Black Spatial Relics presents their fourth convening, ANEW CONJURING: Stirring Up Black Virtuosic Hope, livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network from Thursday 27 July to Sunday 30 July 2023.
Artist and scholar Dr. Omi Osun Joni L Jones names virtuosity as “the paradox of humility and fearlessness” in her work Theatrical Jazz: Performance, Àṣẹ, and the Power of the Present Moment. Black radical performance makers are rooted in what Jones refers to as the practices of ensemble- and solo-based virtuosity. Black radical performance makers know when spirit is calling us forward for moments of virtuosic practice to be lights and beacons in our communities. These calls are a series of calls from and to the wilderness to gather, remember and dream. In this convening space, we are making a new thing together. We are conjuring ourselves and our conspiration anew.
The Fourth Black Spatial Relics Convening is a constellation of artist talks, ceremonies, a digital performance showcase, and varied conjures/facilitations on Black virtuosic hope building in Philadelphia and beyond with virtual and in-person programming curated by Arielle Julia Brown. Highlighting sacred local cultural institutions including the Colored Girls Museum, the Discovery Center, and a ritual tour across the city of Philadelphia, this gathering is a space for a stirring up of a new hope, inspired entirely by the study of our ancestral and living leaders who have built for themselves and their communities a daily practice of Black virtuosic hope.
This year’s convening features a critical lineup of local and globally engaged performance artists including Dr. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, Germaine Ingram, Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, Hollerin’ Space, Julia Mallory, Awilda Sterling Duprey, Sonja Dumas, AZ Espinoza, nikolai mckenzie ben rema, Monèt Marshall, Candice D’Meza, LaRissa Rogers, Arielle John, and others, giving honor and praise to Black dignity, love, pride, faith, resilience, devotion, leadership, and vision.
We are holding space for the stirring up of hope.
Hope is a hard word and, in fact, sentiment to spend time with. In the last few years alone, in fact in the last few months, there are endless reasons to durationally exist in and with hopelessness and despair. As dear colleagues and friends have reminded me over the years, hope has been weaponized against us. We have many valid reasons to distrust hope. We shore it up, we are given it, and then we are let down again as we are sent tumbling into despair and grief. And even with all of this, we are wondering, what happens to us as individuals and as a people when we decide we do not need hope? We must not let toxic positivity culture and the co-opting of our life force by political campaigns and institutions trick us into believing that we do not need hope in order to get free. Hope may not endure. It may only flicker. It may only be a fleeting kindling, but it is a kindling that our spirits, bodies, movements, art, and communities need in order that we can have dreaming and forward movement.
This convening is a space to acknowledge and hold space and tenderness for ourselves.
This is a revival.
Come prepared to receive the spirit.
Thursday 27 July
3 p.m. – 5 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. EDT (Philadelphia, UTC -4)
Thursday, 27 July 27 from 6 to 8 p.m., there will be an opening ceremony at the Colored Girls Museum featuring an opening meditation from Ursula Rucker, a performance by Germaine Ingram, and keynote by Dr. Omi Osun Joni L Jones. Due to space constraints this event is only viewable online.
Friday 26 July
2021-2022 Artist Talk
11:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 1:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 2:30 p.m. EDT (Philadelphia, UTC -4)
Director and curator Arielle Julia Brown will introduce the 2021-2022 artist talk featuring process-based reflections from Awilda Sterling Duprey, Sonja Dumas, Candice D’Meza, AZ Espinoza, Arielle John, Monèt Marshall, nikolai mckenzie ben rema, and LaRissa Rogers shared recently at the Black Spatial Relics Artist Retreat streamed on YouTube and on Zoom.
A Virtual Series of Experimental Performances
1:30 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 3:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 4:30 p.m. EDT (Philadelphia, UTC -4)
Director and curator Arielle Julia Brown will introduce a virtual series of experimental performances from 2021-2022 artists in residence Awilda Sterling Duprey, Sonja Dumas, Candice D’Meza, AZ Espinoza, Arielle John, Monèt Marshall, nikolai mckenzie ben rema, and LaRissa Rogers.
Sunday 30 July
2021-2022 Artist Talk
9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. EDT (Philadelphia, UTC -4)
The convening will close with a gathering at the Discovery Center featuring an opening invocation by Hollerin Space, a mutual aid think tank speculating structures of support with some facilitated by Arielle Julia Brown, and a culminating grief workshop by Julia Mallory.
Black Spatial Relics is a supporter, convener, and funder of Black radical performance, founded and directed by Arielle Julia Brown. The Black Spatial Relics’ residency, convening, and other programs are made possible with support from the JKW Foundation, W Trust, and the Black Seed Program, a regranting program of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and independent donors. Black Spatial Relics is a fiscally sponsored project of the Public Trust. For more information about the artists in residence, their work, past artists in residence, and the previous micro grantees, visit www.blackspatialrelics.org.