NI’JA WHITSON: Under the Water and In the Dark
Theatre Academy Helsinki has organised a lecture series titled ‘Decolonising Embodiment’ held on Zoom during the autumn 2021. The last lecture on Wednesday 8.12.2021 at 18.00 (EET) is opened to the public in co-operation with the University of Huddersfield (UK) and The Center for Everything (FIN). The lecturer is Ni’Ja Whitson. Ni’Ja Whitson is a United States Artist Fellow, Creative Capital and two-time “Bessie” Award winning, Queer Nonbinary Trans/mogrifier, artist and futurist, wound and word worker.
The theatrical canon has increasingly been called into question in the performing arts. However, it has thus far not addressed in detail the canon of performing techniques, which can be understood as the embodied canon of theatre – whether we consider ballet, Stanislavski or release technique.
One focus of the lecture series is to address first, how deeply embedded in the body the process of (neo)colonization is. Second, what are the possibilities of deconstructing it and offering alternatives. At the same time, many of the central techniques of performing (in the European context) are embedded in colonial structures and the lecture series aims to critically examine the place of some of these techniques in the embodied canon of theatre. Even though the use of the term ‘decolonising’ has been called into question in many critical discourses (f.e. Tuck and Yang 2012), from the point of performing arts, the threads of land and body and the extension of body onto land, merit questioning what are the colonial ties of bodily techniques perpetuated in performing arts in the (so-called) West.
The lecture is organized jointly by Theatre Academy at the University of the Arts Helsinki and The Research Centre for Performance Practices (ReCePP) at the University of Huddersfield (UK). The lecture is also part of a series of discussions organized by The Center for Everything called ‘Discussions on Everything’.
UNDER THE WATER AND IN THE DARK
A rumination on the workings of the metaphysical, astral, spiritual, and not yet in their practice. Whitson asks what the futures of embodiment and/as technology offer artistry engaged in fugitive and dangerous making.
Whitson engages a critical intersection of a sacred and conceptual transdisciplinarity in Black, Queer, and Trans-embodiedness. They have been referred to as “majestic” by The New York Times and recognized by Brooklyn Magazine as a culture influencer.
Whitson is a sought-after speaker, presenter, masterclass facilitator and conversationalist whose offerings have been shared among notable institutions and arts organizations: Wesleyan University, Princeton, Cornell, LAX Festival, Movement Research, Dance NYC symposium, a 2020 keynote of the Collegium for African Diasporic Dance conference, and UNESCO. Writing credits include Critical Black Futures: Speculative Theories and Explorations, Dance Research Journal, and an upcoming anthology on Lovecraft Country.
The lecture will be held on Zoom. The lecture is free, but we kindly ask you to register in advance by 7. 12. at 18.00 EET.
You can register directly at https://forms.gle/tGZm3WnJEQVbxjKA6.
By registering, you can attend the lecture on Zoom. The link will be opened on the day of the lecture. You can also follow the lecture directly on this event page. You can only take part in the discussion through Zoom. We open the link on the day of the lecture at 17.45 EET after which you can arrive at any time.
17.45 Zoom link opens
18.00 The host Harold Hejazi introduces the lecture series followed by a few words from Dr. Ben Spatz from University of Huddersfield
18.05 The lecture
19.15 End of session
The Center for Everything is committed to the principles of safer space. This means respect for all genders, sexualities, backgrounds, bodies and abilities. Racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic or other oppressive behavior is not allowed.
If you have any concerns, you can contact Samee Haapa during the lecture on Zoom and before and after the lecture by sending a message to office(at)centerforeverything.com