Jaamil Olawale Kosoko
“What does it mean to defend the dead? To tend to the Black dead and dying: to tend to the Black person, to Black people, always living in the push toward our death?” Christina Sharpe, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being
With majesty, opulence, and agency, Séancers examines how the American racialized body uses psychic, spiritual, and theoretical strategies to shapeshift through loss and oppression. This journey into the surreal and fantastical states of the Black imagination traverses the “fatal” axis of abstraction, illegibility, and gender complexity with a collapsing of lyrical poetry, movement forms, and discursive performance.
Jaamil Olawale Kosoko is a Bessie Award nominated Nigerian–American curator, poet, and performance artist. Séancers includes sound artist Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste and video installation by Andrew Amorim.
Each performance will feature a guest Séancer:
Thu, May 10th – Brenda Dixon Gottschild PhD
Fri, May 11th – Sosena Solomon
Sat, May 12th – Christina Knight PhD
Join us for these ancillary events:
Post-Show May 11: Talkback Onstage w/ Sosena Solomon in FringeArts Theater
Pre-Show May 12: 6:30pm Screening of White State | Black Mind: The Making of #negrophobia
The Saturday at 8pm performance will be audio described for patrons who are blind or have low vision.
Séancers was created with commission support from Abrons Arts Center and Danspace Project with additional funding support from MAP Fund, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Princeton Arts Fellowship, and the Jerome Foundation.
Associate Producer/Projects Manager Kimya Imani Jackson Lighting Design Serena Wong Set/Costume Design Jaamil Olawale Kosoko Set Decor/Construction Devin N. Morris Dramaturgy Emily Reilly Associate Costume Design & Fabrication Simone Duff Video Installation Andrew Amorim
$29 general / $20.30 members
$15 student & 25-and-under
Featured Photo by Andrew Amorim
Read our interview with Jaamil Olawale Kosoko here!
Setting the fugitive experience afforded Black people on fire with majesty, opulence, and agency, Séancers is a nonlinear auto-ethnographic examination of how the American racialized body uses psychic, spiritual, and theoretical strategies to shapeshift through socio-politically charged fields of loss and oppression. The work collapses lyrical poetry, psychic movement forms and discursive performance tactics to investigate concepts of grief, resurrection and paranormal activity. Interrogating issues related to American history and colonialism, Séancers journeys into the surreal and fantastical states of the Black imagination to traverse the “fatal” axis of abstraction, illegibility and gender complexity. Séancers locates itself inside the spiritual, emotional, and theoretical world with the live performances of sound artist Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste and experimental performance artist and Kosoko, and a special guest artist-theorist who helps frame the witnessing of each performance.
Séancers builds on Kosoko’s internationally acclaimed work #negrophobia, which has toured internationally following its premiere at Abrons Arts Center as part of American Realness. On #negrophobia, Siobhan Burke in The New York Times wrote, “Mr. Kosoko transformed the concrete space into a tumultuous shrine to dead black men,” and Scottish newspaper The Herald described the work as, “gut wrenching and personal.”
About the Artists
Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, originally from Detroit, MI, is a Bessie Award nominated Nigerian-American curator, poet, and performance artist. He is a 2017 Princeton Arts Fellow, a 2017 Jerome Artists in Residence at Abrons Arts Center, a 2017 APAP Leadership Fellow, and a 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Fellow. He is a 2016 Gibney Dance boo-koo resident artist and a recipient of a 2017 and 2016 USArtists International Award from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. His work has been presented throughout Europe and the United States. He has created original roles in the performance works of visual artist Nick Cave, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Keely Garfield Dance, Miguel Gutierrez and The Powerful People, Headlong Dance Theater, among others. Kosoko’s poems, interviews, and essays can be found published in The American Poetry Review, Poems Against War, The Dunes Review, Silo, Detroit Research v2, Dance Journal (PHL), the Broad Street Review (PHL), Movement Research Performance Journal, and Critical Correspondence (NYC). He lectures, speaks, and performs internationally. His piece #negrophobia is currently touring throughout Europe having appeared in major festivals including Moving in November (Finland), TakeMeSomewhere (UK), SICK! (UK), Tanz im August (Berlin), Oslo Internasjonale Teaterfestival (Norway), Zurich MOVES! (Switzerland), Beursschouwburg (Belgium) and Spielart Festival (Munich). Visit Jaamil.com for more information.
Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste is a Bessie-nominated composer, designer and performer, living and working in Brooklyn, NY. A current Issue Project Room Artist-In-Residence, his work, through the lens of precarious labor, complicates notions of industry, identity, and environment and the implications of the intersections of such phenomena. He is a founding member of performance collective, Wildcat!, and frequently collaborates with performers and fine artists, including Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, André M. Zachery, and Yanira Castro/a canary torsi. He has presented at the Brooklyn Museum, Newark Museum, Under The Radar at The Public Theater, The Studio Museum In Harlem, National Sawdust, The Jam Handy (Detroit), Tanz Im August at Hau3 (Berlin), American Realness at Abrons, Knockdown Center, Gibney Dance, FringeArts (Philadelphia), Judson Church, Stoa Cultural Center (Helsinki), MIT, Arts East New York, JACK, Painted Bride Art Center (Philadelphia), University Settlement, Harlem Stage, as well as on Dazed Digital, Complex, and Boiler Room.
Emily Reilly is British/Irish performance maker working across a number of different disciplines. She has created live art events in the U.S. and internationally at a variety of venues and found spaces including (selected): The Project Arts Centre, Dublin; The Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin; The Tron Theatre, Glasgow; The Invisible Dog Art Center; The Baryshnikov Arts Center, and The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center in NYC. In 2011 her production of Minute After Midday was awarded a prestigious Fringe First Award at The Edinburgh Festival. She is part of the team that organizes and curates CATCH performance series. She is also an alumna of the Urban Bush Women’s Summer Leadership Institute. M.F.A, The Yale School of Drama.