Marguerite Hemmings and LaJuné McMillian: Antidote

Co-presented with Pioneer Works

In what kind of world can Black movement and Black people be free? In Phase 1 of their project Antidote, choreographer Marguerite Hemmings and creative technologist LaJuné McMillian consider how the social, political, and racialized dimensions of physical movement are replicated in virtual reality, and how digital and embodied technologies can be engaged in the service of Black liberation.

Phase 1 of Antidote will be presented in the form of a video work created by McMillian and Hemmings, which will be the result of their research using motion capture software. Phase 2 will involve collaboration with students at the Lower East Side University Neighborhood High School for a live performance to be presented at Abrons in 2021.


ABOUT

Marguerite Hemmings is a Jamaican born, Jersey-raised performance artist and educator currently based in Philadelphia, USA. She specializes in experimental, emergent, migratory, improvisational and social dance/movement styles and technologies, rooted in the story of the African Diaspora. Hemmings’ work centers itself in liberation. She has been subverting, working, and creating with youth as a teaching artist for a very long time. She has received grants from the Jerome Foundation, Brooklyn Arts Council, Harlem Stage, University Settlement, and Dancing While Black to further her work. She is most recently a recipient of the 2017-18 Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Fellowship, and through that, also the Projecting All Voices Fellowship at ASU. She is a 2017 recipient of the Bessie Award for Outstanding Performer in Eva Yaa Asantewaa’s Skeleton Architecture. She currently works inside of a self/spirit directed thing called we free. we free looks at the millennial and post-millennial approach to liberation through its music, social dance and social media. More can be found at wefreeee.com.

LaJuné McMillian is a New Media Artist, and Creative Technologist creating art that integrates Performance, Virtual Reality, and Physical Computing to question our current forms of communication. LaJuné has had the opportunity to show and speak about their work at Pioneer Works, National Sawdust, Leaders in Software and Art, Creative Tech Week, and Art && Code’s Weird Reality. LaJuné was previously the Director of Skating at Figure Skating in Harlem, where they integrated STEAM and Figure Skating to teach girls of color about movement and technology. They have continued their research on Blackness, Movement, and Technology during residencies at Eyebeam, Pioneer Works, Barbarian Group, and Barnard College.

Pioneer Works is an artist-run cultural center that opened its doors to the public, free of charge, in 2012. Imagined by its founder, artist Dustin Yellin, as a place in which artists, scientists, and thinkers from various backgrounds converge, this “museum of process” takes its primary inspiration from utopian visionaries such as Buckminster Fuller, and radical institutions such as Black Mountain College. Since its inception, Pioneer Works has built science studios, a technology lab with 3-D printing, a virtual environment lab for VR and AR production, a recording studio, a media lab for content creation and dissemination, a darkroom, residency studios, galleries, gardens, a ceramics studio, a press, and a bookshop. Pioneer Works’ central hall is home to a rotating schedule of exhibitions, science talks, music performances, workshops, and innovative free public programming.


FUNDING

The 2020-2021 Season at Abrons Arts Center is supported, in part, by generous grants from the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Harkness Foundation for Dance, the Jerome Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, 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 and support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Image credit: screen capture from Black Movement Project by LaJuné McMillian