[World Premiere] Revision Suite

A group of artists, writers, and musicians convene at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church on the Lower East Side to meditate on the architectural history of its “slave galleries” and to explore their own connections to worship and spiritual labor. This is Revision Suite. Join us for an evening of readings and live performances by Geng, Salome Asega, Rena Anakwe, Destiny Be, DeForrest Brown Jr., L’Rain, and Stacy Lynn Smith. Sound and light installations by  Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste and denzel russell will be on view for the duration of the performances.

The St. Augustine’s Project is an unprecedented non profit initiative of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church that researches, preserves, and interprets the “slave galleries,” or the upper level of the sanctuary where enslaved people and free people of color were forced to worship segregated from the white congregation. The St. Augustine’s Project has led the effort to raise funds to renovate and educate publics about the “slave galleries,” 19th century life on the Lower East Side, and the legacy of its African American communities. The St. Augustine’s Project is committed to making these spaces available to the public for visits and reflection. To learn more, visit www.staugnyc.org.

Salome Asega is an artist and researcher based in New York. She is the Technology Fellow in the Ford Foundation’s Creativity and Free Expression program area, and a director of POWRPLNT, a digital art collaboratory in Bushwick. Salome has participated in residencies and fellowships with Eyebeam, New Museum, The Laundromat Project, and Recess Art. She has exhibited and given presentations at the 11th Shanghai Biennale, Performa, EYEO, and the Brooklyn Museum. Salome received her MFA from Parsons at The New School in Design and Technology where she also teaches.

Geng is a New York City-borne/residing sound artist – active since the mid-90’s in the city’s underground and experimental communities – and founder of PTP (Purple Tape Pedigree), a collective, plus imprint, existing as “purveyors of weaponized media.” Live, he has been reviewed as a “brutal ritual … drawn from dystopian nightmares … this is metal machine music meant for catharsis, not escapism” by Washington City Paper, as he explores trauma, violence, sleep paralysis, aquaphobia, and the communication bridge between self-actualized identity and spirit. Collaborations include Matana Roberts, Moor Mother, Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste, Julia Santoli, The Diplomats, and Atoms Family. He’s been a featured performer at Park Avenue Armory, Issue Project Room, MoMA PS1, Ende Tymes IX, Sonic Acts Festival (Amsterdam), 3HD Festival (Berlin), Boiler Room, Forward Festival, and then some.

Rena Anakwe is an interdisciplinary artist and performer, working primarily with sound, visuals, and scent. Exploring intersections between traditional healing practices, spirituality and performance she creates works focused on sensory-based, experiential interactions using technology. A member of the artistic collective NON Worldwide, she is based in Brooklyn, New York by way of Nigeria and Canada. Rena is a graduate of: the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (MPS), The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University (MFA) and NYU’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business (BS.). She has collaborated, produced and shown audio/visual work at: Green Space, Le Poisson Rouge, La MaMa E.T.C., Danspace Project, Museum of Arts and Design, TCC Chicago, MINKA [BAX/Submerge], Knockdown Center, NY Art Book Fair, MoMA PS1, Les Nubians ‘Up Close & Personal’ Tour, CTM Festival, the Museum of the Moving Image, Europe’s Capital of Culture in Turku.

Destiny Be was raised in Maryland, in a Black suburban enclave of Washington DC. A mover and a dancer from an early age, she was trained in ballet through childhood to adolescence, and continued to practice and enjoy movement. In 2009, she moved to New York to attend Parsons School of Design, and has since resided in Brooklyn. As an artist she integrates many disciplines to explore speculative futures and project her own consciousness onto reality to produce criticality and investigate the Self. Her interests and foci are wide, she takes advantage of her art and design disciplines to articulate, to understand, and problem solve the world around her.

DeForrest Brown, Jr. is a New York-based music writer, media theorist and curator. He has previously worked with publications such as Triple Canopy, NPR, Tiny Mix Tapes, Mixmag, FACT, and Avant.org.  His work is concerned with speculative futures in performative contexts, programmatic intersections of technology and thought, and an enduring interest in pushing electronic music into ever-more radical and multimedia presentations that extend into collaborations across expertise and format. In 2017, he was the inaugural Suzanne Fiol Curatorial Fellow at ISSUE Project Room. He has presented work at Dixon’s Place, New Museum, MoMAPS1, Artists Space, Lampo, Signal Gallery, and Cleopatra’s. He is also one half of cataloging space/writing project Elevator to Mezzanine (E-M) with artist and musician Steven Warwick, who are developing a forthcoming project to be premiered at the Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin.

L’Rain “is a beautiful mess of confounding songs, sound collages spliced together as a tapestry of grief, loss, and the brilliant moments of joy in between. Songwriter and frontwoman Taja Cheek references R&B as frequently as she touches on post-punk and avant-garde rock, incorporating each seamlessly enough to inspire an ambitious new hybrid genre.” – Angel Fraden, Teen Vogue

denzel russell is an artist of Trinidadian descent from New York. He often uses glass and light in his work to explore narratives about family, therapy and shelter. His work has been shown locally and internationally and he is currently the AiR at Urban Glass.

Stacy Lynn Smith is a biracial/Black performance artist/director/choreographer specializing in butoh, contemporary dance and experimental theater, creating work through a unique lens of “other”. Her solo work, “TURN”, “The Birthday Party”, “The Waves Don’t Mind”, is a hybrid of dance, theater, performance art and ritual. She was a principal butoh dancer and company teacher with Vangeline Theater/New York Butoh Institute from 2008-2017. She has performed/created work featured at MoMA PS1, Art Basel Miami, Brooklyn Museum, Secret Project Robot, Milk Studios, Glasshouse ArtLifeLab, Dixon Place, House of Yes, The Judson Church, Museum of Sex, Dance Mission Theater (CA), Centre Culturel Bertin Poiree (FR) and many others.

Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste is a Bessie-nominated composer, designer, and performer living and working in Brooklyn, NY. In 2014 he received his MFA from Brooklyn College’s Performance and Media program and in 2017 was an Artist-in-Residence at Issue Project Room. Toussaint-Baptiste is a founding member of the performance collective, Wildcat!, and frequently collaborates with performers and fine artists, including Will Rawls, Yanira Castro/a canary torsi, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, and André M. Zachery. He has presented work at the Brooklyn Museum; The Kitchen; Issue Project Room; Performance Space New York, the Studio Museum in Harlem; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; FringeArts, Philadelphia; Tanz Im August at Hau3, Berlin; Stoa Cultural Center, Helsinki; among others.

Revision Suite is commissioned by Abrons Arts Center with support provided by generous grants from the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Harkness Foundation for Dance, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, and other generous Henry Street Settlement funders. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. This season was also made possible by the New York State Council on the arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. This performance is supported in part by Red Bull.
Image: Val Bertelsen and Salome Asega