Being Future Being is a constellation of activities, performances, and gatherings.
Being Future Being delves into the power of creation, building from an ancestral landscape of Indigenous power. Created by choreographer and writer Emily Johnson, who belongs to the Yup’ik Nation, and featuring a score by Pulitzer Prize-winning Diné composer Raven Chacon, this multilayered performance invites you to experience a transformation, ushering into focus new futures with the potential to reshape the way we relate to ourselves, our environment, and to the human and more-than-human cohabitants of our world.
In addition, Being Future Being: Land/Celestial, a site specific activation on the Santa Monica College Main Campus takes place on Thursday, September 8 at 11:15am and Saturday, September 10 at 1:00pm. Visit In Community for more information.
ArtistsEmily Johnson is an artist who makes body-based work. She is a land and water protector and an activist for justice, sovereignty, and well being. Johnson is a Bessie Award-winning choreographer, Guggenheim and United States Artists Fellow, and recipient of the Doris Duke Artist Award based in Lenapehoking/New York City. Johnson is of the Yup’ik Nation, and since 1998 has created work that considers the experience of sensing and seeing performance. Her dances function as portals and care processions: they engage audienceship within and through space, time, and environment —interacting with a place’s architecture, peoples, history, and role in building futures. She is trying to make a world where performance is part of life, where performance is an integral part of our connection to one another, our environment, our stories, our past, present, and future.
Johnson’s writing has been published and commissioned by The Open Society University Network’s Center for Human Rights and the Arts at Bard College, ArtsLink Australia, unMagazine, Dance Research Journal (University of Cambridge Press); SFMOMA; Transmotion Journal, University of Kent; Movement Research Journal; Pew Center for Arts and Heritage; and the compilation Imagined Theaters (Routledge), edited by Daniel Sack.
Johnson hosts monthly ceremonial fires on Mannahatta in partnership with Abrons Arts Center and Karyn Recollet. She was the Pueblo Opera Cultural Council Diplomat at Santa Fe Opera 2018– 2020, and a lead organizer of First Nations Dialogues. She was a co-compiler of the documents, Creating New Futures: Guidelines for Ethics and Equity in the Performing Arts and Notes for Equitable Funding, was a member of Creative Time’s inaugural Think Tank, and serves as a working consortium member for First Nations Performing Arts.
IV Castellanos is a Queer Trans* Bolivian-Indige/American, and an abstract performance artist and sculptor who creates solo, collaborative, and group-task vignette performances. They construct/deconstruct all their own objects in their performances, and/or in shared process and practice with their collaborators. In addition, they have a studio practice and create stand alone sculptures not meant to be activated by performances.
Raven Chacon is a composer, performer, and installation artist from Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation. As a solo artist, collaborator, or with Postcommodity, Chacon has exhibited or performed at the Whitney Biennial, documenta 14, REDCAT, Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal, San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, Chaco Canyon, Ende Tymes Festival, 18th Biennale of Sydney, and the Kennedy Center. Every year, he teaches 20 students to write string quartets for the Native American Composer Apprenticeship Project (NACAP). He is a recipient of the United States Artists fellowship in music, the Creative Capital award in visual arts, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation artist fellowship, and the American Academy’s Berlin Prize for music composition. He lives in Albuquerque, NM.
Korina Emmerich has built her Brooklyn-based brand, EMME Studio, on the backbone of expression, art, and culture, where items are made-to-order in her studio located on occupied Canarsee territories. She is leading the charge to embrace art and design as one, and weaving it into her brand story. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, her colorful work is known to reflect her patrilineal Indigenous heritage from the Coast Salish Territory, Puyallup tribe. Items are made from upcycled, recycled, and all-natural materials giving respect to the life cycle of a garment from creation to biodegradation. With a strong focus on social and climate justice while speaking out about industry responsibility and accountability, Emmerich works actively to expose and dismantle systems of oppression and challenge colonial ways of thinking.
Holly Mititquq Nordlum is an Iñupiaq (Inuit) artist who comes from the northern village of Kotzebue, Alaska. Nordlum works in a variety of media, using each to best cast light on Indigenous people. Her tattoo work and traditional markings revitalization effort is based on a 10,000-year-old Inuit history and is a machine-free process that facilitates healing, pride, and celebration from the traumas of colonization and individual experience. She organizes trainings, using traditional patterns in in-depth sessions to foster real change for people—in the end, creating community in the marks left behind. Nordlum speaks publicly about the systems which continue to oppress her people and prevent their thriving. In 2004 she earned a BFA from the University of Alaska. She has received a Time Warner Fellowship with Sundance, an Art Matters grant, an Alaska Humanities Forum grant, an Alaska Native Visionary Award, a Rasmuson Artist Project Grant and Artist Fellowship, NDN Collective Indigenous Artists’ Grant and was part of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Artist Leadership Program.
Ashley Pierre-Louis grew up on the lands of the Tequesta, Miccosuki, and Seminole tribes. With education from New World School of the Arts and later from Florida State University, Pierre-Louis began to discover her passion for movement, the human form, and arts administration. She is currently artistic administrator and performer with Shamel Pitts’s multidisciplinary performance collective, TRIBE. She is the associate choreographer for the play Help by acclaimed poet and playwright Claudia Rankine, directed by Taibi Magar. Pierre-Louis has premiered the play Thoughts of a Colored Man by playwright Keenan Scott II and director Steve Broadnax III at Syracuse Stage and Baltimore Center Stage. She performed in Donna Uchizono’s work March Under an Empty R eign at The Joyce Theater, has been one of GALLIM’s Moving Women spring artists-in-residence program, and has also been a part of Alvin Ailey’s inaugural Choreography Unlocked Festival under the direction of Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Urban Bush Women, and Robert Battle. Pierre-Louis has attended the School at Jacob’s Pillow, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, as well as Gaga intensives in Tel Aviv and New York.
Jasmine Shorty is an artist from Abiquiu, New Mexico. She is of Navajo and Norwegian descent and practices visual arts as well as dance and performance arts. She is based in Albuquerque, NM.
Joseph Silovsky/Silovsky Studios has been constructing props, sets, and mechanical devices for New York’s downtown performance art world since the company was founded in 2015. They have worked with a variety of groups, including Catalyst Dance, Palissimo, Radiohole, the Wooster Group, A.I.M. by Kyle Abraham, Richard Maxwell, The Builders Association, and others. Latest projects include the set for AIM’s Mozart Project, the motorized ring/disc sculpture for Palissimo’s LUX PHANTASMATIS, the set for the Wooster Group’s The Mother, and the secret sound thank yous inside the donation cowboy boot for Gideon Irving’s Cowboy Tour.
Stacy Lynn Smith is a neurodivergent, mixed-race/Black movement artist based in Lenapehoking/Brooklyn. Smith was recently awarded a Djerassi Residency to further develop their abstract memoir RECKONING, a film being made in collaboration with Alex Romania. Smith collaborates as performer/improviser, director, and choreographer across disciplines and genres with an array of talented artists including DeForrest Brown Jr., Anna Homler, Karen Bernard, Saints of an Unnamed Country, Thaddeus O’Neil, Josephine Decker, Salome Asega, jill sigman/ thinkdance, Kathy Westwater, Jasmine Hearn, and Emily Johnson. Smith is a member of the artist/activist cohort Body Politic, was a principal butoh dancer with Vangeline Theater from 2008 to 2017, and the main muse/collaborator of writer/director Michael Freeman from 2010 to 2016. Smith was selected by Eva Yaa Asantewaa as part of the curatorial board for Black Womxn Summit. Smith is a Green Circle Keeper at Hidden Water, an organization by and for those affected by childhood sexual abuse.
Chloe Alexandra Thompson is a Cree, Canadian interdisciplinary artist and sound designer. Her work engages tactics of material minimalism to create site-specific installations that sculpt droning, maximalist experiences out of space and sound. Thompson’s work, often utilizing multichannel audio, HDLAs, or wave field synthesis installation, has previously been presented by MUTEK Montreal, Send + Receive Festival, and Quiet City (Canada); Hellerau (DE); British Council Arts and Somerset House for Amplify DIA (UK and Canada); Qubit (NY); On the Boards and Wayward Concert Series (WA); Subharmonic: Sonic Arts Symposium – PICA and Yale Union (OR), among many others. Thompson has participated in residencies at Pioneer Works (NY); HERVISIONS x Arebyte AOS residency (UK); and the Amplify residency in collaboration with Somerset House and MUTEK (UK).
Maggie Thompson was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She received her BFA in textiles at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2013. As a textile artist and designer, she derives her inspiration from the history of her Ojibwe heritage, exploring family history as well as themes and subject matter of the broader Native American experience. Thompson’s work calls attention to its materiality, pushing the viewer’s traditional understanding of textiles. She explores materials in her work by incorporating multimedia elements such as photographs, beer caps, and 3D-printed objects. In addition to her fine arts practice, Thompson runs a knitwear business known as Makwa Studio; she is also an emerging curator of contemporary Native art, and has worked on curating special exhibits for Two Rivers Gallery, the McKnight Foundation, and the Minnesota Museum of American Art.
Sugar Vendil is a composer, pianist, choreographer, and interdisciplinary artist based in Lenapehoking/Brooklyn. She started her artistic life as a classical pianist, and after spending nearly a decade searching for her own voice, her practice evolved into performances that integrate sound, movement, and unconventional approaches to the piano. She writes and performs her own solo music for piano and electronics and has a keyboard/synth duo, Vanity Project, with composer Trevor Gureckis. Vendil is a proud second-generation Filipinx American. She was awarded a 2021 MAP Fund grant to support Antonym: the opposite of nostalgia. Recent commissions include Chamber Music America to write a new work for her ensemble, The Nouveau Classical Project, which she founded in 2008; ETHEL’s Homebaked 2019 for Unsacred Geometry; and ACF | Create to write for Box Not Found.
River Whittle is a two-spirit Caddo, Lenape, and white artist, youth mentor, and community organizer. Whittle aims to support Indigenous life, care, and revitalization with her work. She is learning to become a shell worker, metal worker, and potter, and is an experienced photographer.
George Lugg is a producer, curator and consultant who has been working in the field of contemporary dance and performance for more than 30 years. He serves on the faculty of the California Institute of Arts School of Theater, where he is also consulting producer for CalArts’ Center for New Performance. He works as an independent producer for artists Emily Johnson/ Catalyst and Faye Driscoll. Current touring projects include Johnson’s Being Future Being, Driscoll’s Thank You For Coming: Space, Daniel Alexander Jones’ Altar no. 1, Nataki Garrett and Andrea LeBlanc’s The Carolyn Bryant Project, Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol’s El Camino Donde Nosotros Lloramosm (The Road Where We Weep), among others. He has served twice as Lead Program Consultant in the Performing Arts for the Creative Capital Foundation (2012, 2020), was a Hub Site Representative for the National Dance Project, and on the U.S. curatorial team for the National Performance Network’s Performing Arts Asia, and Performing Americas Projects. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for Dance Camera West.
Kevin Holden is an artist, composer, and administrative steward for Emily Johnson and Catalyst. They are based on the traditional lands of the Clackamas, Cowlitz, the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde, and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.
Run Time: Approximately 80 minutes with no intermission.
Being Future Being is commissioned by BroadStage at Santa Monica College, and is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation and Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Bunnell Street Arts Center (AK), New York Live Arts (NY), Portland Institute for Contemporary Arts (OR), and NPN, with contributions from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Additional commissioning and development support is provided by Abrons Arts Center (NY), Portland Ovations (ME), Bates Dance Festival (ME), Jacob’s Pillow (MA), a Movement Research Residency, funded by the Scherman Foundation’s Katharine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund; and New York Live Arts’ Live Feed Residency with funding from Rockefeller Brothers Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and the Partners for New Performance.
The creation of Being Future Being is made possible in part with support from New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
BC Sans is an Open Source font that ensures Indigenous languages can be properly represented.
Emily Johnson/Catalyst, The Ways We Love and The Ways We Love Better – Monumental Movement Toward Being Future Being(s). Performance view, featuring Jeffrey Gibson’s sculpture Because Once You Enter My House It Becomes Our House, Socrates Sculpture Park, 2020.