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Jonathan Gonzalez: (r-black)2 + z2-LIFE = 1STILL

Little Island presents NYC FREE
4 weeks. 460 artists. 160 performances.
Music, Dance, Poetry, Comedy, and more!
August 11 – September 5, 2021

(r-black)2 + z2-LIFE = 1STILL




at 1:00-3:00 PM


Jonathan González - director/performer/sculpture design
Elliot Jerome Brown - photographer/sculpture design co-collaborator
Matt Shalzi - sculpture design
Katrina Reid - videography

(r-black)2 + z2-LIFE = 1STILL references the mathematical equation for a Trefoil Knot wherein two loose ends of an overlapping rope result in a continuous loop. This equation describes the interconnectedness of all matter(s) through knot theory. In (r-black)2 + z2-LIFE = 1STILL the variables Life (1) and Still (2) replace those of the original equation as directives towards this performance. Through a multi-day practice, González, in collaboration with Elliott Jerome Brown, Matt Shalzi, and Katrina Reid, consider these activities – Interconnectedness (3), Liveness and Stillness – in communion (4) with the built environment of Little Island, and the merging waters and lands it stands upon, Lenapehoking (5).

1 What would it mean to consider black aliveness, especially given how readily— and literally—blackness is indexed to death? To behold such aliveness, we have to imagine a black world . . . we have to imagine a black world so as to surpass the everywhere and every way of black death, of blackness that is understood only through such a vocabulary. This equation of blackness and death is indisputable and enduring, surely, but if we want to try to conceptualize aliveness, we have to begin somewhere else. Black Aliveness, Or a Poetics of Being, Kevin Quashie, 2021.

2 Black. Still. Life. , Christina Shape,. Colonial Repercussions. Akademie Der Kunste, 2018.

3 The Long Emancipation, Rinaldo Walcott, 2021.” In The Long Emancipation Rinaldo Walcott posits that Black people globally live in the time of emancipation and that emancipation is definitely not freedom.”

4 Black Metamorphosis: New Native in the New World, Sylvia Wynter. Black Metamorphosis explores the historical significance of Black cultural resistance in the world through an interdisciplinary approach. From highlighting Jonkonnu in Jamaica and exploring her intellectual shift from Marxism, the work covers a variety of topics. Wynter asserts that Black cultural resistance pushed back against the notion of Black cultural inferiority. Wynter further argues that European intellectuals "proved" both Black and Indigenous cultural inferiority in order to justify economic exploitation and displacement.[4] The entire text and related correspondence is housed in the Institute of the Black World papers at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York.[2]

5 The Black Shoals: Offshore Formations of Black and Native Studies, Tiffany Lethabo King, 2019. In this text, King generously offers points of kinship between First Nations Indigenous and Black liberation, as well as Black-Indigeneity, and names this convening synonymous with the geological formation of a shoal.

More about the artists:

Jonathan González is a Dominican-American choreographer collaborating at the intersections of performance. Their works include: The Smallest Unit is Each Other (BRIC Arts, 2020) and Lucifer Landing I & II (MoMA PS1 x Abrons Arts Center, 2019), among others. Awards include Art Matters (2020) and Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists (2020), among others.

Elliott Jerome Brown Jr. uses photography to visualize, with discretion, intimacy, mourning, and joy. He lives and works in Queens, New York. He has had solo exhibitions at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, New York (2019); Staple Goods, New Orleans (2019); and Baxter St. at the Camera Club of New York (2019). Recent group exhibitions include Art on the Grid, Public Art Fund, New York (2020); On Refusal: Representation and Resistance in Contemporary American Art, The MAC, Belfast, Ireland (2019); Do You Love Me? PPOW, New York (2019); Harlem Postcards: Fall 2018, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2018); Intimacy, Yossi Milo Gallery, New York (2018); Daybreak: New Affirmations in Queer Photography, Leslie Lohman Museum, New York (2018); and Four, We Buy Gold, New York (2018), among others.

Katrina Reid, director, choreographer, dancer, performing artist, and video producer with The Notice Blog collaborates with a range of artists, who explore performance at the center and edges of dance, theater, ritual, and film. Katrina’s work has been presented at the Queens Museum, Issue Project Room, the Knockdown Center, the Current Sessions, AUNTS at NYU Skirball & AUNTS at Beach Sessions, the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, and Florida A&M University. They have been a part of projects by NIC Kay, Phillip Howze, Emily Johnson, David Thomson, Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born, Jonathan González, Marguerite Hemmings, Megan Byrne, and Third Rail Projects, among others.

Matt Shalzi is an artist based in Queens, New York.  Shalzi studied studio art at Illinois State University from 2001-2005.  He lived and worked in Chicago from 2005 until moving to New York in 2012.  Shalzi primarily collaborates with the artist Millie Kapp in making performance based work.  He also works with artists as a dancer, set and prop builder, and writer.