Screening of Good Stock on the Dimension Floor: An Opera at the Logan Center

October 28, 2014

Special Screening followed by a Q&A with 6 of the collective’s members:
Dawn Lundy Martin, Mitch McEwen, Annie Lee Moffett, Andre Springer, Sienna Shields & Christa Bell

Thu, Oct 30, 6 pm 
Logan Center Performance Hall
915 E 60th St, Chicago, IL 60637

Good Stock on the Dimension Floor: An Opera, a 53-minute digital film in 35 parts, reimagines the traditional opera to pose a central question: “What happens to the black body when it is haunted by a ‘blackness’ outside of it?” The spoken, chanted, sung, and screamed libretto explores the consequences of centuries of global racial strife that are thrust upon on those born of African descent.

HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? is an international collective laboratory that utilizes music, film, sculptural installation, and contemporary dance and theatre to experiment with linear narratives in order to find alternate possibilities via abstraction. In 2014, they withdrew their work from the Whitney Biennial exhibition to protest racist curatorial practices and call attention to white supremacy in the art world. This screening and Q&A provides an opportunity to engage in critical conversation around these issues and others raised through the collective’s artistic practice.

Presented by Logan Center Exhibitions, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture, Arts + Public Life, Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, Department of Visual Arts, Open Practice Committee, Theater & Performance Studies, University of Chicago Arts Council, and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Office of Student Affairs Multicultural Affairs.

Seating is available on a first-come basis.

For more about the collective

More about the visiting members

Dawn Lundy Martin, an essayist and award-winning poet is author of A Gathering of Matter / A Matter of Gathering (University of Georgia Press 2007), winner of the Cave Canem Prize;DISCIPLINE (Nightboat Books 2011), which was selected by Fanny Howe for the Nightboat Books Poetry Prize and a finalist for both Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Lambda Literary Award; Candy, a limited edition letterpress chapbook (Albion Books 2011); The Main Cause of the Exodus (O’clock Press 2014); and The Morning Hour, selected by C.D. Wright for the 2003 Poetry Society of America’s National Chapbook Fellowship. Her forthcoming collectionLife in a Box is a Pretty Life will be published by Nightboat Books in 2014. She has written a libretto for a video installation opera, titled "Good Stock on the Dimension Floor," which was scheduled to be featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and is collaborating with architect Mitch McEwen on Detroit Opera House, “a project which stages an opera as a house, the house and its dramas of occupancy, vacancy, demolition, and re-purposing as an opera.” Martin is also a co-founder of the Black Took Collective, an experimental performance art/poetry group of three. She is Associate Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh. 

As Principal of McEwen Studio and Partner at A(n) Office, Mitch McEwen works in architectural and urban design. Before founding McEwen Studio, she worked as an urban designer in the office of Bernard Tschumi Architects and New York City's Department of City Planning. Her work has been published the New Museum's "New City Reader,” Architectural Record magazine, The New York Times, and internationally. The Akademie Schloss Solitude granted McEwen an architecture fellowship in Stuttgart, Germany for 2012-2013 and Zagreb, Croatia for 2015. She has taught as Professor of Urban Design at University of Michigan and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. McEwen holds an M.Arch from Columbia GSAPP and A.B. from Harvard in Social Studies.

A native of Chicago now based in New York City, multidisciplinary artist Annie Lee Moffett was most recently seen in a musical reading of Madam Walker and the Divine Dream as part of The New York Musical Theatre Festival. She can also be seen in the films Shades of Gray (Tasha Pictures), and the psychological thriller Devoured (Secret Weapon Films). Past credits includeGhosts With Insomnia (Gena) with Prometheus’ Fire at The Stratford Theatre (dir: Ray Aranha),Ascension (Ruth) at The Cherry Lane Theatre and The National Black Theatre Festival (dir: Petronia Paley), The Ghosts of Christmas Past (Samantha) at The Gene Frankel Theatre, The Trial of One Short Sighted Black Woman vs. Mammie Louise and Safreeta Mae (Safreeta Mae) at Queens Theatre in the Park and New Jersey Performing Art’s Center, the Off-Broadway production of Absolute Clarity (Belle) at the Player’s Theatre, Crowns (Yolonda) at American Stage, the touring production of First Lady with Theater Garden, Repo! The Genetic Opera (Blind Mag) at Wing’s Theatre, and CouchFullaLuv (Nessa) at The Looking Glass Theatre. Listen for the sound of her voice in the musical score of the film Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis. She is also a featured artist on the albums “The Mercy Suite,” produced by Tomas Doncker with music set to the poetry of Pulitzer Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa and “For Lost Words,” written by Vince Di Mura with words again by Yusef Komunyakaa. Annie Lee graduated from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music with a bachelor of Music and a BA in Voice Performance and African American Studies respectively. Appointed to the faculty of Third Street Music School in 2008, she conducts and teaches music on the Lower East Side.

Andre Springer, born in Brooklyn, NY, is a mixed media and performance artist. Once part of the Dazzle Dancers, an infamous downtown performance arts group, "The Dazzles embody the excitement of a particular downtown spirit and the spirit of radical liberation," Jeffrey Deitch. Performance venues include the Art Parade, Deitch Gallery, P.S 1, and The Museum of Sex.  Andre has also created various alter egos in performance efforts, and success, to explore camp, gender confusion, and music. His character interpretations has moonlighted the downtown bars, clubs, The New Museum, The dance space project, and Joe’s Pub. Springer has an educational background in International affairs from the College Of Staten Island (CUNY), Integrated Design Curriculum at Parsons The New School for Design, and Jewelry Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Springer was a junior host of the former Exit Art Gallery, and is Currently part of the Arts and Science team for the Research Foundation to Cure A.I.D.S to which Nobel Laureate Gunter Blopel M.D, PHD leads.

Sienna Shields born in Alaska and working as an artist in film, painting, and sculpture, enjoys crafting and collectivity. In her large-scale collage paintings, Sienna layers delicate, paint-spattered fragments of paper into dense, abstract collages. Painted with vivid color and intricate texture, the paper shards coalesce into what resembles topographic maps articulating unspecific landscapes. Her work has been exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem, SUPERFRONT, and  was scheduled to be shown a major American Museum Biennial in 2014.

Christa Bell is an award-winning spoken word poet, performance artist and feminist culture creator from Seattle,Washington. She is an MA candidate in Cultural Studies with a designation in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington Bothell, a member of theWomen Who Rock and Fembot collectives and a founding member of the Black feminist blog,Real Colored Girls. She is a National Poetry Slam Champion and her work includes the one-woman show CoochieMagik: A Spoken Word Musical Comedy, commissioned by the National Performance Network, 1001 Holy Names for Coochie, a 24-hour endurance mantra and performance art installation, which premiered at the Seattle Art Museum as part of the opening events for Elles: Women Artists From The Centre Pompidou; and SHEism: The Woman Worship Workshop, a performance- lecture and workshop that explores the spiritual politics of female bodies. Her work has been featured on National Public Radio, as a TEDx Talk, and on, and she has performed, by invitation, at over 100 universities, colleges, festivals, and performance venues internationally. Her performance work is primarily concerned with feminist imaginings of the divine as well as how women’s spiritual self-esteem impacts their participation in the political processes that govern their lives. Her research interests include black feminist theory and genealogies, feminist cultural production, performance studies and cultural intersections of race, gender, culture, and theology.