Keith Hennessy/ Blank Map

Blank Map is the work of Adee Roberson, Brontez Purnell, keyon gaskin, Tasha Ceyan, and Wizard Apprentice, a temporary collective of Black artist-performer-musicians.

Keith Hennessy is a performer, choreographer, teacher, writer and organizer. Born in Sudbury Canada, he lives in San Francisco and tours internationally. His interdisciplinary research engages improvisation, ritual and public action as tools for investigating political realities. Hennessy directs CIRCO ZERO, and was a member of the collaborative performance companies: Contraband (with Sara Shelton Mann), CORE, and Cahin-caha, cirque bâtard. Recent awards include the USA Kjenner Fellowship (2012), a NY Bessie (2009), two Isadora Duncan Awards (2009), and a Goldie (2007). Current projects include Turbulence (a dance about the economy), Bear/Skin a solo folk dance, Sara (the smuggler) a solo for Sara Shelton Mann, and two performances responding to the war and refugee crisis in Syria, Friend/Ships a duet with Jassem Hindi, and Action (Syria) a solo by Keith. Recent teaching includes Ponderosa (Germany), Impulstanz (Vienna), AEx-Corps (Dakar), UBC (Kelowna), HZT (Berlin), Sandberg Institute (Amsterdam), Texas Women's University, and FRESH Festival (SF). Hennessy has an MFA in Choreography and a PhD (ABD) in Performance Studies from UC Davis.

Visiting Artist | April 12-23, 2016

Blank Map

Blank Map is a work that manifested out of long-distance and on-site collaborations between keyon gaskin, Adee Roberson, Brontez Purnell, Tasha Ceyan, and Wizard Apprentice. This collective of artists is temporary and all the artists participating have established practices that span from experimental dance and movement, to sound and music, to visual and performance practices more broadly.

During the MANCC residency, the collective engaged in improvisatory movement experiments and worked to create accompanying soundscapes and drum scores. What resulted was a work that was accompanied by a visual triptych— a screen for projection, “eyes” that returned the gaze upon the audience, and a large-scale canvas painting— that engage the multiple varieties of abstraction and psychedelic experience crucial to the work. The work began to take on questions of space and time and the expansive possibilities therein as the artists experimented with forms, sounds, shapes, and gestures that resisted translation and legibility. Increasingly, the work became about deferrals— just at the moment in which a gesture begins to hold, it flees, making it impossible to fix the work with one particular set of meanings or contexts. Blank Map took form as a world of its own in which the audience were allowed to act as witnesses.

This time together allowed the collective to collaboratively develop language that was instrumental in describing the project. Prioritizing the work as a study of bodies as they metaphorically and spiritually examine shape, space, and time. Blank Map aimed to create a world that is inescapable and expansive— an event horizon— that would leave you unsettled and unable to trust your opinions of it. Ultimately, this project aims to provide more questions than answers. The entire text prepared by the collective can be found here. Additionally, the opportunity to develop the vision for the set and visual aspects of the show allowed for further collaboration and innovation between the collective and Stephanie Johnson, who designed the lighting for the show.

The collective also engaged in dialogue with the FSU and Tallahassee communities more broadly. A dialogue with English professor, Dr. Alisha Gaines, facilitated exploration of themes in the work, and members of the collective met with Carolyn Henne, the Director of FSU’s Facility for Arts Research, to discuss the design of scenic element to support the work. Additionally, an informal showing that was shared with the greater Tallahassee community at the end of the residency provided an opportunity for reflection and engagement, and this feedback was insightful in the next stages of the project’s formation.

The collective was joined by Keith Hennessy and Sampada Aranke, who supported the work as needed by the artists. This support spanned a variety of modes including feedback, writing, talking, and workshopping.

Blank Map premiered June 3rd-12th at Dance Mission Theater.

  • <i> Blank Map </i> rehearsal in the Black Box Studio
  • Tasha Ceyan and keyon gaskin in rehearsal for <i> Blank Map </i>
  • keyon gaskin and Tasha Ceyan in rehearsal for <i> Blank Map </i>
  • Tasha Ceyan in rehearsal
  • keyon gaskin in rehearsal for <i> Blank Map </i>
  • Wizard Apprentice, Tasha Ceyan, keyon gaskin, Brontez Purnell, and Adee Roberson in rehearsal
  • Tasha Ceyan photographs Adee Roberson in rehearsal
  • Artists discuss <i> Blank Map </i>
  • Scholarly Entrypoint with Dr. Alisha Gaines
  • Artists discuss <i> Blank Map </i> in rehearsal
  • keyon gaskin introduces work-in-progress showing of <i> Blank Map </i>
  • Brontez Purnell and Tasha Ceyan in work-in-progress showing of <i> Blank Map </i>
  • Brontez Purnell and Tasha Ceyan in work-in-progress showing of <i> Blank Map </i>
  • keyon gaskin and Tasha Ceyan in work-in-progress showing of <i> Blank Map </i>
  • Adee Roberson, keyon gaskin, Tasha Ceyan and Brontez Purnell in work-in-progress showing of <i> Blank Map </i>
  • keyon gaskin in work-in-progress showing of <i> Blank Map </i>
  • Brontez Purnell in work-in-progress showing of <i> Blank Map </i>
  • keyon gaskin in work-in-progress showing of <i> Blank Map </i>
  • keyon gaskin in work-in-progress showing of <i> Blank Map </i>
  • Artists in work-in-progress showing of <i> Blank Map </i>
  • Adee Roberson, Tasha Ceyan, Brontez Purnell and keyon gaskin in work-in-progress showing of <i> Blank Map </i>

Collaborators in Residence: Wizard Apprentice, Tasha Ceyan, keyon gaskin, Brontez Purnell, Adee Roberson [collective artists/makers], Keith Hennessy [instigator/producer],  Sampada Aranke [resource]

Featured Artist

Okwui Okpokwasili

Poor People's
TV Room

April 19 - 29
Live Arts, (NY)

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