Emily Johnson and Karyn Recollet
Kinstillatory Mappings in Light and Dark Matter

March 16, 2023

Join us for a ceremonial fire organized by Emily Johnson and Karyn Recollet centering Indigenous protocol and knowledge. Johnson and Recollet invite guest artists and organizers to gather around a fire to share stories and performances in honor and protection of the land, water, and air of Lenapehoking, the homelands of the Lenapeyok, where Abrons Arts Center is located.

The fire is central and communities are invited to GATHER HERE as artists and organizers articulate our collective futures, our otherwise possibilities. Fireside, we bring practices, grammars and needs forward and through the portals fire allows. The fire itself is process, a way to bring us out of the catastrophe of now. A lot is happening in the time/space envelope of the kinstillatory that is care, that is necessary. This is a practice of provocating. This is an offering of seed, of vessel, of protection, of becomingness.

Image by Maria Baranova


Understanding Kinstillatory Mappings in Light and Dark Matter


About Emily Johnson and Karyn Recollet

Emily Johnson, originally from Alaska, is an artist who makes body-based work and the artistic director of her performance company, Emily Johnson/Catalyst. A Bessie Award-winning choreographer, Guggenheim Fellow, and recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award, she is based on the Lower East Side of Manahatta in Lenapehoking. Emily is of the Yup’ik Nation and since 1998 has created work that considers the experience of sensing and seeing performance. She is a land and water protector and an activist for justice, sovereignty, and well-being. Her dances function as portals and installations, engaging audiences within and through space, time, and environment–interacting with a place’s architecture, people, land, history, and role in community. Emily is a co-compiler of the document Creating New Futures: Guidelines toward Ethics and Equity in the Performing Arts, is developing a Global First Nations Performance Network with colleagues Reuben Roqueni, Ed Bourgeois, Ronee Penoi, Lori Pourier, Vallejo Ganter; and has hosted ceremonial fires in partnership with Abrons Arts Center on the Lower East Side since 2017.

Karyn Recollet Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She is an urban Cree scholar/writer currently living in the Williams Treaty territory, and teaching in the Dish with One Spoon treaty territory. Recollet explores celestial land pedagogies as ‘kinstillatory’ in her work, expressing an understanding of land pedagogy that exceeds the terrestrial. Recollet thinks alongside dance making practices, hip hop, and visual/digital art as they relate to forms of Indigenous futurities and relational practices of being. Recollet co-writes with dance choreographers and artists engaged in other mediums to expand upon methodologies that consider land relationships and kinship making practices that are going to take us into the future.

Participating Artists

Colette Denali Montoya

Colette Denali Montoya is a member of Isleta Pueblo and a descendant of San Felipe Pueblo, living in Lenapehoking. As a queer, Indigenous librarian/ archivist/ oral historian, she works at the intersections of oral history and memory. In her work as a university reference librarian, as well as an audio archivist at the Lesbian Herstory Archives, Colette connects people to stories and knowledge. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison and earned her Master of Library and Information Science degree at the City University of New York – Queens College. Colette is currently an Oral History Association - National Endowment for the Humanities fellow working with Indigenous oral histories from Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument.

Ashley Pierre-Louis

Ashley Pierre-Louis grew up on the lands of the Tequesta, Miccosukee, and Seminole peoples (Miami, FL) and received education from New World School of the Arts and later from Florida State University. After graduating, she moved to Lenapehoking (New York City) and has been working with various artists and collaborators in the field.

She is the associate choreographer for the play Help (2022) by acclaimed poet and playwright Claudia Rankine, directed by Taibi Magar, and commissioned at The Shed in New York. She premiered the play Thoughts of A Colored Man (2020) by playwright Keenan Scott II and director Steve Broadnax III at Syracuse Stage and Baltimore Center Stage as well as performed for the premiere of Donna Uchizono’s work March Under an Empty reign (2018) at The Joyce: NY Quadrille Festival. She was one of Gallim’s Moving Women spring 2021 artist-in-residence and has also been a part of Alvin Ailey’s inaugural Choreography Unlocked Festival (2018) under the direction of Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Urban Bush Women, and Robert Battle.

Her most current artistic work include working with Shamel Pitts’ multidisciplinary performance collective TRIBE as a performer & maker in Pitts’ performance art residency incubator Solace of RED and as dramaturge for Pitts’ newest evening-length duet, Touch of RED. She also works with Indigenous choreographer Emily Johnson in her newest multi-scalar creation, Being Future Being as a performer, as well as freelances and choreographs in the city. Other current artistic collaborations include working with Edisa Weeks and DELIRIOUS Dances as part of Edisa’s 3 RITES project: Life, Liberty, Happiness as well as acting as the Dream Partner and Program Manager for Florida State University’s 2023 spring semester study domestic program, Arts in NYC.

Camille Georgeson-Usher

Camille Georgeson-Usher is a Coast Salish / Sahtu Dene / Scottish scholar, artist, and arts administrator from Galiano Island, British Columbia, unceded territories of the Penelakut and Lamalcha First Nations, as well as other Hul’qumi’num speaking peoples and is the ceded traditional territories of Tsawwassen First Nation. She is a PhD candidate in the Cultural Studies department at Queen’s University where she is writing on ontologies of gathering. She is interested in looking at the many ways in which peoples move together through urban space, relationalities and intimacies with the everyday, and acts of mark making through the example of public art practices as types of gathering from an Indigenous perspective.

Usher completed her MA in Art History at Concordia University. Her thesis, “more than just flesh: the arts as resistance and sexual empowerment,” focused on how the arts may be used as a tool to engage Indigenous youth in discussions of health and sexuality. She is currently Assistant Professor of Art History and Curatorial Practices (Tenure-Track) at OCAD University in Toronto, ON.

She served for over five years as the Executive Director of the Indigenous Curatorial Collective and sits on several boards and committees: Toronto Biennial of Art, Board Member; OCADU Indigenous Education Council Member; City of Kingston’s Public Art Working Group, Committee Member; Research Creation Committee, Queen’s University, Member. In addition to Usher’s professional and academic work she also has a profound love of long distance running and has completed 10 full marathons, one of which was a 50km event that thread through mountainous trails in Quebec. She began learning piano in 2018. She lives in Toronto, ON.


Kinstillatory Mappings in Light and Dark Matter was created with funding from The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.