de(composition): a workshop with Keith Hennessy

Circo Zero's Winter Circle X. Photo: KaliMa Amilak

Circo Zero’s Winter Circle X. Photo: KaliMa Amilak

Collective experiences and shared training in the makings, unmakings, and mysteries of live art, performance, choreography…

When: Tuesdays: March 5, 12, 19, 26, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Where: SFMOMA’s Gina and Stuart Peterson White Box Theater, 151 3rd Street, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103; please use the Minna Street Entrance.

RSVP: To secure your reservation for one or all of the classes, please email openspace@sfmoma.org.

Open Space is pleased to announce de(composition), a four-week workshop led by the artist and activist Keith Hennessy with an opening ceremony and talk by Kanyon CoyoteWoman Sayers-Roods (Mutsun-Ohlone, California Native). Free of charge and open to all bodies, the program will focus on experiences, histories, and ideas to inspire composition; activities will include an unpredictable mix of embodied studio practice, lecture, and discussion for artists of all kinds.

“I’m interested in the museum as a laboratory for making and a space for exchange,” Hennessy says. “This hybrid-art-event-as-workshop is for everyone curious about or committed to live art, performance, and embodied practices of art making. It’s for artists re-considering their place on occupied land, socially engaged dancers and conceptual artists, folks who want a few hours of experiential and collective learning. We’ll work through some of the current issues from Indigenous protocols to the tensions between provocation and care to trauma-informed analyses of the current political situation.”

de(composition) grew out of conversations between Hennessy and Open Space editor-in-chief Claudia La Rocco, and follows an Open Space tradition of collaborating with local artists and arts organizations to present and contextualize time-based art. Hennessy’s relationship with Open Space began in 2017, with a commissioned performance lecture foLost and Found: Bay Area Edition, a partnership with CounterPulse and Danspace Project examining the ongoing effects of HIV/AIDS on performance in the Bay Area; in 2018, he contributed a pair of short written works to Limited Edition, an Open Space initiative with CounterPulse, The Lab, ODC Theater, Performance at SFMOMA, and Z Space exploring questions of legacy and lineage through performances, discussions, and gatherings at various locations throughout the city, with commissioned texts appearing regularly online.   

“Keith’s teaching is an artistic practice in its own right,” says La Rocco. “Despite his having made San Francisco a home for decades, much of this experimental teaching practice has happened far away from the Bay Area, at festivals such as ImPulsTanz. We’re delighted to have him in residence for the month of March, and to continue the conversation online through a series of commissioned works.”

On March 5, Kanyon CoyoteWoman Sayers-Roods (Mutsun-Ohlone, California Native) will open de(composition) and the discussion leading into the class. Space is limited and RSVPs are encouraged. Please note that this workshop is intended for adults; younger individuals interested in participating should inquire via email.

To secure your reservation for one or all of the classes, and for all RSVP-related inquiries, please email openspace@sfmoma.org. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and close at 6:10 p.m.

About The Artists

Keith Hennessy was born in a mining town in Northern Ontario, Canada, lives in San Francisco, and tours internationally. He is an award-winning performer, choreographer, teacher, and organizer. His performances engage improvisation, ritual, collaboration, and public action as tools for investigating political realities. Practices inspired by anarchism, critical whiteness, post/Modern dance, activist art, the Bay Area, wicca, punk, contact improvisation, and queer-feminism motivate and mobilize Hennessy’s work.

Hennessy was a member of Sara Shelton Mann’s legendary Contraband (85–94), as well as the collaborative performance companies CORE (95–98) and the France-based Cahin-caha, cirque bâtard (98–02). His work is featured in several books and documentaries, including Composing While Dancing (Melinda Buckwalter, U of Wisconsin: 2010), How To Make Dances in an Epidemic (David Gere, Univ of Wisconsin: 2004), Gay Ideas (Richard Mohr, Beacon: 1992), and Dancers in Exile (RAPT Productions, 2000). Hennessy is a co-founder of 848 Community Space, which went on to become CounterPulse, a thriving performance and culture space in San Francisco. He earned an MFA (Choreography) and PhD (Performance Studies) from UC Davis.

Hennessy’s awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship (2017), Sui Generis Award (2017), United States Artist Kjenner Fellowship (2012), a Bilinski Fellowship (2011), a NY Bessie (2009) for Crotch, Isadora Duncan Dance Awards (1998, 2000, 2009) for performance, dance activism, and visual design, a Goldie (2007) and the Alpert/MacDowell Fellowship in Dance (2005). Keith has enjoyed residencies at The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, MANCC, and Djerassi.

Keith’s recent collaborators include Peaches, Meg Stuart, Scott Wells, Jassem Hindi, J Jha, Annie Danger, Gerald Cassel, and the collaboratives Blank Map and Turbulence. Keith’s recent teaching in universities, independent studios, and festivals includes ICI-CCN Montpellier (France), VAC Foundation (Moscow), Ponderosa (Germany), FRESH (SF), HZT (Berlin), Movement Research (NYC), ImPulsTanz (Vienna), Portland State University, Sandberg Institute (Amsterdam), St. Mary’s, and Warsaw Flow International CI Festival. Keith’s writings have been published in Contact Quarterly, Movement Research Journal, Performance Research (UK), Society of Dance History Scholars Journal, Dance Theatre Journal (UK), Itch, Front, and In Dance.

Kanyon Sayers-Roods is Costanoan Mutsun-Ohlone and Chumash; she also goes by her given Native name, Hahashkani, which in Chumash means “Coyote Woman.” She is very active in the Native Community and works as a catalyst for decolonizing conversations. As a creative artist, she is inspired by nature and the natural world. The daughter of Ann-Marie Sayers, Kanyon was raised in Indian Canyon, trust land of her family. Kanyon’s art has been featured at the de Young Museum, SOMArts, SNAG Magazine, and numerous school projects. She is a recent graduate of the Art Institute of California, Sunnyvale, obtaining her Associate and Bachelor of Science degrees in Web Design and Interactive Media. She is motivated to learn, teach, start conversations around decolonization and indigenization, and to continue doing what she loves, Art. Kanyon says: “I make a difference in the lives of others by sharing my life experiences and knowledge about California Native Americans. I have the gift of communication, starting conversations around decolonization and indigenization, and challenge myself to utilize this gift to deliver powerfully effective messages for others.” Kanyon has previously collaborated with Keith Hennessy/Circo Zero on both Hex for the Future (2017) and Winter Circle X (2018).

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