Stages of Tectonic Blackness
September 13, 2020 // 8:00AM- 8:00PM MST
Tiwa Territory, Sandia Foothills, Albuquerque, NM
Stages of Tectonic Blackness is a many-staged performance project conceived by GROUND SERIES member Miles Tokunow with collaborators Nikesha Breeze and Lazarus Nance Letcher; it tarrys with the parrelled processes of dehumanization and extraction, emergence and rebellion, as sustained by Black bodies and rock bodies.
The works asks:
How can we understand the Anthropocene as a product of racism? (Yusoff, 2018)
How can we attune to the relation between the halflives of nuclear waste and the afterlives of slavery? (Hartman, 2007)
How can we refuse the binary of human time and geologic time by offering ritualized elongated mourning to racialized violence / earth violence? (Moten, Harney, 2016)
For a 12-hour epoch, Tokunow, Breeze, and Letcher will perform in an outdoor setting with and for geologic formations adjacent to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Gathering and dispersing throughout the day, audiences are invited to enter into an experience of Black Geologic Time through their own durational witnessing of Butoh dance practice, by participating in on-site Black Studies and Anti-Nuclear teach-ins, and by engaging in communal rest and restoration practices that call upon traditions of the Black family picnic.
In a cultural moment racked with urgency, Stages of Tectonic Blackness invites us to move slowly in order to feel more deeply into this time. As a durational practice of Black queer resistance, this work prioritizes Black experience, Black time, Black bodies and our racialized relationship to the earth.
Tokunow shares, “Stages of Tectonic Blackness demands that we all link our liberation to each other and the earth, and in order to do so, we must slow down.”
Miles Tokunow is a new father, a multi-media storyteller, and community organizer and educator; he has been Black homesteading in New Mexico since 2010. He creates experimental performance rituals for healing and justice by layering Butoh dance, improvisational music traditions, academic analysis, social practice, and radical pedagogy. Tending to the intersections of Blackness + land, masculinity + healing, and peace + action, Miles’ work yearns for new meanings by deconstructing the stories that already exist. His most recent performance, a ( ) wake for water premiered in December 2019 at The Tannex in Albuquerque and at etiquette in Santa Fe. Miles has been a member of GROUND SERIES dance and social justice collective since 2011.
Within an interdisciplinary practice of painting, sculpture, installation, film making, and performance art, Nikesha Breeze investigates the interrelationality and resilience of the black and queer body in relationship to power, vulnerability, the sacred, and the ancestral. Her work is deeply ritual and process-based, often employing her entire physical body into the action of her work. Originally from Portland, Oregon Nikesha Breeze lives and works in the high desert of New Mexico, she is an American born African Diaspora descendant of the Mende People of Sierra Leone, and Assyrian American Immigrants from Iran. Nikesha will be mounting a solo show at form + concept, Santa Fe, NM in 2021.
Lazarus Nance Letcher was born and raised in raised in the American Midwest. They currently live on ancestral and unceded Tiwa land, also known as Albuquerque, New Mexico. They’ve been performing for over twenty years, and love nothing more than sharing the story of their people over the swell of the viola. They have had the pleasure of touring the country and the world with the St. Olaf Orchestra and with folk band, Eileen & the In-Betweens. Laz is pursuing a PhD in American Studies with a focus on folklore, Black liberation, and queer and trans studies. They teach Introduction to Peace Studies, covering liberation movements and resistance efforts and have written about topics like transgender and Two-Spirit migration, intersectional approaches to addiction and recovery, Black and Indigenous solidarity in liberation movements, and transgender connection/kinship through folklore. Laz is also a sexuality educator, wishing and working for a world where we all get what we desire.
GROUND SERIES is a dance and social justice collective. We use performance to practice place-based justice by cultivating accountability to land, body, and history.
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NOTE: This event meets the CDC guidelines for COVID-19 collective safety, as audience members will witness the performance in staggered groups throughout the day. The audience will be seated in accordance with social distancing practices on picnic blankets for this outdoor event. Masks are required and will be provided.
Details on ticketing and location for this work are forthcoming. Check in with us on social media @groundseries for developments.
Hartman, Saidiya V. Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route. 2007.
Moten, Fred, and Stefano Harney. A Poetics of the Undercommons. 2016.
Yusoff, Kathryn. A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None. 2018.