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Radical Reimagining: A Syllabus for Survival

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Image courtesy of the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


How to Survive the End of the World is a four-part program series exploring the ways in which artists and art workers express social, cultural and political philosophies through their art practice. Radical Reimagining is a virtual screening and artist talk with performance artist Jaamil Olawale Kosoko. During this artist talk, Jaamil will speak to the concept of “Radical Reimagining” as it relates to his multimedia performance series Chameleon: A Biomythography including his zine Chameleon: A Syllabus of Survival.

Chameleon: A Biomythography is a multi-media live art work that explores the fugitive realities and shapeshifting demands of surviving at the intersection of Blackness, feminism, and queerness in contemporary America. In this new work from Nigerian American artist Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, a melanated stage saturated in africanist texts and iconography becomes a site of ecstatic spiritual fantasy in which an ever–present quotidian experience of grief is punctuated by moments of beauty, care, and pleasure. Inspired by an on-going fascination with erotic digitality and Black diasporic spiritual practice, Kosoko uses the apparatus of the theater to conjure an environment of sudden, unexpected, emotional complexity. “Biomythography” refers to Audre Lorde’s foundational work entitled Zami: A New Spelling of My Name published in 1982, which combines history, biography, and myth, and holds a literary perspective that serves as a guiding light for complex narrative storytelling rooted in a queer, Black self-defined, feminist imagination. RSVP required. Zoom details will be sent via confirmation email.

Other programs in this series:

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko is a Nigerian-American poet, curator, and performance artist originally from Detroit, MI. His work in performance is rooted in a creative mission to push history forward through writing and art making and advocacy. Kosoko’s work in live performance has received support from The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through Dance Advance, The Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, The Joyce Theater Foundation, and The Philadelphia Cultural Fund. His breakout solo performance work entitled other.explicit.body. premiered at Harlem Stage in April 2012 and went on to tour nationally. As a performer, Kosoko has created original roles in the performance works of Nick Cave, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Keely Garfield Dance, Miguel Gutierrez and The Powerful People, and Headlong Dance Theater, among others. In addition, creative consultant and/or performer credits include: Terry Creach, Lisa Kraus, Kate Watson-Wallace/anonymous bodies, Leah Stein Dance Company, Emergent Improvisation Ensemble, and Faustin Linyekula and Les Studios Kabako (The Democratic Republic of Congo).

  • Type: Artist Talks,Lectures & Panels
  • Time: December 3, 2020 - 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
  • Venue:Zoom