[WORLD PREMIERE] By Association: Ricky (YATTA), Hazel Katz and Rebecca Nieto

By Association is a chain curatorial platform for artists to collectively experiment with the practice of associative thinking. Across three nights of song, dance, the romantic comedy genre, and poetic performance, Ricky (YATTA), Hazel Katz and Rebecca Nieto address the interior and social worlds of depression and psychosis.

Mental illness is inherently social. Across three nights of song, dance, the romantic comedy genre, and poetic performance, Ricky (YATTA), Hazel Katz and Rebecca Nieto address the interior and social worlds of depression and psychosis.

“Who do we become after rebuilding our psyches again and again?” is Ricky’s injunction to 2019’s By Association performance collaboration. The question is importantly open-ended, and undergirds three nights of performances that address depression, psychosis, and the  world of mental illness. In their songs, poetry, and dance, Ricky explores “mental illness” and psychological “splitting” as an ongoing reaction to oppressive environments. Hazel Katz will screen a scene from a feature film in progress, a romantic comedy about the precariousness of an intimate relationship of two people with mental illness. The scene will include a live score composed by Ricky and dialogue written by Rebecca Nieto. The movie asks whether suicide is a human right and what type of care work is possible between two sick people. Rebecca Nieto will perform from a visual poetic project entitled “Like A System, Meaning Itself”, which elevates language, metaphor, and the archive of “stigma” to examine sociality when we feel most isolated, the occult and utopic practices of vitality that resist the regulatory systems that reward “wellness” and punish neurodivergence. 


ABOUT

By Association is a curatorial platform for artists to collectively experiment with the practice of associative thinking. An artist is invited to be the “instigatory link” in a chain of thought, who then invites another artist whose practice informs and/or challenges their line of inquiry. This artist then invites another artist, and so the pattern continues. For three nights, the chain fuses and breaks in the form of shared evening presentations that put artists in creative discourse with one another across artistic disciplines.

Ricky (YATTA) is an interdisciplinary artist and musician. They use loop pedal drones, channeled screams, and improvised poetry to explore connections between psychosis, prayer, and presence. This year, they are working on a record (to be released via PTP) in conjunction with a theatrical production commissioned by NYC’s The Shed. Ricky has shared the stage with musicians like Cardi B, William Basinski, and The Sun RaArkestra, creating multimedia performances that have been shown all over. 

Hazel Katz is a video artist and filmmaker. Her work focuses on trans experience, employs found footage archives, and uses essayistic storytelling. Hazel’s practice interrogates the representations of transphobia and psychosis while refusing to populate the image economy with scenes of trans and disabled people suffering. Her films have been shown on public TV and festivals internationally. Hazel recently completed a yearlong collaborative residency at UnionDocs. She is currently working on Is This a Trap, a collage video about transfeminine representation in cinema. www.hazelscomputer.com

Rebecca Maria Nieto is a poet and archivist based in the San Francisco East Bay. She is from Albuquerque, New Mexico, the latest in a murky lineage of indigenos who have survived on either side of the current U.S./Mexico border since before Conquest. She is currently a PhD student in English at UC Berkeley, where she works on poetics, critical race theory, affect & the history of emotions.


FUNDING

By Association is commissioned by Abrons Arts Center with generous grants from the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Harkness Foundation for Dance, the Jerome Foundation, 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.

Image: Goda Trakumaite