Blood Baby

Event Details

ADMISSION: 
Admission is free. Reservations required for certain events. See below for links or view the whle schedule on the Visions and Voices website

DESCRIPTION:
An interdisciplinary celebration of queer kinship, radical gender performance, and belonging, Blood Baby offers a fresh and multifaceted exploration of the queer family experience through dance performances, interactive sculpture, readings, and community events. Presented in four parts in and around USC’s renowned ONE Archives, the series weaves together choreography by Meg Foley, video installation by Carmichael Jones, scenic design by Rabbit AL Friedrich, and fiber art by Jesse Harrod to center gender-nonconforming identities, queer family, sex-positivity, and trans voices at a time when political developments in the United States threaten their existence.

CARPET WOMB is a sweaty gay disco ritual performed inside a large fabric structure that holds intentional space for shared, radical embodiment. Designed in collaboration with Rabbit AL Friedrich and receiving dramaturgical support from Michèle Steinwald, the womb facilitates an immersive, highly physical dance centering joy and sexuality. Meg Foley, Charli Brissey, Zara Martina Lopez, Kristine Manuel, Majesty Royale-Jackson, and Fox Whitney will perform relentless, gender-bending, pelvis-forward, self-sexualizing choreography through and around the audience, playfully referencing a wide spectrum of gender conditioning, everyday postures, geological principles, birthing and sex positions, drag, and disco. Every surface provides tactile feedback for performers and audience. Choreography will be derived from a physical exploration of the environment, tracing the surfaces and playing with weight to build shapes and architecture.

COMMUNION is a participatory experience involving shared reading and embodiment. Performed in part by its audience, Communion examines the space between body and language, demonstrating how language extends, represents, and ruptures our corporeal identities. Informed by text-based research with playwright and 2019 Guggenheim Fellow Sylvan Oswald, Meg Foley will guide the audience through an exploration of geology, gestation, queer ecology, queer kinship structures, and blood materials, and will coach the audience in somatic drag—the embodied resonance of speaking from within versus without, feeling the shape of language formation in relation to their bodies. An empty room will get filled with a collaged story, scenes, and reflections that have been evoked by the audience.

PRIMORIDAL captures “rock drag,” a site-responsive, sculptural practice of embodying geologic processes as movement prompts, in an immersive video and sound installation by visual artist (and Foley’s co-parent) Carmichael Jones, to connect geology, transformation, and queer gestation. Mimicking a boulder’s sped-up evolution, the Primordial rock appears otherworldly and sensual. Supported by an ambisonic sound score of recorded and altered human sounds (breath and heartbeat), Primordial uses a 2D time-based medium to present an internally focused, embodied practice (the “rock drag” which integrates geologic processes onto the human form and time scale) to foreground the false binary between felt form and perceived form, disrupting presumed understandings of subject/object, character/figure, animate/inanimate, and human gender.

TOUCH LIBRARY is a tactile browsing library and living archive, offering audiences the opportunity to engage with the physical traces of the performances and experience the somatic exercises, scores, and physical materials used in building the performance elements on their own time and in their own bodies.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Thursday, January 25 

Touch Library: 10 a.m.–8 p.m. – No reservations necessary
Primordial: 10 a.m.–8 p.m. – No reservations necessary
Communion and opening-night discussion: 6–8 p.m. – RSVP

Friday, January 26

Touch Library: 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. – No reservations necessary
Primordial: 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. – No reservations necessary
Carpet Womb public performance: 6:30 p.m. – RSVP 

Saturday, January 27

Touch Library: 10 a.m.–7:30 p.m. – No reservations necessary
Primordial: 10 a.m.–7:30 p.m. – No reservations necessary
Carpet Womb public performance: 4:30 p.m. – RSVP
Carpet Womb public performance: 7:30 p.m. – RSVP

Sunday, January 28

Touch Library: 12 p.m.–7:30 p.m. – No reservations necessary
Primordial: 12 p.m.–7:30 p.m. – No reservations necessary
Carpet Womb public performance: 4:30 p.m. – RSVP
Carpet Womb public performance: 7:30 p.m. – RSVP

Monday, January 29

Touch Library: 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m.- No reservations necessary
Primordial: 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. – No reservations necessary
Carpet Womb public performance: 6:30 p.m. – RSVP  

Tuesday, January 30

Touch Library: 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. – No reservations necessary
Primordial: 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. – No reservations necessary
Carpet Womb public performance: 6:30 p.m. - RSVP

Wednesday, January 31

Touch Library: 10 a.m.–8 p.m. – No reservations necessary
Primordial: 10 a.m.–8 p.m. – No reservations necessary
Communion and closing celebration: 6–8 p.m. – RSVP

 

BIOS:

Charli Brissey is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and teacher who works choreographically with bodies, cameras, objects, genders, instincts, language, and ecosystems. Their live performances and video work have been presented in various galleries, conferences, film festivals, and performance venues nationally and internationally. Brissey is currently Director of Graduate Studies and an assistant professor of dance at the University of Michigan.  

Meg Foley is a queer dance artist, educator, and parent who creates performances and somatic-based events as self-affirming practices. She currently researches gay and trans families and how we are formed. Her improvisational practice builds detailed movement vocabularies out of scientifically engaged research and lived experience.  

Rabbit AL Friedrich (they/them) works collaboratively to create environments for performance, film, and civic engagement. Their practice engages with inquiries of site, material integrity, and environmental impact. Rabbit’s work has been seen at art spaces and cultural centers around the world, as well as in warehouses, storefronts, escape rooms, parking lots, an airport, a city hall, and the chapel of a decommissioned convalescent home.

Jesse Harrod is an artist whose practice explores embodiment, gender, and sexual identity. Working with multiple media forms and materials, Harrod’s work builds on herstories of 1970s feminist art to offer queer imaginations of the body, from the abject and the grotesque to the humorous. They are currently the Head of Fibers & Material Studies at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia.

Lila Hurwitz supports individuals and organizations in the arts with project/tour management, grant writing, communications, strategy, and more. She also is a co-founder of Motion State Arts, a presenting organization supporting innovative dance in Providence, RI, and Dance Art Group, the nonprofit organization that created and produced the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation for eighteen years, and is also a dance artist with a focus on ensemble improvisation in practice and performance.

Carmichael Jones is an artist who works in installation, sculpture, film, photography, and performative objects to upend parameters of the encounter and orientation. They have shown at places such as Vox Populi, the Museum of Glass, and Heller Gallery. Jones is creative co-director of The Whole Shebang and a former fellow at the Creative Glass Center of America.  

Zara Martina Lopez (performer) is a Seattle-based dancer, performer, filmmaker, and photographer originally from Medellín, Colombia. Combining mediums such as drag, physical theater, spoken word, video, and photography, her work pulses with the synergy of myriad techniques that give shape to her unique visual poetry.

Kristine Manuel (performer) is a queer, Filipinx American, Bay Area–born and Seattle-based healing artist; E-RYT 200 and yoga philosophy, meditation, and breathwork facilitator; interdisciplinary visual/performance artist; and Medical Lab Scientist who is deeply inspired to help others tune into the muse within and re-myth their old stories. Her movement ranges from nondual classical tantric philosophy, ecstatic meditation, and Embodiology®, to street dance styles such as hip hop, house, and breaking.

Valerie Oliveiro is a Twin Cities–based dance and performance maker from Singapore. While they currently engage movement as their primary motor for expression, they also engage in expressions such as design, writing, drawing, and photography, as generative, complexly relational proposals. Currently, they are a co-artistic director at Red Eye Theater and ensemble member at Lightning Rod (QTBIPOC-led performance organism) and co-run a small performance incubator, MOVO SPACE.  ​​​​​​

Originally from Philadelphia, Sylvan Oswald is an interdisciplinary artist who creates plays, texts, publications, and video. His work uses metatheatricality and formal irreverence to explore queer and trans identity. Recent projects include the theatrical essay Trainers and the performance text High Winds, based on the book he co-authored with graphic designer Jessica Fleischmann. Honors include a 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship, a Rosati Fellowship from Duke University Libraries, the Thom Thomas Award from the Dramatists Guild, and a Jerome Fellowship.

Noél Puéllo is a Providence- and Mexico City–based artist whose work shifts perceptions of intimacy and revitalizes fantasy through the dissection of queer and Afro-Latinx identity. With clothing, mixed media installations, fiber practices, and video, her work centers the power of touch and moves us through a romanticized reality of the discarded. She poeticizes the relationships of her Dominican elders and her own personal stories of existing as a queer, fat, femme, racially ambiguous, trans person.

Majesty Royale-Jackson (performer) is a dancer, performance maker, sound explorer, and ghost occupying liminal spaces. Majesty’s work confronts claims of ownership on the body by engaging in radical defiance of how one should be. Through flamboyance, language reconstruction, community building, coded language, voice, glitter, and sweat, they intend to lose theirself and others of the constraints of a singular reality in search of new realnesses.  ​​​​​​

Michèle Steinwald is a feminist, DIY, artist-centered, and community-driven cultural organizer. Committed to social justice in the arts, she has researched and facilitated original sessions at conferences and professional gatherings; been an artist mentor for Creative Capital's retreat and Arts Midwest's ArtsLab; managed projects for DanceUSA and NEFA/National Dance Project;  and worked as a performance curator. Although Canadian, Steinwald currently works in the U.S. as an independent curator, community organizer, and writer.

Fox Whitney (performer) is a performance maker, dancer, musician, filmmaker, actor, writer, yoga + meditation facilitator and teaching artist. He started the psychedelic futurist folk punk band Light Aloud in 2023 and founded the interdisciplinary performance project Gender Tender in 2012. Both Light Aloud and GT engage a team of artists trained in Fox’s unique methods modeled on visual art practices, cults, riots and QT history and the surreal nature of transformation. Fox’s ongoing project, MELTED RIOT is the current focus of his interdisciplinary art making. MELTED RIOT uses tactics rooted in text, sound, dance, durational performance, and visual art to investigate the effects peaceful and violent forms of support and sabotage have on the bodies, minds, and spirits of the transgender and queer community. MELTED RIOT is a surreal protest song, a queer meditation, a psychedelic research project, a punk prayer. 

Presented by USC Visions and Voices. Organized by ONE Archive at the USC Libraries and the USC Kaufman School of Dance. 

Address

ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the USC Libraries
909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles , CA 90007
United States