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KIN/NO Series, A Gathering of First Nations

by Bonnie Rosenstock
January 13, 2019
Performance Space New York
150 First Avenue
(Between 9th and 10th streets)
New York, NY 10009
212-477-5829
KIN* is part of First Nations Dialogues New York/Lenapehoking**, Indigenous-led performances, discussions, workshops, meetings and ceremony taking place in multiple venues throughout New York City from January through May. The Kin/NO Series subcategory featured three performances, one workshop and three conversations by five First Nations artists from Australia and local NYC-based elder, playwright Muriel Miguel, from the Kuna (San Blas islands off the coast of Panama) and Rappahannock (Virginia) Nations. The Brooklyn-born Miguel is a founder of the Native American feminist collective Spiderwoman Theater.

Many of the themes deal with the transmutation of trauma, grief and healing through movement, process, ceremony and language. I attended two very different performances in the NO Series. Joshua Pether (“Jupiter Orbiting,” January 5) is a performance artist of Kalkadoon heritage, but lives and works in Noongar country in Western Australia. His U.S. premiere movement-based work is influenced by his two cultural histories: his heritage and psychological disability. Entering Pether World is a vertiginous, discombobulating affair in which we are voyeurs to his internal disjointed, dream-like states. Pether jumped from one activity or episode to another, sometimes calm, playful and childlike, and at other times, watchful and unsettling, as if he were trying to work out, understand or explore his traumas.

At first, he was dressed in a white, tight-fitting one-piece outfit with matching gloves and cap, but during the 45-minute performance, he peeled down layers to eventually stripping down to underwear. He played with Lego or Lego-like constructions and other small figures, which were on a cloth-draped table. Then, wearing a pink wig, he walked around in an oversized, inflated bright pink flamingo pool float. A lamp and a camera projected the table objects he played with onto the back wall. He entangled himself in a cord, disentangled himself by rolling around the stage in a frenzy. Transfixed, he watched a color video of eye-splitting anime action figures and superheroes careening and fighting across the screen. The words flashed: When did this start? What’s the problem? What’s it like? He put on a horse mask. He videoed himself on his back, legs quaking in the air. Removed mask. Shook body in crawling position. Covered his now-naked body with the tablecloth and slowly exited stage.

Mariaa Randall (“Footwork/Technique,” January 10) belongs to the Bundjalung and Yaegl people of the Far North Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Her performance featured contemporary Aboriginal footwork and dance legacies creating art in motion, a form of land acknowledgement, a reference to time and comment on colonization. For the first part of the 80-minute piece, the audience was a participant. We took off our shoes and went onto the stage. Randall asked us to go around the large circle we formed and tell each other our name, where we were from and what our “mob” was, Australian Aboriginal English for your people or extended family. In this way, I met audience members from Australia, who came here to participate in other programs or lend support to their artist friends and colleagues. We drew our remembrance of water on a post-it size note and explained it to another person. We danced out our water drawing as a solo, then in a long winding line, holding onto the shoulder of the person in front of us, we continued out solo dance in slow, loud or fast movements. Then Randall placed black tape on a large part of the stage floor to create a pattern. We added our own pieces of tape in the shape of our water drawing. The resulting design reminded me of the Nazca Lines in southern Peru or a Native American petroglyph. After a short break, Randall returned and poured bowls of colored powder, primarily red, yellow, blue, white and green, around the design. Then she shuffled, kicked and stamped through the colors, blending and merging them, until they formed an astounding burst of color. A moment of silence and reflection.

*First Nations Dialogues: Kin. Curated by Emily Johnson. Presented by Performance Space New York in partnership with BlakDance and American Realness. Tickets to all KIN performances, conversations and workshops are free for First Nations people. For a full schedule of “First Nations Dialogues: KIN,” visit PerformanceSpaceNewYork.org.

**Lenapehoking is the historical homeland of the Lenape people. We were reminded before the shows that the ground beneath where we were standing in the East Village is sacred Lenape land, and we honor it. Lenapehoking encompassed New York City as well as New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, western Long Island and the Lower Hudson Valley.
First Nations Dialogues: KIN<br>Curated by Emily Johnson. Presented by Performance Space New York in partnership with BlakDance and American Realness. First Nations Dialogues: KIN<br>Curated by Emily Johnson. Presented by Performance Space New York in partnership with BlakDance and American Realness. Mariaa Randall 'Footwork/Technique' (U.S. Premiere).

First Nations Dialogues: KIN
Curated by Emily Johnson. Presented by Performance Space New York in partnership with BlakDance and American Realness. First Nations Dialogues: KIN
Curated by Emily Johnson. Presented by Performance Space New York in partnership with BlakDance and American Realness. Mariaa Randall "Footwork/Technique" (U.S. Premiere).

Photo © & courtesy of Bonnie Rosenstock


First Nations Dialogues: KIN<br>Curated by Emily Johnson. Presented by Performance Space New York in partnership with BlakDance and American Realness. First Nations Dialogues: KIN<br>Curated by Emily Johnson. Presented by Performance Space New York in partnership with BlakDance and American Realness. Mariaa Randall 'Footwork/Technique' (U.S. Premiere).

First Nations Dialogues: KIN
Curated by Emily Johnson. Presented by Performance Space New York in partnership with BlakDance and American Realness. First Nations Dialogues: KIN
Curated by Emily Johnson. Presented by Performance Space New York in partnership with BlakDance and American Realness. Mariaa Randall "Footwork/Technique" (U.S. Premiere).

Photo © & courtesy of Bonnie Rosenstock


First Nations Dialogues: KIN<br>Curated by Emily Johnson. Presented by Performance Space New York in partnership with BlakDance and American Realness. Joshua Pether 'Jupiter Orbiting' (U.S. Premiere).

First Nations Dialogues: KIN
Curated by Emily Johnson. Presented by Performance Space New York in partnership with BlakDance and American Realness. Joshua Pether "Jupiter Orbiting" (U.S. Premiere).

Photo © & courtesy of Rachel Papo


First Nations Dialogues: KIN<br>Curated by Emily Johnson. Presented by Performance Space New York in partnership with BlakDance and American Realness. Joshua Pether 'Jupiter Orbiting' (U.S. Premiere).

First Nations Dialogues: KIN
Curated by Emily Johnson. Presented by Performance Space New York in partnership with BlakDance and American Realness. Joshua Pether "Jupiter Orbiting" (U.S. Premiere).

Photo © & courtesy of Rachel Papo


First Nations Dialogues: KIN<br>Curated by Emily Johnson. Presented by Performance Space New York in partnership with BlakDance and American Realness. Mariaa Randall 'Footwork/Technique' (U.S. Premiere).

First Nations Dialogues: KIN
Curated by Emily Johnson. Presented by Performance Space New York in partnership with BlakDance and American Realness. Mariaa Randall "Footwork/Technique" (U.S. Premiere).

Photo © & courtesy of Ian Douglas

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