For their second Van Lier Fellowship performance, Anastasia Clarke presents their work in Swans Lakeless, which is a collaboration between themself (music, sound), Shannon Lumpkin (poetics and story), and Dawn Felicia Knox (film, video, and video installation).
Swans Lakeless is an intermedia composition woven from experience, myth, and narrative poetry told from a disability gaze. It gives voice to Odin, a trans & nonbinary amputee tenant union organizer facing eviction and organizing a rent strike along with their comrades. These narratives are told abstractly from the nonlinear spaces of Odin’s recovery after their traumatic false-arrest, wherein they are assaulted by police and held in custody for over 20 hours. Upon feeling the force of police containment and abuse, Odin expands their understanding of the harsh realities of structural police violence into a somatic one. Odin later convinces the cop to see that he was harming himself by harming Odin, and to start an abolitionist choir.
The work addresses the intersections of gender identity from a disability justice lens on police abuse while offering imaginatives upon the specific interrelationships between shame, violence, masculinity and marginalization. These exist in disjointed harmony with the protagonist’s earnest and necessary explorations of radical empathy, self-healing, and a quest for transformative justice. The story uses an actual false-arrest experienced by Shannon Lumpkin as an initiatory point for creativity, expanding upon real-life events to create a fantasy world where one asks: Do abolitionist police choirs exist yet? How can we inspire a militarized force to give up violence for song?
This Roulette showing uses the empty theater to stage Swans Lakeless as live interaction with fixed media, which acknowledges the creators’ intentions to further iterate the work. From 2019–2021, Anastasia Clarke, Shannon Lumpkin, and Dawn Felicia Knox worked in parallel processes to develop the sound world, poetry, and visual terrain of the piece by compiling source footage, musical performance footage, and Shannon Lumpkin’s solo performances for camera. Confined to England due to the pandemic, Dawn Felicia Knox projected the video source material onto nontraditional surfaces intercepted by fields of colored light in the Star & Shadow, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The resultant work is an intermedia composition of the evolving installation, mixed with raw source footage and brought to life through Anastasia Clarke’s music and sound, which unfolds Shannon Lumpkin’s poetry.
A full transcript of this performance can be found HERE.
CONTENT WARNING : This work investigates the violence of policing and trauma as subject matter through lived reality in the wake of a specific false-arrest around which the composition is based. The violent arrest will be described from multiple perspectives throughout the work, and video from a police officer’s body-worn camera will be discernable at times.
Following this premiere, there will be a moderated talkback / Q&A session held via Zoom on Sunday, May 9th, at 2pm EDT hosted by Star & Shadow. RSVP here.
The process for creating, sharing, and discussing this work is informed by SURJ’s documentation on anti-ableism, access and Disability Justice.
Dawn Felicia Knox
Shannon Lumpkin, self, Odin, Bohemian Waxwing
Anastasia Clarke, narration, choir
Anastasia Clarke, compositions with voice and electronics
Keiko Uenishi, audio feedback performance with tubes
Jean Carla Rodea, voice
Daniel Carter, horns and flute
Jonathan Finlayson, trumpet
Sandy Gordon, percussion
Noize Choir, performing The Cave, recorded by Sneha Solanki
Shannon Lumpkin, script
Jaehyun Oh, legal text (adapted)
Dawn Felicia Knox, filmed installation and installation intervention
Star and Shadow, technical assistance
Camilla Padgitt-Coles, consultant – live projections within Roulette
Roulette, technical assistance
Dawn Felicia Knox, edited film, source footage
Anastasia Clarke, source footage
Shannon Lumpkin, source footage
Chip Chapin, source footage
Jon Burklund, source footage
The New York City Police Department, source footage
Chip Chapin, dramaturg
Gayle Fekete, consultant
Woramon Jamjod, technical director
Benjamin Miller, livestream operator
Van Lier Fellowship
Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm
Opera House Tenant Union
Crown Heights Tenant Union
Brooklyn Eviction Defense Network
Michael Kozek, Ween & Kozek
Star and Shadow
Arts Council England
them. Magazine + Wren Sanders
Lindsay Duncanson and Marek Gabrysch
Roulette’s April programming will be presented virtually and available for free on a variety of streaming platforms. The theater is currently closed for public performances as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the safety measures that Roulette has put in place to keep staff, artists, and the public safe.
Anastasia Clarke (b. 1987) is a New York-based composer, performer, technologist, sound designer, and archivist. Anastasia’s embodied electronic music performances consider the artist’s role as a healer and activist, and focus on the de- and re-construction of narrative material. Performances have taken place in galleries, concert halls, DIY venues, and unsuspecting community spaces across the United States. Collaborations have included Boom Bat Gesture Performance Group, Mechanism Dance Theatre Collective, 2019–2020’s Uncommon Circuits ensemble, and a range of improvising instrumentalists and dancers/movers in the NYC and San Francisco Bay Area. Clarke also speaks and presents on her work, most recently at Expo ’74, NIME, The School for Poetic Computation, and as a visiting lecturer at colleges and universities. In 2018, Anastasia earned an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College, and subsequently received support for work and research from the Queens Arts Fund, EMS (Stockholm), Tri-tryagain, CCRMA, and the Van Lier Fellowship at Roulette. | https://anastasiaclarke.info
Shannon Lumpkin (b.1978 Tucumcari, NM) is an interdisciplinary trans-media activist and artistic producer working in New York between fields of film, politics, finance, and agriculture to explore how disability-based deaccumulation of capital acts as an intersectional framework for establishing human rights for all. Through grassroots union organizing and collaborative production, Lumpkin interrogates acts of violence and sustainable community development. As a queer amputee and survivor of Ewing’s Sarcoma (2014), daily acts of living necessitate building tools for social change. Everyday life is a political (and artistic) practice in the age of crip times. What do we do when one person’s needs become someone else’s measure of austerity and pain? | https://operahousetenants.org/
Dawn Felicia Knox is a UK based artist and curator working across mediums and disciplines to create interventions and multi-layered installations that explore toxicity, remediation and transformation as articulated through the body as well as the built and natural environments. Working in collaboration with scientists, artists and performers, she is drawn to the parallels in processes and investigative techniques, often creating work that blurs the lines between intent, process and outcome. She has been the recipient of six Arts Council England awards and numerous commissions and residencies resulting in installations, films and exhibitions across the UK and beyond. | https://dawnfelicia.com
Anastasia Clarke is a Roulette 2020 Van Lier Fellow, made possible with funds provided by the Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund of the New York Community Trust. This performance is presented through Roulette’s GENERATE program, providing over 30 artists each year with in-depth creative and technical support.