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27 minutes | Sep 12, 2022
Sekou Cooke translates hip-hop culture into built form
Though Sekou Cooke did not invent the term or the theory of hip-hop architecture, he is one of its leading proponents and practitioners. An architect, urban designer, researcher and curator born and raised in Jamaica and educated at Cornell and Harvard, he currently serves as the Director of the Master of Urban Design at UNC Charlotte. He also owns and operates Sekou Cooke STUDIO, which recently earned a 2022 Emerging Voices award from the Architectural League of New York. Sekou’s recent projects include “Grids + Griots,” an architectural intervention commissioned for the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial, and the soon-to-be-built Syracuse Hip-Hop Headquarters that will convert a derelict building in the city’s Near Westside into event and performance venues and a variety of education and office spaces. Two of his designs are also now included on the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety’s list of Approved Standard Plans for Additional Dwelling Units. In 2021, Bloomsbury published Sekou’s “Hip-Hop Architecture,” a monograph that, true to its title and inspiration, is a manifesto and exploration constructed more like a music album combined with expansive liner notes than a traditional academic tome, with its foreword written by noted sociologist and author Michael Eric Dyson. In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, Sekou draws a line between the fluid and inherently anti-authoritarian nature of hip-hop culture and the kind of equitable and fully participatory built environments hip-hop architecture envisions. https://www.sekoucooke.com/ https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/hiphop-architecture-9781350116146/ https://www.archdaily.com/435952/keep-talking-kanye-an-architect-s-defense-of-kanye-west
27 minutes | Aug 29, 2022
Rural and proud: In Green River, UT, Maria Sykes and Epicenter place creativity in service to their small community.
Maria Sykes earned her architecture degree from Auburn University just as the 2008 recession paralyzed the nation. Unable to find a job right away, she decided to join a classmate who was volunteering with AmeriCorps in the small town of Green River, UT. The plan was to spend a summer in Green River before buckling down to launch her architecture career. That summer turned into her own yearlong commitment to AmeriCorps, which then turned into a second year, with Maria always thinking she’d leave when the economy turned around. What she hadn’t planned on was falling deeply in love with the place and its people. To wit, thirteen years later, she remains not only an enthusiastic Green River resident but also an invaluable community leader. In 2009 she co-founded Epicenter, a community-service nonprofit that over the years has served Green River in a number of ways, from offering low-cost home-repair services to elderly, disabled and low-income homeowners to rehabbing abandoned community parks. Today she remains Epicenter’s executive director. Maria’s own artistic imagination drives much of Epicenter’s work, but she has established a pipeline that guarantees a steady influx of fresh creative visions. Through its Frontier Fellowship program, Epicenter has welcomed scores of artists from around the country and as far away as the UK to reside in Green River, develop their own work and engage with the community in creative, respectful and galvanizing ways. This year the team at Epicenter will proudly mark the culmination of their deep investment in the community when they break ground on Canal Commons, their first multi-unit affordable-housing development, planned in close partnership with Green River stakeholders. In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, Maria explains the intricacies, joys and challenges of serving a remote, rural community through artistic engagement. www.ruralandproud.org https://vimeo.com/161476495?embedded=true&source=vimeo_logo&owner=2213578
26 minutes | Aug 15, 2022
Photographer Shedrick Pelt on capturing the January 6 attack on the Capitol through a Black lens
On January 6, 2021, hearing that Trump supporters were descending on the U.S. Capitol, freelance photographer Shedrick Pelt grabbed goggles, a respirator and his Canon 5D Mark 4 and ran to the scene to document the event. The arresting images he captured on that terrifying day constitute “Attack on Democracy: Through the Lens of a Black Photojournalist,” a traveling exhibit that opened at Gallery O in Washington, DC one year after the attack on the Capitol. Shedrick’s instinct to run towards the danger of that day was based in a bone-deep commitment to community and local storytelling. Moving to D.C. in late 2017, he quickly embedded himself in that city’s artistic community, working with such arts organizations as Exposed DC and Dupont Underground, where he serves as cultural ambassador. He currently sits on the board of Focus on the Story, an internationally recognized non-profit dedicated to promoting the work of leading photographers and providing education and resources for visual artists. His work has been featured in Washingtonian magazine and in exhibits at such institutions as the International Center of Photography in New York and at the Phillips Collection in D.C. He also curates the Look Hear Gallery, which is a revolving gallery that features the Black experience in DC through the lens of Black photographers. And as of 2022, he is a contributing photographer for Getty Images. In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, Shedrick describes the artistic journey that led him to the Capitol on that fateful day and makes a case for supporting hyper-local artists and storytellers. https://www.sdotpdotmedia.com/home
23 minutes | Aug 1, 2022
"Don't be ashy!" -- Performance artist Ayo Janeen Jackson pivoted her dance career to honor and care for the Black body through art as well as business.
Ayo Janeen Jackson enjoyed an enviable dance career after earning her BFA at UNCSA. She danced with two of the world’s most renowned contemporary companies — Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company and Ballet Preljocaj — before joining the company of Broadway’s “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.” Yearning to learn more ways to express herself, though, she shifted her career path. She attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she earned a Master’s in Interdisciplinary Arts, and today she remains a performing artist firmly rooted in her body with the difference that she has added several skills to her artistic repertoire, including filmmaking and font design. Along with recent “Art Restart” guest Gregg Mozgala, Ayo received a 2022 Artpreneur Alumni of the Year Award from UNCSA. The award recognizes not only Ayo’s artistic experimentations but also a new skin-care business she has created that is inspired by her artistic research and . In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, Ayo describes why and how she set out to broaden her artistic horizons and explains the historic and artistic ethic behind her new business venture. https://www.ayojackson.com/ https://vimeo.com/498440544/5ea55cbbf3
25 minutes | Jul 18, 2022
Actor and artistic director Gregg Mozgala uses theater to put the disabled body on display with unassailable authenticity.
UNCSA alumnus Gregg Mozgala, after years of performing on some of Off-Broadway’s finest stages, is enjoying a well-earned banner year. He recently completed a national tour playing the title character in “Teenage Dick,” a modern take on Shakespeare’s “Richard III” centered on the experience of a high school student with cerebral palsy, and this summer he appeared in “Richard III” itself, alongside film and theater star Danai Gurira, in the Public Theater’s revered Shakespeare in the Park season. This fall he will cap off the year with his Broadway debut in Martyna Majok’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Cost of Living,” reprising the leading role he performed in the play’s premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club in 2018. Gregg can credit that success not only to his acting but also his producing skills. In 2012, determined to make disability and people with disabilities more visible on the nation’s stages, he founded The Apothetae, a New York-based theater company dedicated to the production of works that explore and illuminate the disabled experience. The Apothetae has developed several new plays and adaptations from and with both established and up-and-coming artists — disabled and non-disabled, Deaf and hearing — and it is through The Apothetae’s commissioning program that playwright Mike Lew completed “Teenage Dick.” In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, Gregg describes how an understanding of his cultural lineage as a disabled performer led him to create a company that celebrates displaying disabled bodies and their stories with unassailable authenticity. http://www.greggmozgala.com/ http://www.theapothetae.org/
26 minutes | Jul 5, 2022
Multidisciplinary artist Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya on how she protects her explorer's spirit and invites strangers to join her in her discoveries
A neuroscientist-turned-artist, Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya, has long known how to “make the invisible visible,” as her artist statement declares. Her ability to make intricate scientific concepts accessible through art and design earned her a TED residency as well as the opportunity to speak on two TED mainstages. Her numerous works — including an AR installation immersing viewers in the world of microbes and “Beyond Curie,” a project that harnessed both technology and design to celebrate the most badass women in STEM history — have been featured in spaces all over the world, from a highway tunnel in the Netherlands to New York’s Cooper Union. In the last couple of years, Amanda has focused her talents on engaging with and revealing often-hidden parts of the human psyche, from the bigotry and racist violence that have reared their heads throughout the country to the cumulative trauma and grief of the COVID crisis. As an artist-in-residence with the New York City Commission on Human Rights, she created a citywide mural project titled “I Still Believe in Our City” to counter anti-Asian violence and center the lives and experiences of Asian Americans and people of color as crucial threads in the American fabric. Soon after the shootings at a spa in Atlanta in 2021, Time magazine featured images from the series on its cover. Pier Carlo Talenti spoke to Amanda while she was taking a brief break from troubleshooting one in a series of installations on Lincoln Center plaza in New York City. In this interview she describes the challenges and joys of expanding her artistic practice to invite even more collaborators — from institutions to the public at large — into her creations. https://www.alonglastname.com/ https://www.istillbelieve.nyc/about https://www.lincolncenter.org/series/summer-for-the-city/s/GATHER:%20A%20series%20of%20monuments%20and%20rituals
26 minutes | Jun 20, 2022
Lear deBessonet and Clyde Valentín galvanize community artmaking to achieve local and national healing
It’s a good thing that director Lear deBessonet and producer Clyde Valentín have extensive experience in community-engaged participatory art — nine years ago she founded the acclaimed Public Works program at the Public Theater in New York City; he was the inaugural director of Ignite/Arts, a renowned community-arts incubator in Dallas since 2015 — because the scope of their newest project, One Nation/One Project, would overwhelm most artists and administrators. One Nation/One Project, a partnership with the National League of Cities, is a truly national multi-year health-and-wellness initiative. Over the next two years, 18 communities scattered throughout the country will create hyper-local participatory and collaborative art works that in July of 2024 will be shared with a national audience. It’s a hugely ambitious project, a reimagining of the 1930s Federal Theatre Project, that looks to capitalize on a well-documented fact, namely that participating in the arts makes individuals and communities healthier. Among the first cohort of nine sites that One Nation/One Project recently announced is the Kenan Institute’s very own community of Winston-Salem and surrounding Forsythe County. The Institute is working with several local partners — including the Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County, Forsyth County Department of Public Health, United Health Centers and the City of Winston-Salem Department of Community Development — to support the program. The other eight communities chosen are Gainesville, FL; Chicago, IL; Utica, MS; Providence, RI; Rhinelander, WI; Harlan County, KY; Edinburg, TX; and Phillips County, AR, focusing on the cities of Elaine and Helena. In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, Lear and Clyde describe how they conceived and designed their ambitious project and share their hopes for the national healing the 18 local creations might engender. https://www.onenationoneproject.com/
27 minutes | Jun 7, 2022
Dancer Lauren Edson and musician Andrew Stensaas co-created and co-lead Boise’s LED, where dance and music are just two elements of numerous artistic adventures.
Partners in life, love and art, dancer/choreographer Lauren Edson and musician/composer Andrew Stensaas founded the remarkable performance company LED in Boise, ID in 2015 and remain its co-leaders Lauren, the company’s artistic director, trained at UNCSA and Juilliard before dancing with the renowned dance company Trey McIntyre Projects for many years. Andrew, LED’s creative director, is a self-taught musician and composer who played with two critically acclaimed bands — one in Portland, OR; the other in Boise, ID — before establishing himself as a teacher and composer/songwriter at Boise Rock School. Just five years after LED’s founding, Dance Magazine included the company in its influential “25 to Watch” list, but it wouldn’t be accurate to call LED a dance company. Instead, what Lauren and Andrew have created is a creative laboratory that accommodates each their artistic backgrounds and interests and challenges them to keep exploring, whether through live performance, film or community happenings and always with movement and music at the core. LED has performed in venues all over the Western US, and their most recent short film, “Waters into Wilderness,” screened at festivals all over the world including the prestigious San Francisco Dance Film Festival. In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, Lauren and Edson discuss how their distinct artistic personalities combined with their dedicated partnership to create the special sauce that keeps their young company nimble, inventive and exciting to the creative team and their audiences alike. https://www.ledboise.com/
26 minutes | May 23, 2022
Composer Brittany J. Green cultivates community and a deep listening practice
Composer Brittany J. Green is already making waves in the world of new classical music. However, given the variety of inspirations that pervades her work – from computer-coding languages to Black feminist theory – and her growing passion for electronica and for DJing her own sets, she is very much beating an artistic path that disregards the boundaries of genre. Her work has been performed at concerts and festivals throughout the United States, including the Boulanger Initiative’s WoCo Fest and New York City Electronic Music Festival, and last year she recorded a new piece with the Atlanta Symphony that was released online in January 2022 as part of the Symphony’s “Concerts for Young People” series. A recent recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Charles Ives Scholarship and the ASCAP Foundation’s Morton Gould Award, Brittany is currently in residence at Duke University in Durham, NC, where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in music composition as a Deans Graduate Fellow. In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, Brittany discusses the two qualities that guide the evolution of her compositional practice: her ability to learn through deep listening and her commitment to cross-disciplinary collaborations. https://www.brittanyjgreen.com/
28 minutes | May 9, 2022
ChristinaMaria Patiño Xochitlzihuatl Houle decolonizes the interview itself!
Artist, activist and visionary ChristinaMaria Xochitlzihuatl Patiño Houle is the co-founder and lead visionary of Las Imaginistas, a socially engaged art collective working to liberate the public imagination. Several of Las Imaginistas’ projects have centered on Brownsville, TX, including “Taller de Permiso,” an arts and economic-justice campaign. Through hands-on art-making workshops and events, “Taller de Permiso” harnessed the community’s collective imagination to parse and reimagine the municipal permitting process, particularly as it affects small businesses operating in communities of color. Another Las Imaginistas project is “Borders Like Water,” an ongoing international cross-cultural collaboration between healers, visionaries and thought leaders. “Borders Like Water” centers ancestral wisdoms and environmental understanding to answer the question, “If borders have been like ice, how can they move like water?” ChristinaMaria is also the Weaver for Voces Unidas, a network focused on immigration and community development issues serving the multi-state Rio Grande Valley. In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, ChristinaMaria, who is passionate about decolonizing longstanding historical and cultural practices, shares her deep unease with the traditional interview process and its fraught history and power dynamics. She then describes how she herself has honed her own listening practice when she visits and learns from Indigenous communities throughout the Americas. https://www.christinapatinohoule.com/ https://www.lasimaginistas.com/ https://www.giarts.org/blog/christinamaria-patino-xochitlzihuatl-houle/art-money-and-apocalypse-lots-questions-few
26 minutes | Apr 25, 2022
For Artistic Director Jacob Padrón, a radical change at his theater is an opportunity for collective reimagining
In February of 2022, Long Wharf Theatre, one of the country’s most respected regional theaters, released a bold statement. Starting with its 2022/23 season, the theater will not renew the lease on the space it has occupied for 57 years on the outskirts of New Haven, CT. Rather, under the leadership of artistic director Jacob Padrón, who joined Long Wharf in late 2018, the theater will commit at least for a few years to an itinerant production model that “will prioritize equity, accessibility and transparency, guided by three core pillars: revolutionary partnerships, artistic innovation, and radical inclusion.” Coming at a time when, especially in the wake of the pandemic, theaters all over the country are grappling with ways to reinvigorate and diversify their production models as well as their audience base, Long Wharf’s announcement made waves. Did this mark the beginning of the end of the traditional regional-theater model? In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, Jacob — who is also the founder and artistic director of The Sol Project and whose career includes innovative producing stints at such august institutions as Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre and New York’s Public Theater — explains the impetus for this sea change in the theater’s production model. He also imagines a new path forward not only for his own theater but for the field as a whole. https://longwharf.org/
27 minutes | Apr 11, 2022
Landscape architect Daniel Woodroffe tells stories of joy and ingenuity through his urban landscapes.
In the twelve years since Austin-based landscape architect Daniel Woodroffe founded his firm, dwg, it has become a leader in sustainable design and low-impact development. The firm has worked on projects all over the world but has made a particularly deep impression on the landscape of its home city. One of dwg’s most remarkable years-long project finally came to fruition when in August of 2021 Waterloo Park, at 11 acres downtown Austin’s biggest greenspace, opened to the public. Daniel’s company served as the local landscape architect team for world-renowned landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh. Waterloo Park is a gorgeous urban oasis that features a 1.5-mile hike-and-bike trail, sinuous bridges, expansive lawns and a 5,000-seat amphitheater that has quickly become a premier music venue. The park is also universally accessible with barrier-free design. What a casual visitor might not necessarily know or notice is that the park was created to reclaim an urban overflow creek that over the years had not only often flooded but become a dumping ground. Now, thanks to dwg’s work, the creek’s water has been harnessed with engineering finesse to allow a wide array of plants native to Austin’s ecology to flourish as well as benefit local birds and pollinators. In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, Daniel explains how making urban spaces more sustainable and equitable is a recipe not only for economic dynamism but perhaps more importantly for good old-fashioned joy, an emotion he likes to cultivate in his offices as well.
25 minutes | Mar 28, 2022
Fashion designer Nyla Hasan on code-flexing and playing the long game
A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology with 15 years of experience working for some of the country’s top designers, Nyla Hasan in 2019 decided to create her own fashion line. A few complications — not the least of which was a pandemic — delayed the planned debut of the line, but in the fall of 2021 her dream became a reality when fashion brand the øther launched its first collection. The øther quickly made waves for its graceful blending of South Asian and Western influences and its use of both inventive as well as traditional South Asian techniques and handiwork. The line was profiled in The New York Times and Vogue, and — given that the clothes are all made to order — Nyla is currently preparing a third production cycle since the launch to meet demand. In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, Nyla describes how her own experience coming of age in two cultures informed the style and ethos of her line, making it truly distinctive, a candid reflection of its creator’s values. https://theother-collection.com/
28 minutes | Mar 14, 2022
Violinist and composer Earl Maneein brings Paganini chops to heavy metal and punk, slaying all the way
Earl Maneein is a violinist and composer who loves nothing more than to lend his considerable chops as a classically trained musician to the sounds and venues of heavy metal and hardcore punk. None other than Robert Trujillo, bassist for Metallica, has called him “a kick-ass artist who pushes the creative boundaries.” Earl received a Bachelor of Music from Queens College and a Master of Music from the Mannes College of Music, where he studied with Daniel Phillips of the Orion String Quartet. He is the founder of and main composer for the string quartet SEVEN)SUNS, which plays both extant and new metal and hardcore work, and he is also a member of the Vitamin String Quartet, whose recent music was featured in the Netflix show “Bridgerton.” As a composer Earl has received commissions from a broad array of individuals and institutions, from internationally renowned violinist Rachel Barton Pine and pioneering hardcore band The Dillinger Escape to Plan to Dance Theater of Harlem and The Phoenix Symphony, helmed by past “Art Restart” guest Tito Muñoz. In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, Earl describes how, knowing that he was never going to want to play in a traditional orchestra, he nevertheless challenged himself to get a classical-violin education so that he could craft his singular artistic identity with absolute confidence. http://www.earlmaneeinmusic.com/
26 minutes | Feb 28, 2022
Amelia Winger-Bearskin on why AI needs artists as a guiding force
Amelia Winger-Bearskin in an artist, technologist and researcher who specializes in working in and with artificial intelligence. She lives in Jacksonville, FL, where she is a Banks Family Preeminence Endowed Chair and Associate Professor of Artificial Intelligence and the Arts at the Digital Worlds Institute at the University of Florida. Her work, though incredibly varied, always focuses on finding ways to use AI to benefit communities and the environment. In 2017 she founded a nonprofit, IDEA New Rochelle, that created a VR/AR Citizen toolkit to engage the community as co-designers of their future city. The project, in partnership with the New Rochelle mayor’s office, won a highly competitive $1 million Bloomberg Mayors Challenge grant. Amelia is Seneca-Cayuga Nation of Oklahoma, Deer Clan, part of the Haudenosaunee Confederation, and through much of her work she interrogates the supposed neutrality of technology and AI and strives to imbue new technology with the values of her Native culture. In 2019 she created Wampum.Codes, which is both an ethical framework for software development based on Indigenous values of co-creation and an award-winning podcast of the same name. In the podcast, Amelia interviews Indigenous artists and technologists about how they manifest their Native cultures’ values in their work. In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, Amelia draws a line between her youthful activities — providing music for her mother’s storytelling sessions and experimenting with her engineer father’s discarded prototypes — and her current mission to transform us all from mere consumers of technology to engaged participants creating a better world with new tools. https://www.studioamelia.com/
24 minutes | Feb 14, 2022
Muralist Troy Summerell on taking an artistic leap of faith and joy, haters be damned
Troy Summerell has become well-known in his hometown of Virginia Beach, VA for his vibrant and joyful murals of flowers and ocean creatures that can be seen throughout the region, from the sides of large buildings to basketball backboards. He loves bringing joy to those who need it and has therefore often worked in hospitals that serve children. He recently completed his largest commission to date, a 100-foot-long mural enlivening an entire hallway in Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, VA. Even the hospital’s ambulances are now wrapped in Troy’s unmistakable designs. His work also brightens the pediatric emergency room and the pediatric ICU at University of Florida Health Jacksonville, and in 2019 he traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico to paint a mural for the international nonprofit, Smile Train. Troy is also a small-business owner, having launched OnieTonie Designs™ in 2014 to support his at-the-time nascent career as an artist. OnieTonie has now become a recognizable brand that sells an ever-expanding list of merchandise, from socks and beach towels to coffee mugs and T-shirts, all sporting Troy’s signature aquatic creatures. In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, Troy describes how at a challenging crossroads in his life he, a self-taught artist, heeded his design and marketing instincts and risked a life-changing leap. https://onietonie.com/
25 minutes | Jan 31, 2022
Interlochen’s Director of Music, Enrique Márquez, shapes the next generation of leaders through music.
In June of 2021, Enrique Márquez arrived on the campus of the renowned Interlochen Center of the Arts in Interlochen, MI as its new Director of Music. Founded in 1928, Interlochen offers students from grades 3 through 12 a wealth of arts-education opportunities through several programs, including its boarding school, the Arts Academy, and its Summer Arts Camp. Before becoming an admired arts administrator and educator, Enrique was a professional violist who made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2005. He served as principal viola of The Orchestra of the Americas and the Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra, performing in over 25 countries in the Americas, Asia and Europe with such conducting giants Kurt Masur, Lorin Maazel, Gustavo Dudamel and Valery Gergiev. In his native Mexico, Enrique went on to become the youngest Director General of the Veracruz Cultural Institute. He also founded the Orquesta Filarmónica de Boca del Río, which quickly became treasured not only for its performances but also for its impact in the community as a cultural and educational hub. He also earned a Master’s in Cultural Policy and Management from City University London and a master’s in education at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, Enrique describes how a fundamental belief in music’s power to draw out every young person’s most vibrant qualities has determined his career path. https://www.interlochen.org/news/interlochen-center-for-arts-names-enrique-marquez-director-music?fbclid=IwAR2CKijIQEjWsce8Y_uo0432wBfIZpKYhDeVmB23vdB5nlygLL-xKY1j8X4 https://www.filarmonicadeboca.org.mx/
25 minutes | Jan 24, 2022
Dancer Valencia James urges artists of all stripes to dream and scheme with techies.
Born and raised in Barbados, Valencia James studied modern dance in Budapest, Hungary and had the opportunity to perform work by some of the world’s most adventurous choreographers in international venues. However, it wasn’t until she started asking questions about what role artificial intelligence might play in shaping the future of the performing arts that she truly found her passion. Today Valencia works with innovative technologists and scientists to create collaborative performance pieces that blur the boundary between artificial intelligence and the human performer and that hint at how different the experience of performance may be for future artists and audiences alike. She and her collaborators have presented their research and AI-infused work at conferences all over the world. Two days after this interview, dancing in front of a camera in her home in Redwood City, CA, she premiered a brand-new live immersive piece titled “Suga’: A Live Virtual Dance Performance” in the New Frontier exhibition of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, proving that the worlds of film and live performance are very much already blending. In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, Valencia explains how her work with technology has influenced her creativity and how an ethos of accessibility is proving useful in guiding her and her collaborators on their exploratory forays. https://festival.sundance.org/program/#new-frontier-info/61ae1eff14aef7791a1c579b https://valenciajames.com/ https://volumetricperformance.com/
28 minutes | Jan 3, 2022
Composer Sahba Aminikia proves that a musical education is part of a spiritual education.
Sahba Aminikia is an Iranian American composer, musician and educator based in San Francisco whose own musical training spanned three continents. He first studied composition in the city of his birth, Tehran, and then relocated to Russia to attend the St. Petersburg State Conservatory. After emigrating as a refugee to San Francisco in 2006, Sahba then earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. His passion for blending genres and cultural influences in his work — he is as well-versed in traditional music from Iran and classical music from Europe as he is in the oeuvres of Pink Floyd and Queen — quickly garnered attention from musicians and ensembles all over the world. Among the performing groups to have commissioned him are Kronos Quartet, Brooklyn Youth Chorus and Symphony Parnassus, and his compositions have been performed all over the world. Sahba is also the founder and artistic director of the annual Flying Carpet Children Festival that since 2018 has been bringing music — and world-class musicians — as well as circus arts to the Turkish border city of Mardin to delight and engage refugee children from Iraq and Syria. In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, Sahba explains how his own experience as refugee has informed his belief that music is a form of spiritual liberation with the unique ability to unite peoples and cultures across all borders. https://www.sahbakia.com/ https://www.flyingcarpetfestival.org/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxDN8k63jJM
24 minutes | Dec 14, 2021
José Ome Navarrete Mazatl
José Ome Navarrete Mazatl is the co-artistic director of NAKA Dance Theater in San Francisco, CA. Since he and fellow dancer Debby Kajiyama founded NAKA in 2001, the company has worked with a wide array of communities in the Bay Area as well as internationally to explore urgent social-justice issues. Among the communities and organizations with whom NAKA has partnered to create performance projects over the years are the Eastside Arts Alliance, a cultural and empowerment space for Black youth in East Oakland; Mujeres Unidas y Activas, a social- and economic-justice organization of Latina immigrant women; and Skywatchers, a group that works with formerly unhoused residents of San Francisco’s Tenderloin district to center their urgent concerns. NAKA has presented and discussed its work all over the world, including at the Hemisphere Institute’s 2007 Encuentro in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and in 2008 and 2014 as the San Francisco representative in SCUBA’S multi-state tours. José was a 2018 U.S.-Japan Creative Artists Fellow, a 2019 Dance/USA Artist Fellow, and just this year, José was one of only six choreographers to receive a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. In this interview with Pier Carlo Talenti, José describes how the always surprising and often unpredictable input of the community members with whom he works has made him a more nimble, inventive and impactful artist. http://nakadancetheater.com/
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