s writing has been featured in Texte zur Kunst, e-flux, Artforum, Art in America, Kaleidoscope, Spike Magazine, and other publications. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include (meta)models or how i got my groove back, Chapter NY; Aria Dean, Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo; lonesome crowded west, Chateau Shatto, Los Angeles; Gut Pinch, The Sunroom, Richmond. Dean has also participated in group exhibitions internationally at the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles); Greene Naftali (New York); Tai Kwun, Hong Kong; The MAC, Belfast; ICAVCU, Richmond; Het Hem, Amsterdam; ICA Philadelphia; Bodega, NY; Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin. She has lectured and presented work at various institutions such as MMK Frankfurt; Yale University; Swiss Institute, NY; Serpentine Galleries, London; Centre d’Art Contemporain Genéve; Transmediale Festival; and Atlanta Contemporary. In April 2021, Dean will present her first solo exhibition with Greene Naftali (New York). She will have her first west coast institutional solo presentation at REDCAT in May 2021 and her first european solo exhibition at Centre d’Art Contemporain Genéve in early 2022.
Stephanie Dinkins: Secret Garden
Step into a garden and encounter oral histories spanning generations of African American women. As you wander this spatialized tract, you will encounter women with stories to tell: surviving a slave boat, growing up on a 1920s Black-owned farm, surviving 9/11, and embodying an AI powered by African American women. Secret Garden reminds us that sharing and receiving stories is an act of resistance.
Secret Garden will premiere online and physically within the ONX Studio in Olympic Tower in NYC at the end of January 2021 as part of the Sundance Festival. It has been produced by Stephanie Dinkins, Adaora Udoji, Nokia Bell Labs, NEW INC, and ONX Studio. Secret Garden is commissioned by the Onassis Foundation and Nokia Bell Labs.
Stephanie Dinkins is a transmedia artist who creates platforms for dialogue about artificial intelligence and our future histories. Dinkins’s art employs lens-based practices, emerging technologies, and community engagement to confront the contradictory histories, traditions, knowledge(s), and philosophies that form/inform society at large and underpin her thought and art production.
Annie Dorsen: TBD
“I will be using the predictive text-generation model GPT-3 to complete Aeschylus' lost play Prometheus Firebringer. Firebringer is the 3rd episode of the trilogy that tracks Prometheus' rebellion against Zeus, his punishment, and his eventual defeat and capitulation. Only a single line from the play remains, and it will be given as a prompt for the algorithm to generate possible reconstructions of the original, loosely interpreted. This piece continues my exploration of the ambiguous impacts of technology – and of notions of progress, autonomy, and uncertainty.”
The text for the performance will be developed in collaboration with artist and programmer Sukanya Aneja.
Annie Dorsen is a director and writer whose works explore the intersection of algorithms and live performance. She has been presented at venues and festivals including Performance Space New York, The Festival d'Automne de Paris, The Holland Festival, BAM's Next Wave Festival, New York Live Arts, Berlin MaerzMusik, and the Sharjah Biennial. In addition to awards for her direction of the 2008 Broadway musical Passing Strange, Dorsen received a 2014 Herb Alpert Award for the Arts in Theatre, a 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2018 Spalding Gray Award, and a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship.
devynn emory: deadbird
deadbird holds a trilogy of events: a conversation, a film premiere, and a multi-city public collective grief altar project: can anyone help me hold this body. deadbird is a grief space for my body as a healthcare worker, healer, and mover; it is a space I invite others into to also grieve the collective trauma of these layered pandemics. deadbird centers a cyclical duet between devynn and manny the mannequin in an object/abject relations reflection. I introduce my relationship to the mannequin as we follow three characters who share their stories of near-death experiences and the afterlife, seeded in an amalgamation of patients who have passed under my care as a nurse, friends who I've lost in my queer and transgender community, and family members who have passed in COVID-19. Part-critical commentary of the medical industrial complex that’s in friction with my own ceremonial end-of-life care, audience is welcomed to join this touring altar as we come together to hold the loneliness of this moment to recycle it into the holy.
The work is being developed and co-commissioned with Danspace Project NYC.
devynn is a mixed Lenape/Blackfoot transgender choreographer, dance artist, bodyworker, ceremonial guide, acute care and hospice nurse currently working as a COVID-19 nurse in NYC. emory's performance company devynnemory/beastproductions: draws from their multiple in-between states of being, holding space for liminal bodies bridging multiple planes of transition. Their formal dance training pulls on mathematical and mapped scores to support bodies decolonizing and bleeding human truths, opening peep holes and revelations for collective performers and audiences. They are currently working on a trilogy centering medical mannequins processing transitional mediumship: “deadbird,” “boilingrain” and x as well as an interactive storytelling project with an elder mannequin: “Cindy Sessions.” As a healer they have dual licenses in "western" and "eastern" bodywork and run a private practice sage-massage that offers workshops and hands on care in conversation with thresholds. You can find their ceremony offerings, talks, publications and consultation in end of life care at devynnemory.com and sage-massage.
Maxe Crandall & Emmett Ramstad: Twenty Phone Calls and Many of Them Dirty
Twenty Phone Calls and Many of Them Dirty is a performance installation created by playwright Maxe Crandall and visual artist Emmett Ramstad about intimacy, community building, and pleasure in times of isolation. Inspired by Robert Chesley’s play Jerker, Twenty Phone Calls takes up “corresponding intimacies,” a term we use for the deep bonds people create through experimental relations and shared fantasies. Activating gallery objects through a series of original performances, Twenty Phone Calls initiates a range of experiences, including a 1-800 call in line with fantasies read by actors and friends; a trans production of Jerker with set design by Ramstad and directed by Crandall; kink and artist panels; and collaborations across scenes and archives. Phone sex, epistolary sex, and other forms of sex where the body is physically “absent” to the lover call attention to the ways that space and imagination suggest methods for finding and relating to one another.
Maxe Crandall is a poet, playwright, and founder of the theater company Beautiful Moments in Popular Culture. His new book about AIDS archives and intergenerational memory The Nancy Reagan Collection (Futurepoem) is featured on the New York Public Library’s Best 100 Books of 2020 and Lit Hub’s 65 Favorite Books of 2020. Maxe is Interim Associate Director of the Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Stanford University.
Emmett Ramstad’s sculptures and participatory works explore body maintenance and the intimate collectivity of public space. His achievements include solo exhibitions at Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Rochester Art Center, and numerous national exhibitions. He has received many awards including a Jerome Foundation Fellowship, a Forecast Public Art Grant, and Minnesota State Arts Board Grant. He is a lecturer at the University of Minnesota.
Heather Hart: The Porch Project: Take it to the Bridge
“I'm creating a physical space that is not static; it will transform with each use according to the visitor’s frame of reference or the programming concept. They will climb ladders, traverse ramps and walk bridges. It is inspired by the space between cognitive and mystical forms, a site to explore communication, mediation and exchange in a conceptually shifting liminal space.
This sculpture refers to domestic architecture. As an oral history, the method of building The Porch was passed from person to person. It is made with traditional framing as structure, taught to me as a child by my father.
At The Porch Project: Take it to the Bridge the public is aware of their physical involvement with the architecture as they consider their own frames of reference in relation to the structure. This sculpture is also a space for activation by not only visitors but public programs with performers and thinkers.”
Heather Hart was awarded an artist residency at Josephine Sculpture Park (Kentucky) in 2019 which supports the creation and installation of her site specific sculpture entitled The Porch Project: Take it to the Bridge to be built at Josephine Sculpture Park in 2021.
Heather Hart, based in Brooklyn, is an interdisciplinary artist exploring the power in thresholds, questioning dominant narratives, and creating alternatives to them through viewer activation. She was awarded grants from Anonymous Was A Woman, the Graham Foundation, Joan Mitchell Foundation, and the Jerome Foundation, NYFA, and Harpo Foundation. Hart won a Creative Capital award, Wikimedia Foundation grants and an Andy Warhol Foundation of Art grant with Black Lunch Table which she co-founded. Hart's work has been exhibited at the Queens Museum, Storm King Art Center, The Kohler Art Center, NCMA, Seattle Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and University of Toronto, among others. Hart is a lecturer at Mason Gross School for Art + Design and a trustee at Storm King Art Center. Hart works with Davidson Gallery in New York and she studied at Skowhegan, Whitney ISP, Cornish College of the Arts, Princeton University and received her MFA from Rutgers University.
Keith Hennessy & Ishmael Houston-Jones: TRY
TRY is a performance of embodied queer futurism where race and masculinity are destabilized and this queer instability is the ground for new forms of solidarity, desire, and community. TRY will be choreographed by Ishmael-Houston Jones in collaboration with instigator/producer Keith Hennessy and a diverse cast of Bay Area gay-queer-2spirit-nonbinary dancers, including jose e. abad, Kevin O’Connor, Snowflake Towers (Mayan, Yaqui), in a visual environment created by Swoon, premiering in Fall 2021 in San Francisco.
Ishmael Houston-Jones (he/him) is an award winning choreographer, improvisor, author, performer, teacher, and curator. Drawn to collaborations as a way to move beyond boundaries and the known, he celebrates the political aspect of cooperation. Houston-Jones curated hugely influential platforms historicizing Black experimental dance and the impact of AIDS on dance.
Keith Hennessy (he/him) is a dancer, organizer, choreographer, and writer. Born in northern Ontario, he is a white hybrid of Irish diaspora, French and British colonialism. He lives in San Francisco/Yelamu since 1982 and tours internationally. His performances engage improvisation, ritual, collaboration, and protest as tools for investigating political realities.
Snowflake Towers (she/her) is a Two-Spirit performance artist of Tzeltal Mayan (Chiapas, MX) and Yaqui (Sonora, MX/Arizona) heritage. As an indigenous artist, professional dancer, drag artist, and entrepreneur she has produced drag events throughout California curating a vehicle for political, social, and cultural activism through the artistry of her radical queerness.
Kevin O’Connor (he/him) is a multidisciplinary artist working as a choreographer, dancer, improviser, circus artist and installation artist from Ontario, Canada and now based in the Bay area. He is involved in a decade-long artistic collective exploring participatory de-colonizing performances within polluted watersheds in Ontario.
jose e. abad’s (they/them) artistic practice is rooted in collaboration and community-engaged arts as a form of resistance and liberation. Through dance and storytelling, they examine the relationships between the self and our physical, social, and spiritual environments in order to rip apart the constricting narratives imposed by external forces and create space for the complex and nuanced existence of queer, black, and trans* people of color.
Caledonia Curry (she/her), whose work appears under the name Swoon, is a Brooklyn-based artist and is widely known as the first woman to gain large-scale recognition in the male-dominated world of street art.
Olalekan Jeyifous: The Frozen Neighborhoods
Upon the revelation that fossil fuels are driving climate change towards a global crisis, the U.S. government adopts a system of mobility credits to limit travel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In the free market, mobility credits were quickly bought up by the rich, relegating poor communities to centers of containment for those with few or no mobility credits. Nowhere in the country are the effects of this system registered more acutely than in New York City, particularly Brooklyn where these communities came to be known as The Frozen Neighborhoods or TFN for short.
As a result of their containment, The Frozen Neighborhoods became largely self-sufficient, developing various sustainable and advanced ecological technologies such as: rainwater harvesting, biofuel energy, aeroponic and aquaponic cooperative farms, freshwater marshes and idyllic gardens that integrate with the existing urban infrastructure.
This work will feature at MOMA in February of 2021, as part of a larger exhibition, Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America. https://press.moma.org/exhibition/reconstructions-2020/
Olalekan Jeyifous (b. 1977) received a BArch from Cornell University and is a Brooklyn-based Artist/Designer whose work often re-imagines social spaces around issues that explore the relationship between architecture, community, and the environment. His work has been exhibited at venues such as the Studio Museum in Harlem, the MoMA, and the Guggenheim Bilbao. He is a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellow, and has received grants from the New York State Council and the Brooklyn Arts Council. He has recently completed artist residencies with the Drawing Center’s Open Sessions program, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center. In addition to his extensive exhibition history, he has spent over a decade creating large-scale artwork for a variety of public spaces.
Kristen Kosmas (a Co-Commission with On the Boards (Seattle) and The Chocolate Factory (NYC)): attend the opening
In 2021, On the Boards and The Chocolate Factory will co-commission Kristen Kosmas, Seattle-based artist, writer, and performer, to create an intimate performance series through exchanges using the postal service. Kosmas’ work takes various forms and performance tactics, but at the center is the creation of true intimacy, both conceptual and aesthetically-formally. attend the opening utilizes handmade small-scale collage works, unprompted, that Kosmas mails as gifts, performances, and conversation exchanges to individuals of her choosing. These works form a tactile accumulation of personal connections and a record of the shifting narrative of the global pandemic. This co-commissioning partnership between On the Boards, The Chocolate Factory, and Kristen Kosmas is designed to facilitate one-to-one, personal, analogue human connections, in a moment of prolonged physical isolation and digital exhaustion, via the US Postal Service and will conclude with a published book of the project.
Two further artists (TBC) will be commissioned with Onassis’ support as part of a larger series of postal-driven artworks that exist between visual art and performance.
Kristen Kosmas has had new works commissioned by the Chocolate Factory (NYC), On the Boards (Seattle), Performance Space 122 (NYC), The Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf (NYC), Seattle University's SITE Specific, Dixon Place (NYC), and the New City Theater (Seattle). Her work has been presented in Seattle, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and in New York City at numerous venues including the Chocolate Factory, PS 122, La Mama, Dixon Place, Prelude Festival, Barbès, the Ontological/Hysteric Downstairs Series, and the Poetry Project. Her play Hello Failure was published by Ugly Duckling Presse; her multi-voice performance text This From Cloudland appears in issue #4 of PLAY A Journal of Plays; The Mayor of Baltimore + Anthem, There There, and The People’s Republic of Valerie, Living Room Edition were published by 53rd State Press; and her play APEX appears in 15 Second Plays Curated by the Debate Society published by UDP.
Fei Liu: No Title; No Deed
No Title; No Deed will provide six months of financial assistance to low-wage, or unemployed individuals or families based in Central-Brooklyn. Kinetic art objects, visible in part through an online portal, will be placed inside the homes of the selected and consenting hosts. The objects generate income for the hosts in the form of rental and maintenance fees paid by the Foundation. The project reconfigures the ontology of art, exhibition space, and real estate while providing material support to families and individuals affected by Covid-19 and the economic recession, and challenges the limits of engagement of the cultural institution with the public. It asks: what is the role of privately funded organizations in times of crisis? What can the arts do?
Fei Liu 刘斐 is a New York-based Chinese designer, artist, and educator. Her art and research explores embodiment and telepresence, robotics, performance, civic engagement, and systems of care. She is a product designer at independent news organization, The Intercept, and an adjunct professor at Parsons MFA Design and Technology. She is a current artist-in-residence in collaboration with Bell Labs and New Museum. Previous residencies include Pioneer Works, NEW INC, and Akademie Schloss Solitude.
Nature Theater of Oklahoma: Uneasy Rider – A Voyage Through America on Two Wheels
In 1969, Easy Rider, an independent road drama about two bikers who travel across country captured the imagination of a generation of American movie-goers. The film explored the societal landscape, issues, and tensions in the United States during the 1960s, a violent and uncertain time that very much echoes the one we’re currently living through now.
Using this iconic American road movie as a jumping off point, Nature Theater of Oklahoma directors and motorcycle riders Kelly Copper and Pavol Liska propose to make an inspired epic journey across the country, stopping along the way to engage with strangers, locals, and fellow travelers – hoping in the course of this adventure to discover something revelatory of the moment we’re all collectively living through, and find some connection to a country from which they feel themselves increasingly disconnected and estranged.
Nature Theater of Oklahoma is an award-winning New York art and performance enterprise under the direction of Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper. With each new project, we attempt to set an impossible challenge for ourselves, the audience, and our collaborators — working from inside the codes and confines of established genres and exploding them. No two projects are formally the same, but the work is always full of humor, earnestness, rigor, and the audience plays an essential role -- whether as spectators or - just as often - as participants in the work. Using readymade material, found space, gifted properties, cosmic accident, extreme formal manipulation and plain hard work — Nature Theater of Oklahoma makes art to affect a shift in the perception of everyday reality that extends beyond the site of performance and into the world in which we live.
Kaneza Schaal: KLII
KLII exorcises the ghost of King Leopold II using Mark Twain’s King Leopold’s Soliloquy published in 1905, a fictional monologue written after Twain’s visit to Congo Free State. The performance considers the residue of colonialism in our everyday lives. Drawing on archival footage from Belgian filmmaker André Cauvin’s documentary Bwana Kitoko, Schaal repossesses the colonial aesthetics, merging traditional East African design to create a heightened visual persona. KLII is an odyssey through the intricate web of cross continental relations that shape our understandings of self and nation.
This work is co-commissioned by the Walker Art Center, Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center and REDCAT.
Kaneza Schaal is a New York City based theater artist. Schaal’s recent awards and fellowships include a 2019 United States Artists Fellowship, SOROS Art Migration and Public Space Fellowship, and 2018 Ford Foundation Art For Justice Bearing Witness Award. Her piece JACK & showed in BAM’s 2018 Next Wave Festival, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and with its co-commissioners Walker Arts Center, REDCAT, On the Boards, Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, and Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. Schaal’s piece CARTOGRAPHY premiered at The Kennedy Center in January 2019, later touring to The New Victory Theater and Abu Dhabi Arts Center. In July 2019 she premiered a dance work, MAZE, at The Shed in NYC. Most recently, she directed Bryce Dessner’s TRIPTYCH (Eyes of One on Another), which premiered at LA Philharmonic, The Power Center in Ann Arbor, MI, BAM Opera House and Holland Festival.
Andrew Schneider: The Stars (working title)
An immersive planetarium. 100,000 individual points of light - each containing a memory. A constellation of stories. A literal galaxy of humanity. The Stars (working title) reframes our nowness on a cosmic scale. How do we remain present in space? How do we remain present in time? How do we collectively grieve when we can’t come together as a community? How do we say goodbye? How will we remember?
This experiential environment traces how you got to be right here, right now, from the birth of the universe, to the formation of the stars, to you showing up in this building today. Crafted for a single audience member at a time, the experience includes stories from within the community it is presented—in an environment that focuses our attention to the borders of our own perception.
These times are uncertain for most of us.
Most times are uncertain for some of us.
No times are uncertain for none of us.
Andrew Schneider is an OBIE award-winning, Drama Desk nominated performer, writer, and interactive-electronics artist creating original works for theater, dance, sound, video, and installation since 2003. “If theater at its core is humans telling stories about ourselves to each other, then I hope it is in the service of getting better at being human.”
In March of 2020 Andrew premiered the choreographic work »remains« commissioned by the Sasha Waltz & Guests company at Radialsystem in Berlin, Germany.
Andrew’s original performance work in NYC includes NERVOUS/SYSTEM (2018 – BAM Next Wave Festival) AFTER (2018 – Under the Radar Festival, The Public Theater) YOUARENOWHERE (2015 OBIE award – The Invisible Dog, 2016 Drama Desk nom – 3LD); DANCE/FIELD (2014 – Dance Roulette), TIDAL (2013 – River to River festival); and WOW+FLUTTER (2010 – The Chocolate Factory Theater) among others.
He is a recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists award (2020).
Zachary James Watkins
“I want to create a work that encapsulates my diverse concerns and practices, intended for both live and remote experiences. I am concerned with but not limited to exploring artistic mentorship, promoting and empowering diverse communities of artists, collaboration across disciplines, instrument design, harmonic just intoned intervals, noise, site specificity, improvisation, composition, recording/ documentation and human rights.
Radio Art is one of the original modern sound arts. It is intended for remote listening and due to the physical nature of sound and hearing, is designed to explore narrative, language, time and space through vibration. It is an inherently intimate form, one suited for a time in which other forms of intimacy are constrained. I am a member at Santo Recording, an Oakland, California-based cooperative recording studio that would serve as a base for collaboration, workshop, documentation and performance during this project.”
Zachary James Watkins studied composition with Janice Giteck, Jarrad Powell, Robin Holcomb and Jovino Santos Neto at Cornish College. In 2006, Zachary received an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College where he studied with Chris Brown, Fred Frith, Alvin Curran and Pauline Oliveros. Zachary has received commissions from Cornish College of The Arts, The Microscores Project, the Beam Foundation, sfsound, Kronos and the Seattle Chamber Players among others. His 2006 composition Suite for String Quartet was awarded the Paul Merritt Henry Prize for Composition and has subsequently been performed at the Labs 25th Anniversary Celebration, the Labor Sonor Series at Kule in Berlin Germany and in Seattle WA, as part of the 2nd Annual Town Hall New Music Marathon featuring violist Eyvind Kang. Zachary has performed in numerous festivals across the United States, Mexico and Europe.
ABOUT THE JURY
Florian Malzacher is an independent performing arts curator, dramaturge and writer. 2013 - 2017 he was artistic director of Impulse Theater Festival (Germany), 2006 - 2012 co-programmer of the multidisciplinary arts festival steirischer herbst (Austria). He (co-)curated numerous events, mostly with political inclinations like the 170 hours marathon camp “Truth is Concrete” on artistic strategies in politics (Graz, 2012), the performative exhibition “Appropriations” (Ethnological Museum Berlin, 2014), the congress “Artist Organisations International” (HAU Berlin, 2015), “Sense of Possibility” on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the revolution (St. Petersburg, 2017), or “Training for the Future” (with Jonas Staal, 2019). He (co)edited several books, e.g. on the theatre companies Forced Entertainment (2004), Rimini Protokoll (2008), and Nature Theater of Oklahoma (2019). Among his publications are Truth is concrete. A Handbook for Artistic Strategies in Real Politics“ (2014), Not Just a Mirror. Looking for the Political Theatre of Today (2015), Empty Stages, Crowded Flats. Performativity as Curatorial Strategy (2017), and “Gesellschaftsspiele. Politisches Theater heute” (2020). He is based in Berlin.
Claudia La Rocco
Claudia La Rocco’s work explores hybridity and improvisation, moving between poetry, prose, and performance. Her publications include the selected writings The Best Most Useless Dress (Badlands Unlimited), the pamphlet Quartet (Ugly Duckling Presse), and the novel petit cadeau (published in print, digital, and live editions by The Chocolate Factory theater). She is half of animals & giraffes, an experiment in multidisciplinary improvisation that has released the albums July (Edgetone Records) and Landlocked Beach (Creative Sources). She edited I Don’t Poem: An Anthology of Painters (Off the Park Press) and Dancers, Buildings and People in the Streets, the catalogue for Danspace Projectʼs PLATFORM 2015, for which she was guest artist curator. La Rocco has been a columnist for Artforum, a cultural critic for WNYC New York Public Radio, and from 2005-2015 was a critic and reporter for The New York Times. She is Editorial Director of Open Space, SFMOMA’s live and online commissioning platform.
Larry Ossei-Mensah uses contemporary art as a vehicle to redefine how we see ourselves and the world around us. The Ghanaian-American curator and cultural critic has organized exhibitions and programs at commercial and nonprofit spaces around the globe from New York City to Rome featuring artists such as Firelei Baez, Allison Janae Hamilton, Brendan Fernandes, Ebony G. Patterson, Modou Dieng, Glenn Kaino, Joiri Minaya and Stanley Whitney to name a few. Moreover, Ossei-Mensah has actively documented cultural happenings featuring the most dynamic visual artists working today such as Derrick Adams, Mickalene Thomas, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Federico Solmi, and Kehinde Wiley.
A native of The Bronx, Ossei-Mensah is also the co-founder of ARTNOIR, a 501(c)(3) and global collective of culturalists who design multimodal experiences aimed to engage this generation’s dynamic and diverse creative class. ARTNOIR endeavors to celebrate the artistry and creativity by Black and Brown artists around the world via virtual and in-person experiences. Ossei-Mensah is a contributor to the first-ever Ghanaian Pavilion for the 2019 Venice Biennial with an essay on the work of visual artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.
Ossei-Mensah is the former Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator at MOCAD in Detroit. He co-curated in 2019 with Dexter Wimberly the critically acclaimed exhibition at MOAD in San Francisco Coffee, Rhum, Sugar, Gold: A Postcolonial Paradox in Spring/Summer 2019. Ossei-Mensah currently serves as guest curator at BAM's Rudin Family Gallery. He will be co-curating with Omsk Social Club 7th Athens Biennale in Athens, Greece in 2021. Ossei-Mensah was named to Artnet’s 2020 Innovator List.
Ossei-Mensah has had recent profiles in such publications as the NY Times, Artsy, and Cultured Magazine, which recently named him one of seven curators to watch in 2019. Follow him on Instagram/Twitter at @youngglobal.
Karen Wong is the Deputy Director of the New Museum, a mid-size museum renowned for its entrepreneurial platforms and mission: new art and new ideas. She co-founded the initiatives IDEAS CITY (2010), a mutable program exploring the future of cities with the belief that art and culture are essential to our metropolises, NEW INC (2014), the first museum-led incubator for art, technology and design and ONX Studio (2020), a mixed reality accelerator and exhibition space.
Wong sits on the nonprofit boards of Apex for Youth, a mentoring and education program for under-served Asians, David Byrne’s Arbutus Foundation focused on performative education projects, National Sawdust, a new music performance venue, Rhizome, a platform for born-digital art, and Plus Pool, a water-filtering public pool in the East River. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s GSAPP.
Prodromos Tsiavos is the Head of Digital Development and Innovation at the Onassis Group. He is currently teaching and researching Legal and Ethical Aspects of Data Science at the Athens University of Economics and Business. Prodromos has worked for the National Hellenic Research Foundation (National Documentation Centre), the European Commission, Oslo University and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He read law and Information Systems in Athens and London and holds a PhD in Law and Information Systems from the LSE. Prodromos has worked as an adviser for the Greek Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, the Special Secretary for Digital Convergence, as well as public sector bodies and private companies in the cultural and creative industries. He has served as the Chair of the Administrative Council of the Greek Industrial Property Organisation (OBI) and has founded the Hellenic Industrial Property Academy. Prodromos has provided legal advice for multiple European e-infrastructures and research infrastructures, including the setting up of the OpenAIRE Legal Entity, CLARIN, META-SHARE, EOSC, DARIAH, HELIX (Greek Digital Infrastructure for Research) etc. He has over 120 publications and talks on legal and business aspects of open technologies, digital content and IPR and innovation policy and strategy. Prodromos is the director of the Institute of IPR and Innovation at EPLO and the Chair of the Supervisory Board of the European Patent Academy (EPA).
About Onassis Foundation
Onassis Foundation’s mission is and will always be human-centric. Since 1975, focusing on the fields of culture, health, and education, it creates the conditions, explores the ideas, and triggers the discussions that lead to a better society. Releasing the potential οf artists, scholars, and scientists, it has supported Greek programs in universities around the world; has granted more than 7,000 scholarships and research fellowships for postgraduate and doctorate studies; has continuously supported Special Education; has acquired the Cavafy Archive to ensure its openness and accessibility to researchers and the wider public; has rare book collections in the Onassis Library; has built and donated to the Greek State the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre (OCSC) and is currently building the much-needed Onassis National Transplant Center in Athens; has established Onassis USA (NY & LA), and last but not least, Onassis Stegi in Athens, a cultural center which hosts performances and activities across the whole spectrum of the arts from theatre, dance, music, cinema and the visual arts to the written word, with an emphasis on contemporary cultural expression. The Onassis Foundation believes in active citizens with bold ideas and optimistic dreams, and embraces process, research, study, experimentation, as well as the values of freedom, democracy and human rights.
About Onassis USA
Founded in 2000, Onassis USA was the first international affiliate of the Onassis Foundation. It is dedicated to culture, community, and education, with projects that can effectively inspire social change and justice across borders. By collaborating with Onassis Stegi in Athens and educational and cultural institutions throughout the Americas, Onassis USA presents theatrical and dance productions, art exhibits, conversations, lectures, and other initiatives, triggering discussions about democratic values, human rights, civil rights, and the ever-changing realities facing today’s citizens on a global scale.
For more information, please contact Blake Zidell at Blake Zidell & Associates: 917.572.2493, firstname.lastname@example.org.