Aaron Landsman, Clarinda Mac Low, Ogemdi Ude: Language Reversal

Language Reversal: Move Past What We Know is part of a collaborative process about power, translation, and the toolkits for survival. For each program artists Aaron Landsman, Clarinda Mac Low, and Ogemdi Ude will be in dialogue with guests from communities that span from the Lower East Side to Serbia, Nigeria, Australia and beyond, all of whom have been subject to authoritarian turns.

When Clarinda Mac Low (US) and Natalia Thikhonova (Russia) had their first planning meeting for Language Reversal in early 2021, the US had just experienced an insurrection. The next time they met Russia was starting to experience an uprising. The continual upheaval has been on a parallel track with a pandemic and upwellings of many different kinds of mutual aid. Mac Low and Tikhonova weave together PowerPoint, video, and live lecture to investigate the ways that their nations exercise power and control, and the ways that communities exercise resistance and community care in the face of carceral surveillance.


Aaron Landsman is a New York-based writer, teacher and organizer who makes community engaged performances, conversations and other live events. He is a 2017-20 Abrons Arts Center Social Practice Artist in Residence, as well as a recent Guggenheim Fellow, ASU Gammage Residency Artist and Princeton Arts Fellow. His projects have been presented in New York by The Foundry Theatre, Abrons, PS 122, The Chocolate Factory, and HERE. He has performed with Elevator Repair Service, Richard Maxwell, Tory Vazquez and others. His book No One Is Qualified, co-authored with Mallory Catlett, will be published by the University of Iowa Press in 2021.

Clarinda Mac Low creates participatory installations and events that investigate social constructs and corporeal experience. She is Executive Director of Culture Push, an organization that links artistic practice, social justice, and civic engagement, a co-founder of Works on Water, which supports artists working with water as site and material, and a medical journalist specializing in HIV/AIDS. Mac Low has recently “performed” dramaturgy for Katy Pyle’s Ballez, David Thomson’s he his own mythical beast, Gender/Power (Maya Ciarrocchi and Kris Grey), and Marjani Forté-Saunders’ Memoirs of a….Unicorn. Honors include a BAX Award in 2004, a Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant, 2007 and a 2010 Franklin Furnace Fund grant.

Ogemdi Ude is a Nigerian-American dance artist, educator, and doula based in Brooklyn, New York. She creates performances that investigate how Black folks’ cultural, familial, and personal histories are embedded in their bodies and influence their everyday and performative movement. She aims to incite critical engagement with embodied Black history as a means to imagine Black futurity. Her work has been presented at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Danspace Project, Gibney, Center for Performance Research, Movement Research at the Judson Church, Streb Lab for Action Mechanics, Lewis Center for the Arts, La Mama Courthouse, and for BAM’s DanceAfrica festival. She currently serves as Head of Movement for Drama at Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan and is adjunct faculty in the Dance MFA at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She is a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Creative Engagement Grantee, a member of Gibney’s 2020 Moving Toward Justice Cohort, and a 2019-2020 Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU Resident Fellow. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in English, Dance, and Theater from Princeton University.

Natalia Tikhonova is multidisciplinary artist, curator, and researcher currently based in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Natalia is from the family of scientists, and she received her first education in the field of theoretical physics. After working as a telecommunications engineer in the United States and Brazil, in 2011 she moved to St. Petersburg, where she began practicing art. She graduated from the “School of the young artist” of Pro Arte Foundation, St. Petersburg Art College and got a Masters degree in curatorial studies on a united program from Smolny and Bard College. She works with mediums ranging from videos, poems, painting and installations to social and curatorial projects where non-art analytic methods are combined with traditional art practice. Her projects are mainly dedicated to the states of instability and fluidity as she contemplates questions of memory, identity, personal and political borders. The changing space and time of art’s presences from the perspective of “exhibition” are reflected in Natalia’s curatorial projects that exist in the form of nomadic practices or online platforms. Her art projects address determined processes and changing trails of time, history, identity, collective memory and structures of feelings based on the topics of post-Soviet, traumas, militarism, archives, mass media, and propaganda using the personal reflections, affective domains and analytical methods. has Natalia participated in the V Moscow international Biennale of Young art, the Ural Biennale of contemporary art, the festival “Modern art in a traditional Museum”, the project “Start” at Winzavod, at festivals Shelter (Helsinki), Gamma. She publishes her research and texts at syg.maaroundart.org, Krapiva. She has also curated and co-curated various online and offline projects: “Communication management unit”, “Nplusonerooms”, “Radio hopes and dreams. Moscow Edition” for the Garage Museum, educational project “Natural Circulation” and “Handbook” in a partnership with the NCCA in St. Petersburg.


Funding for Language Reversal is provided by Abrons Arts Center with support from the Trust for Mutual Understanding. Additional funding provided by Princeton’s Lewis Center for the Arts.

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: Carlos Cardona