THEN A CUNNING VOICE AND A NIGHT WE SPEND GAZING AT STARS

(In Process)

Then a Cunning Voice and a Night We Spend Gazing at Stars is a multi-year project dedicated to building an all night outdoor performance gathering.  

The work includes in equal measure: making quilts, performance, storytelling, song, and a night of stargazing. It relies upon people coming together to voice intentions, witness, work, experience time, rest, and imagine.

 

 

Then a Cunning Voice...is rooted in community visioning sessions created in partnership with the Minneapolis -based Native American Community Development Institute. The visioning sessions start with the questions,

“What do you want for your well-­being? For your family and friends? Your neighborhood? Your city, town, or reserve?” 

The responses generate joy, reflection, responsibility:

I want my city to love itself more.
The Mayor of Richfield wants free mental health clinics.
Someone writes “A full happy life for our son”

The intentions are gathered on quilt squares which are sewn into a modular series of quilts during community sewing bees. Once created, the quilts are laid together to become one 4,000 square foot area, designed by textile artist Maggie Thompson, upon which we will host all night stargazing including moments of silence, performance, stories, and First-Nations star knowledge. We want to share time, to feel and also imagine the space below us on the ground and above us in the air. 

It is celebratory, to come together like this.
 

Spending the night in a city park, on a rooftop, or in the rural darkness is also an opportunity to spark conversation and action about safety. Safety comes to mind because many intentions voiced in the past two years have been about safety - most clearly safety from police violence. Many quilt squares say something similar to: “[I want] To not be afraid of police.” (NYC, June 2015). One says,  “[I want] The police to stop killing our kids.” (Vancouver BC, CA,  August 2015). This project cannot fix power dynamics that create racial violence but it can start to examine and shift dynamics by sharing responsibility and authorship with local residents, participants, host nations, and audiences. Our safety process will be co-organized with a local youth leadership team who develop a strategy for re-envisioning community health and for discussing community safety with police. What excites us about this is the possibility for long term effect-- building relationships between young people and police begins to change the nature of power. It changes relationship. 
 

PRODUCTION CREDITS


Created by
Emily Johnson in deep collaboration with the performers

Directed by
Ain Gordon

Performers
Aretha Aoki, Emily Johnson, Krista Langberg

Visual Design by
Maggie Thompson

Quilt construction by
Volunteers in Minneapolis, North Adams, Tallahassee, Richfield MN, New York

Research, Company and Project Management:
Julia Bither

Producer:
Meredith Boggia

RELATED LINKS

Richfield Stargazing Project Blog

Richfield Stargazing Zine

RELATED EVENTS

Join us for upcoming Community Sewing Bees to help create the quilts
for Then A Cunning Voice !

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL, MN

We will be holding Saturday morning Sewing Bees at Two Rivers Gallery and
Thursday evening Sewing Bees at Studio 375 at Northrup King Building.
Please join us for any of all of them!

Sewing Bees at Two Rivers Gallery (1530 E Franklin Ave Minneapolis MN 55404) from 10am - 2pm on Saturdays in 2016:
 May 28 | June 25 | July 23 | August 20 | September 17 | October 15 | November 12 | December 10

Sewing Bees at The Northrup King Building (1500 Jackson St NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413 in Studio #375) from 6-8pm on Thursdays in 2016:

July 14 & 28 | August 11 & 25 | September 8 & 22 |
October 6 & 20 | November 3 & 17 | December 1 & 15

ALL ARE WELCOME. NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY!
We provide all materials as well as beverages and snacks. Feel free to bring drinks or snacks to share.
We hope to see you there! Please contact julia@catalystdance.com with any questions.

 

NORTH ADAMS, MA

We will be holding every other Wednesday evening Sewing Bees
at Makers' Mill (73 Main St. North Adams, MA 01247)
Please join us for any of all of them!

June 1 | June 15 | June 22 | July 6 | July 20 |
August 3 | August 17 | August 31

ALL ARE WELCOME. NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY!
We provide all materials as well as beverages and snacks. Feel free to bring drinks or snacks to share.

 

NEW YORK, NY

Community Sewing Bee Dates and Times, TBD

 

 

 

 

Top Photo by Jonathan Godoy