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.
living land acknowledgement
Stages of Tectonic Blackness was created with and for the land on which it is performed. The members of GROUND SERIES wish to acknowledge and thank this place as well as its current and historic stewards. Below are a few organizations whose work we admire and to whom we wish to be accountable.
Pueblo Action Alliance is a community driven organization that promotes cultural sustainability and community defense by addressing environmental and social impacts in Indigenous communities. As the descendents of Pueblo revolutionaries, the Alliance carries the revolutionary spirit of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, claiming the right to Indigenous self-determination & sovereignty and the ability to create communities and economies that meet the needs of Pueblo people. Pueblo Action Alliance cultivates ancestral wisdom to evolve modern organizing strategies and tactics to protect cultural integrity. They embody Pueblo-centric grassroots organizing to mobilize people on the issues that matter most. PAA views Indigenous solutions as a means to dismantle and eradicate white supremacy, capitalism, imperialism, patriarchy and extractive colonialism. The liberation of Indigenous peoples is the liberation for all. Check out PAA's campaign to Protect Greater Chaco which aims to protect public land from drilling and fracking.
Tewa Women United envisions movement(s) rooted in P’in Haa (Breath of Heart/Life) and P’in Nall (Touching Heart and Spirit) that nurture and celebrate the collective power of beloved families, communities, and Nung Ochuu Quiyo (Earth Mother). Support Tewa Women United's Environmental Health and Justice Program
The Radiation Monitoring Project (RMP) is organized in part by Diné NO NUKES. The program aims to put radiation monitors into the hands of front-line communities affected by ionizing radiation and to provide professional training to accurately collect radiation readings in areas of concern. We invite you to participate in The Radiation Monitoring Project
The Red Nation is dedicated to the liberation of Native peoples from capitalism and colonialism. They center Native political agendas and struggles through direct action, advocacy, mobilization, and education. Learn more about their initiative The Red Deal: Indigenous Action to Save our Earth and listen to the podcast
Sandia Pueblo Tribal Website
welcome to stages of tectonic blackness
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.
audio + media
Please feel free to explore the audio tracks below -- throughout the on-site performance or later on your own. These sounds were recorded to create a textured backdrop for Stages of Tectonic Blackness
We recommend the following readings for your future exploration of Blackness and geology. If you are interested in joining a reading group or hosting a workshop, please contact us!
The Blue Clerk: A Reading with Dionne Brand followed by a conversation with Saidiya Hartman
The Black Drift (the whole thing!)
A Conversation with Maboula Soumahoro, Christina Sharpe, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Françoise Vergés
Black Quantum Futurism | Moor Mother + Rasheedah Phillips | the Gray Area Festival 2017
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.
things to remember
Be respectful of each other and this land
Post on social media @groundseries #stagesoftectonicblackness
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