Dwellings now — Searching for Imaginary Futures
Friday, June 25, 2021 | 9:30 - 11:00
Live discussion on Zoom; spoken in English. No ASL interpretation or translation will be offered for this event.
URSULA NEUERBURG-DENZER, EMILIE MONNET, FLOYD FAVEL, KAHENTE HORN-MILLER, JEN CRESSEY, LISA NDEJURU
Dwellings Now is a roundtable conversation plus website launch. The group had collaborated on a performance project “Dwellings – the Meaning, Loss, and Promise of Home for First and Other Peoples” between 2016 and 2019. Coming back together now will allow us to share, discuss and interrogate how the relationships to our dwellings have shifted, what we consider dwellings now, and to include thoughts on the many kinds of “Dwellings” we have been engaging with as extensions to the initial project, be they virtual space, community hubs, self-build housing, mind-space, expressive space, somatic space, performative space, contemplative space particularly within Indigenous frameworks.
Among the activities that took place under the Dwellings umbrella, the most expansive was Dwellings - a multi-location, multi-disciplinary performance event, developed with the artists who are participating in this proposed roundtable. Other projects branched out from there, conference visits, travel to several Indigenous communities, building of performance structures, and more. Dwellings, performed in April 2017 took place all over Concordia’s downtown campus and invited the audience to engage with an immersive performance environment that focused on a different type of dwelling, such as the womb as first dwelling, the village, life on the streets, prison, nomadic life, spaces of healing and imaginary futures. The project was meant to partake in the process of decolonization, and -if temporarily- the indigenization of Concordia’s downtown Campus, and -in the long run- to instill a sense of mutual understanding and respect in the participating and observing students and audience members. It seems befitting to revisit the questions and continued engagements the project brought up at this point when the pandemic has put so many of these topics under a new light.
At the intersection of theatre, performance and sound art, Émilie Monnet’s art practice is founded on collaborative processes of creation presented as interdisciplinary theatre or immersive performance experiences. She is current artist-in-residence at Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui in Montreal and upcoming at théâtre Espace Go. Her work was programmed at Festival TransAmériques and the National Arts Centre. She frequently collaborates with artists in South America. In 2016, she founded Indigenous Contemporary Scene (ICS), a nomadic platform for the presentation of live arts by & creative exchanges for Indigenous artists. Both Anishnaabe/Algonquin and French, she is now living in Tiohtià:ke / Mooniyaang / Montréal, and is the artistic director of Onishka Productions.
Floyd P. Favel is a theatre theorist, director, essayist, based in Saskatchewan. He studied theatre in Denmark at the Tukak Teatret, a school for Inuit and Sami People and in Italy with Jerzy Grotowski. He is the curator of the Chief Poundmaker Museum (winner of the 2018 Indigenous Tourism Award). Since 2018 he is the director of the Poundmaker Indigenous Performance Festival, a global Indigenous festival that is multi-cultural in presentation. The premise of the festival is that Indigenous theatre is an artistic genre that is open to all People and not defined by ‘colonial identities’. In 2020 he won the Saskatchewan Multi-cultural Leadership Award for his work.
Jen Cressey (M.A. Individualized Program, Concordia University) is a theatre artist, teacher, and practice-based researcher living in Tiohtià:ke/ Montreal. She directs, devises, and co-creates site-responsive performance. Her recent works include The Streets segment in Dwellings, which traversed a campus basement, the little life of we, a roving performance for Nuit Blanche, and Keeper, an intimate duet about the weight of memory. Jen’s research uses theatre actor training exercises as methods to attune attention and perception towards somatic engagement with sites, to move and commune with, to reify, and to disrupt them. She is currently interested in ecological approaches to performance creation.
Dr. Kahente Horn-Miller (Kahente means “she walks ahead”) (Kanien:keha’ka/Mohawk), mother to four daughters and grandmother, is Associate Professor in the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University and Assistant Vice-President, Indigenous Initiatives. As an active member of her community, Dr. Horn-Miller is a figurative bridge builder as she engages with issues that are relevant to her work and academic interests such as Indigenous methodologies, Indigenous women, identity politics, colonization, Indigenous governance, and consensus-based decision making. Her governance work and community-based research involves interpreting Haudenosaunee culture and bringing new life to old traditions.
Dr. Lisa Ndejuru is a psychotherapist, psychodramatist and theatre practitioner. Her research- creation explores survival and life, stories and silence, persecution, genocide, war and dislocation through deep listening, storytelling and play. She was one of the 2017 Concordia public scholars and the first John F. Lemieux fellow for genocide studies in 2018. Currently a 2020 Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto’ faculty of information, Lisa aims to activate an archive of pre-colonial Ibitekerezo wisdom tales. Lisa co-leads Concordia’s president anti racism task-force subcommittee on student services.
Ulla Neuerburg, PhD, born and raised in Cologne, Germany, is Associate Professor of Theatre at Concordia University. In her research and practice she attempts to connect her commitment to ecology, de-colonization, history, and feminism with her work in somatic engagement (CATR working group co-hosted with Christine Bellerose), rasaboxes, and the performance of space and place, particularly in the meeting of Indigenous and non-indigenous world views. She co-founded two companies, Theater Zerbrochene Fenster in Berlin, and Richard Schechner's East Coast Artist, NY, volunteers regularly at the Bread & Puppet Theatre, and has published widely in English and German.