Artspace and Nasty Women Connecticut are teaming up to present a one-night only live performance of Out There, a sci-fi rock opera that explores the role men are and could be playing in the women’s movement and our cultural reckoning of misogyny. Combining immersive video, stop animation, archival photographs and live music (guitars, synthesizers, song, rap, and live narrative), Princess will embody the fluidity and coherence of bodies that are gay, straight, queer, masculine and feminine, helping us carve intersectional entry points for these questions. Created by the psychedelic art-pop duo Princess, the performance is traveling to museums and art spaces across the country, but this is their only stop in Connecticut. For the occasion, we are excited to put their work in dialogue with local artists who have roots in New Haven, including Toto Kisaku, David Livingston and Attallah Sheppard.
In a time when we continue to feel and witness the oppressive impact of masculine toxicity– locally within the mind and body, and broadcast from other parts of the country– this event will explore how artists are creating spaces for communities to gather, identify the roots of these powers, and come to places of better understanding. These original performances will extend conversations around the patterned histories of bodily erasure and complicity within contemporary culture, which are the topics of Artspace’s current exhibition, In Plain Sight/Site, and Nasty Women Connecticut’s unjuried/uncensored exhibition Complicit – Erasure of the Body.
Presented in New Haven, a city known for its progressive liberal politics and blue state pride, this evening hopes to help us be honest about the questions and anxieties we might privately harbor around action and words. Is it every enlightened person’s duty to stand up alongside women to fight for their civil liberties? How might well intentioned people seeking to support the women’s rights unwittingly hijack positions of leadership? What does allyship look and sound like? Is there such a thing as empathic overreach? And how is unity required to destabilize institutions of power that perpetuate inequities based on the stereotypes and intersectionalities of gender, sexuality, race, age, class, mobility and religion?
Following the performances, we will hear from Princess and the local artists about their work, and open up into a group conversation.
- 3:30pm Doors open
- 4-4:30pm Short performances of 3 new works by Toto Kisaku, David Livingston and Attallah Sheppard
- 4:30-5:30pm Princess performs Out There (50 min running time)
- 5:30-6pm Artists + Community Talk Back
- 6-6:30pm The organizers invite everyone to stay and mingle/meet the artists
$10 in advance, $12 at the door.Purchase here.
Feeling generous? Please consider donating the cost of a ticket for a young patron when buying your ticket.
Princess is a performance art duo, a collaboration between Alexis Gideon and Michael O’Neill that uses music as the backbone of a multi-disciplinary practice. Princess was formed in 2004 in the Chicago DIY Performance space Texas Ballroom. The duo released a self-titled LP and performed until 2006 when they went on to pursue other paths, reuniting for this project in 2017. Out There’s science fiction narrative explores the power of the Divine Feminine through collaborations with JD Samson, visual artist Jennifer Meridian, and the band TEEN.
Toto Kisaku, is an award winning playwright, actor, director and producer of Congolese decent whose work explores how art can be used to combat systems of oppression and unite individuals around a care for human dignity even in spite of their different backgrounds and perspectives. He studied drama at the National Institute of Arts in Kinshasa, where he established the K-Mu Theater in 2003, and arrived in the United States in 2015, seeking political asylum, which he was granted. Since his arrival, Toto has explored the political tensions that reside in his native country and the U.S., working to understand how art might uplift survivors of trauma and serve as tools for imagining new futures. He is currently the Artist-in-Residence of the 2019 The International Festival of Arts & Ideas.
David Livingston works in sculpture, digital media, and performance, often placing his body in the center of his work to explore the cultural dynamics of what it means to occupy a body that is white, heteronormative and male. For his performances, he plays the role of a fictitious politician who runs for office, and vies for his publics’ interest and trust through campaign speeches. He ventriloquizes parts of real speeches delivered by Republicans, Democrats and Independent political leaders, to analyze and perform how certain words, jests and language-patterns are used to persuade, excite, dominate, polarize and unite voter groups. Livingston received his BFA from Kenyon College and his MFA from the Pratt Institute. He currently serves as Practitioner-in Residence at University of New Haven and an adjunct professor at Gateway Community College in Connecticut.
Attallah Sheppard is a spoken word poet, teacher, mother and community ‘artivist’ who makes work that explores stories of social justice to heal the human family. She is a founding member of Writer’s Block Ink, an educational arts nonprofit with the mission to “ignite social change on the page and the stage”, as well as Queen Code and Pretty Tough, two afterschool girls’ leadership groups whose mission is to build positive self-image and leadership skills. She currently serves as a college readiness teacher at Achievement First Amistad High School in New Haven, facilitates youth poetry workshops, mentors young entrepreneurs and a co-leader of Nasty Women Connecticut. She received a BA in Business Administration from Howard University in 2013, and holds the 2008 Poetry Out Loud Connecticut State Champion title.
Artspace is a visionary non-profit organization that fosters an appreciation for the vital role that artists play in improving quality of life, building community, and challenging the status quo. Our exhibitions and programs encourage experimentation, discovery, and lively civic discourse that transgress the gallery walls. Read more here.
Nasty Women Connecticut is a feminist arts organization that utilizes the arts to amplify the voices of all artists and creators through exhibitions, education and advocacy. Read more here.