The Portal

a dialectic of dark and light

Jaamil Kosoko. Photograph by Umi Akiyoshi.

What is the historical data, aesthetic memory laid within a particular site? How do we both claim and shed this skin as an act of radical acceptance? How do we simultaneously lift and lean into the weight of history?

Opening our festival, performance artist Jaamil Olawale Kosoko revisits a curatorial score from his Black Male Revisited project, originally presented at Danspace Project in 2014. In collaboration with scholar Brenda Dixon-Gottschild and sonic artist Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste, Kosoko crafts an evening-length performance, improvisational jam and celebration at Judson Church that blurs the line between audience and performer. In an attempt to honor and trouble the historical site of Judson Memorial Church as a location of worship and experimentation, this evening interrogates the site’s history, looking to rhythm, trance, dance and music as resonant clearings.

Taking Judson Memorial Church as a site embedded with a repository of memories, our interest is to tease out the ghosts held within the Judson Dance Theater history, and offer spaces of healing and exchange. The healing, in this instance, is meant to address the bodies and presences that have been omitted from the postmodern dance context. The omission of Africanist influences on the postmodern aesthetic, and the erasure of black experimental artists working during this time hold particular resonance in Kosoko’s, Gottschild’s, and Toussaint-Baptiste's embodied research.

— Beth Gill and Cori Olinghouse