C*NT, or, The Horror of Nothing to See

photo RJ Muna

Premiere at ODC Theater
Walking Distance Festival, June 9 – 10

Monique Jenkinson brings her drag queen persona, Fauxnique, into the Contemporary Dance realm to challenge and play with discourses that essentialize ‘Woman’. C*NT, or, The Horror of Nothing to See digs into feminist rage, reads critical theory as high camp, and confronts the ruptures caused by the stress of difference.

 

Rage animates Jenkinson’s C*NT, or, The Horror of Nothing To See, originally entitled Delicate Material. The work’s drastic title change recalls how language constitutes a site of power and potential change – a theme dear to French feminist theorist Luce Irigaray, whose This Sex Which Is Not One served as inspiration to Jenkinson’s piece. In the work, Jenkinson collides the supposedly neutral body of postmodern dance with the spectacular body of drag queen acts to explore ugliness, aging and misogyny. A guttural anger also permeates Kerr’s PoemAnthemSong, which uses text both as a through line and as a disruptive force. Created after November 9, the last two pieces of Kerr’s trilogy are politically motivated – “I think everything has to be right now,” Kerr commented – and confronts existing cultural structures that perpetuate racism and white supremacy. -Marie Tollon

C*NT, or, The Horror of Nothing to See is made possible with generous support from San Francisco Arts Commission, Kenneth Rainin Foundation & Zellerbach Family Foundation. Special thanks to FRESH Festival & Atlantic Center for the Arts where the work began. Heartfelt thanks to everyone above, without whom I could not have made this work & to Karl Soehnlein for listening to my early idea & knowing exactly what I needed to read.

Choreography/Creation: Monique Jenkinson
Dramaturgy: Jesse Hewit & Nicole Archer with Hope Mohr, Christy Funsch, Larry Arrington
Costume Design & Construction: Jonathan Solo with Monique Jenkinson Sound Design: Marc Kate
Lighting/Scenic Design: Del Medoff
Set Design & Construction: Matt Cottril and Shane Graff with Monique Jenkinson
Music Sources: DJ Pierre, Scott Walker, Prince, Karen Carpenter, Serge Gainsbourg
Text Sources: This Sex Which is Not One by Luce Irigaray, The Laugh of the Medusa by Hélène Cixous, and Powers of Horror by Julia Kristeva Production/General Management: Gregory Stock

Jesse Hewit is an artist working across dance, writing, and visual art, who thinks everything is a poem. This summer, he will act as curator for Friction/Function – an ongoing collaborative salon between artists working in visual disciplines and artists working in various forms of performance – produced by Oakland’s Willis and Conrad Myers of Aggregate Space Gallery. In September, he will present a new performance work about re-definining citizenship through political hysteria and futurist creature fantasy, as part of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’s inaugural TRANSFORM Festival, curated by Marc Bamuthi Joseph. He is a student of many people, places, and things, and owes particular inspiration to Sara Shelton Mann, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Maria Irene Fornes, and Bruce Springsteen.

Nicole Archer, PhD researches contemporary art and material culture, with an emphasis in modern textile and garment histories. Further interests include critical and psychoanalytic theory, corporeal feminism, and performance studies. Her dissertation, A Looming Possibility: Towards a Theory of the Textile, considered how critical understandings of textiles might extend poststructuralist theories of the text. Currently, she is working on a manuscript entitled Take Cover: Art, Materiality, and the War on Terror, which examines how textiles have been strategically manipulated to produce and maintain the limits of ‘legitimate’ vs. ‘illegitmate’ forms of state violence. Nicole is an Assistant Professor in the History and Theory of Contemporary Art at the San Francisco Art Institute, where her teaching explores politics and aesthetics through close examinations of style, embodiment, and desire. Her writing can be found in various publications, including Women and PerformanceTextile: The Journal of Cloth and CultureArts Practical, and SFAQ.

Hope Mohr is a curator, choreographer and writer. She trained at S.F. Ballet School, studied theater at Yale and earned her B.A. at Stanford, where she wrote her honors thesis on the women’s movement in Nicaragua. After working as an Americorps Team Leader in South Central LA, Mohr moved to NYC to train on scholarship at the Merce Cunningham and Trisha Brown Studios. She performed in the companies of dance pioneers Lucinda Childs and Trisha Brown. Passionate about pursuing both community organizing and dance, Mohr earned a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a Columbia Human Rights Fellow. In 2007, Mohr returned to San Francisco to establish Hope Mohr Dance to create, present and foster outstanding art at the intersection of critical thinking and the body. HMD’s signature curatorial platform the Bridge Project approaches curating as community organizing to convene cultural conversations that cross discipline, geography, and perspective. Mohr has held residencies at Stanford Arts Institute, ODC Theater, Montalvo Arts Center, and the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance. She is a 2016 Fellow at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Christy Funsch received her BA in Dance and English from Hamilton College, New York, in 1989 where she was the recipient of the Theater and Dance Award, and the first student in Hamilton College history to be awarded a Senior Fellowship in Dance. The resulting full-length work Waves (based on Virginia Woolf’s novel The Waves) premiered at Hamilton’s Minor Theater in April 1989. Christy later earned an MFA in Performance and Choreography from Arizona State University in 1994 where she received the Outstanding Graduate Student Award and studied with Daniel Nagrin. While in Arizona, she co-founded, choreographed, and performed for the ESTRUS WORKS performance group in Phoenix, Arizona, producing four full-length concerts between 1992-94.

Larry Arrington is a dance-artist working in hybrids of idea and practice. Her work in dance (time/space/body/whole) pivots around a desire to orient towards the capacities in us all that can glimpse unseen and unutterable horizons. Her body is her life and her life is her work.

Delayne Medoff is a lighting artist in the Bay Area. After finding a passion for lighting dance work at Humboldt State University, he relocated to the bay and began his career as a lighting technician/designer. He considers himself fortunate to have designed for several groups and dancers including Deborah Slater Dance Theater, Christy Funsch, EmSpace Dance, Sharp and Fine, FACT/SF, and detour dance. Delayne has always felt strongly connected to the arts and is grateful to the dance community for giving him a home. “You can’t have a light without a dark to stick it in.”  ~Arlo Guthrie

Marc Kate is originally trained as a filmmaker and visual artist, San Francisco based producer and composer Marc Kate applies cinematic and conceptual approaches to music and audio production. As a response to the tech culture assault on San Francisco (and the world), Kate takes up the tools of the trade — computers and synthesis — and slyly counter-attacks, imbuing humanity precisely where humanity is being evacuated. He creates a counterpoint to tech’s speed and greed — slow, immersive, materialist, drifting. But Kate also draws from his history in San Francisco’s synth-punk and techno scenes, emerging to create stripped-down, static experiments in synthesis. He leads the electronic post-punk band Never Knows and has released solo material on labels Computer Tapes, Jacktone, Loöq, HNYTRX, Trip Show and Treehouse Muzique, and his own imprints Untitled & After and Failing Forms. He has collaborated with dark cabaret iconoclast Vinsantos and pop singer Tim Carr, composed soundtracks for choreographers Monique Jenkinson and Keith Hennessy (Circo Zero), and contributed to the soundtrack of cult horror film All About Evil. In 2012 he launched the podcast Why We Listen, where he interviews a varied range cultural practitioners about their relationship to music. In 2016 he began the podcast Scary Thoughts: Horror, Philosophy, Culture with writer Chad Lott. He has composed music for the audio tour of the Clyfford Still room at the SFMOMA, performed at the De Young Museum and was featured in Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ Bay Area Now 7. The end of 2016 sees Kate releasing the new full-length 00 on Failing Forms and a residency at Land and Sea in Oakland, CA titled Nihil.