THEN A CUNNING VOICE AND A NIGHT WE SPEND GAZING AT STARS
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.
Emily Johnson in deep collaboration with the performers
Aretha Aoki, Emily Johnson, Krista Langberg
Visual Design by
Quilt construction by
Volunteers in Minneapolis, North Adams, Tallahassee, Richfield MN, New York
Research, Company and Project Management:
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 or 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
NEW YORK, NY
We will be holding Community Sewing Bee events at:
Invisible Dog Arts Center
(51 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201)
October 8 | October 15
(121 Avenue of the Americas, NY 10013)
4:30-5:30pm & 6:30-7:30pm
(890 Broadway, Fifth Floor, New York, NY 10003)
November 18 | 10am-2pm
November 22 | 6-9pm
ALL ARE WELCOME. NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY!
Top Photo by Jonathan Godoy